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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 250,314 94.78% 280,562 92.15%
Spanish 5,347 2.02% 12,407 4.08%
Other Indo-European* 5,025 1.90% 5,852 1.92%
Asian Language** 3,011 1.14% 4,835 1.59%
Other 416 0.16% 807 0.27%
Total Population Age 5+ 264,113 100.00% 304,463 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 5,098 41.09%
Other Indo-European* 1,259 21.51%
Asian Language** 2,303 47.63%
Other Language 193 23.92%
Total 8,853 2.91%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 1,716 32.09%
Other Indo-European* 1,104 21.97%
Asian Language** 1,498 49.75%
Other Language 98 23.56%
Total 4,416 1.67%

* "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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