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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 1,027,904 56.07% 968,415 46.36%
Spanish 330,098 18.01% 485,046 23.22%
Other Indo-European* 289,791 15.81% 361,658 17.31%
Asian Language** 158,164 8.63% 237,391 11.36%
Other 27,358 1.49% 36,360 1.74%
Total Population Age 5+ 1,833,315 100.00% 2,088,870 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 260,340 53.67%
Other Indo-European* 160,525 44.39%
Asian Language** 146,781 61.83%
Other Language 12,722 34.99%
Total 580,368 27.78%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 173,643 52.60%
Other Indo-European* 121,979 42.09%
Asian Language** 98,675 62.39%
Other Language 10,372 37.91%
Total 404,669 22.07%

* "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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