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Somerset County

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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 190,235 85.07% 212,271 77.05%
Spanish 8,595 3.84% 22,593 8.20%
Other Indo-European* 17,557 7.85% 23,969 8.70%
Asian Language** 4,844 2.17% 12,920 4.69%
Other 2,389 1.07% 3,732 1.35%
Total Population Age 5+ 223,620 100.00% 275,485 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 12,347 54.65%
Other Indo-European* 6,820 28.45%
Asian Language** 4,422 34.23%
Other Language 1,116 29.90%
Total 24,705 8.97%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 4,085 47.53%
Other Indo-European* 5,124 29.18%
Asian Language** 2,237 46.18%
Other Language 716 29.97%
Total 12,162 5.44%

* "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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