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The Census asks questions about language use at home to locate groups of people who speak a language other than English. Their isolation or integration into a primarily English speaking community can be determined by their ability to speak English proficiently.

Language Spoken at Home, 1990-2000
1990 2000
Number Percent Number Percent
Only English 362,978 94.71% 388,742 90.50%
Spanish 6,770 1.77% 25,107 5.84%
Other Indo-European* 10,189 2.66% 8,761 2.04%
Asian Language** 2,301 0.60% 4,927 1.15%
Other 1,014 0.26% 2,024 0.47%
Total Population Age 5+ 383,252 100.00% 429,561 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 13,831 55.09%
Other Indo-European* 2,482 28.33%
Asian Language** 2,287 46.42%
Other Language 740 36.56%
Total 19,340 4.50%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 2,641 39.01%
Other Indo-European* 2,818 27.66%
Asian Language** 995 43.24%
Other Language 261 25.74%
Total 6,715 1.75%

* "Other Indo-European" excludes English and Spanish. "Indo-European" is not synonymous with "European." French, German, Hindi, and Persian are all classified as Indo-European. Hungarian, on the other hand, is lumped into "Other Language."

** "Asian Language" includes languages indigenous to Asia and Pacific islands areas that are not also Indo-European languages. Chinese, Japanese, Telugu, and Hawaiian are all classified here.

Also note that ability to speak English "very well" is based on the self-assessment of those responding to Census questions, not on a test of language ability.

Source: Census 2000 analyzed by the Social Science Data Analysis Network (SSDAN).

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