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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 516,499 93.22% 541,657 88.39%
Spanish 18,339 3.31% 44,062 7.19%
Other Indo-European* 7,763 1.40% 8,970 1.46%
Asian Language** 8,549 1.54% 14,379 2.35%
Other 2,940 0.53% 3,728 0.61%
Total Population Age 5+ 554,090 100.00% 612,796 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 22,461 50.98%
Other Indo-European* 2,399 26.74%
Asian Language** 8,408 58.47%
Other Language 910 24.41%
Total 34,178 5.58%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 8,102 44.18%
Other Indo-European* 2,126 27.39%
Asian Language** 5,085 59.48%
Other Language 679 23.10%
Total 15,992 2.89%

* "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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