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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 575,343 52.20% 578,996 47.26%
Spanish 428,376 38.86% 534,660 43.64%
Other Indo-European* 69,063 6.27% 66,534 5.43%
Asian Language** 19,136 1.74% 19,531 1.59%
Other 10,335 0.94% 25,371 2.07%
Total Population Age 5+ 1,102,253 100.00% 1,225,092 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 260,302 48.69%
Other Indo-European* 28,842 43.35%
Asian Language** 10,876 55.69%
Other Language 9,009 35.51%
Total 309,029 25.22%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 208,991 48.79%
Other Indo-European* 27,478 39.79%
Asian Language** 12,229 63.91%
Other Language 3,055 29.56%
Total 251,753 22.84%

* "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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