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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 454,174 94.80% 478,613 94.40%
Spanish 4,580 0.96% 6,290 1.24%
Other Indo-European* 14,837 3.10% 14,113 2.78%
Asian Language** 3,058 0.64% 4,947 0.98%
Other 2,453 0.51% 3,024 0.60%
Total Population Age 5+ 479,102 100.00% 506,987 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 1,862 29.60%
Other Indo-European* 4,176 29.59%
Asian Language** 2,357 47.65%
Other Language 827 27.35%
Total 9,222 1.82%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 1,321 28.84%
Other Indo-European* 4,631 31.21%
Asian Language** 1,723 56.34%
Other Language 898 36.61%
Total 8,573 1.79%

* "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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