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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 860,094 61.03% 849,603 58.11%
Spanish 337,801 23.97% 364,141 24.91%
Other Indo-European* 106,220 7.54% 115,836 7.92%
Asian Language** 87,022 6.18% 108,035 7.39%
Other 18,106 1.28% 24,400 1.67%
Total Population Age 5+ 1,409,243 100.00% 1,462,015 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 189,720 52.10%
Other Indo-European* 30,309 26.17%
Asian Language** 66,139 61.22%
Other Language 6,073 24.89%
Total 292,241 19.99%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 181,592 53.76%
Other Indo-European* 28,493 26.82%
Asian Language** 56,332 64.73%
Other Language 4,977 27.49%
Total 271,394 19.26%

* "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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