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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 364,404 90.07% 426,432 89.06%
Spanish 10,144 2.51% 20,058 4.19%
Other Indo-European* 25,628 6.33% 25,029 5.23%
Asian Language** 1,923 0.48% 4,063 0.85%
Other 2,476 0.61% 3,244 0.68%
Total Population Age 5+ 404,575 100.00% 478,826 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 8,882 44.28%
Other Indo-European* 7,193 28.74%
Asian Language** 1,453 35.76%
Other Language 690 21.27%
Total 18,218 3.80%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 3,266 32.20%
Other Indo-European* 7,859 30.67%
Asian Language** 918 47.74%
Other Language 725 29.28%
Total 12,768 3.16%

* "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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