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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 443,027 95.23% 478,283 91.60%
Spanish 9,509 2.04% 27,989 5.36%
Other Indo-European* 6,782 1.46% 7,426 1.42%
Asian Language** 3,733 0.80% 5,493 1.05%
Other 2,159 0.46% 2,961 0.57%
Total Population Age 5+ 465,210 100.00% 522,152 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 14,622 52.24%
Other Indo-European* 1,920 25.86%
Asian Language** 2,954 53.78%
Other Language 764 25.80%
Total 20,260 3.88%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 3,797 39.93%
Other Indo-European* 1,636 24.12%
Asian Language** 1,814 48.59%
Other Language 464 21.49%
Total 7,711 1.66%

* "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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