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Mercer County

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LANGUAGE

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 258,043 84.86% 262,336 79.84%
Spanish 16,915 5.56% 29,167 8.88%
Other Indo-European* 21,546 7.09% 24,896 7.58%
Asian Language** 4,979 1.64% 8,960 2.73%
Other 2,602 0.86% 3,229 0.98%
Total Population Age 5+ 304,085 100.00% 328,588 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 15,027 51.52%
Other Indo-European* 8,602 34.55%
Asian Language** 3,362 37.52%
Other Language 798 24.71%
Total 27,789 8.46%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 8,188 48.41%
Other Indo-European* 6,710 31.14%
Asian Language** 2,091 42.00%
Other Language 587 22.56%
Total 17,576 5.78%

* "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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