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New York

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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 12,834,328 76.65% 12,786,189 72.04%
Spanish 1,848,825 11.04% 2,416,126 13.61%
Other Indo-European* 1,446,881 8.64% 1,654,540 9.32%
Asian Language** 459,873 2.75% 671,019 3.78%
Other 153,141 0.91% 221,236 1.25%
Total Population Age 5+ 16,743,048 100.00% 17,749,110 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 1,182,068 48.92%
Other Indo-European* 663,874 40.12%
Asian Language** 395,159 58.89%
Other Language 69,155 31.26%
Total 2,310,256 13.02%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 900,906 48.73%
Other Indo-European* 537,678 37.16%
Asian Language** 278,017 60.46%
Other Language 48,925 31.95%
Total 1,765,526 10.54%

* "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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