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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 2,775,957 95.01% 2,977,187 92.58%
Spanish 64,562 2.21% 141,060 4.39%
Other Indo-European* 35,462 1.21% 36,892 1.15%
Asian Language** 22,575 0.77% 34,517 1.07%
Other 23,199 0.79% 26,063 0.81%
Total Population Age 5+ 2,921,755 100.00% 3,215,719 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 65,280 46.28%
Other Indo-European* 9,045 24.52%
Asian Language** 18,325 53.09%
Other Language 6,340 24.33%
Total 98,990 3.08%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 24,194 37.47%
Other Indo-European* 9,146 25.79%
Asian Language** 11,564 51.22%
Other Language 6,981 30.09%
Total 51,885 1.78%

* "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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