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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 259,879 90.52% 334,295 81.41%
Spanish 10,453 3.64% 39,174 9.54%
Other Indo-European* 7,434 2.59% 13,534 3.30%
Asian Language** 8,262 2.88% 21,498 5.24%
Other 1,053 0.37% 2,140 0.52%
Total Population Age 5+ 287,081 100.00% 410,641 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 22,788 58.17%
Other Indo-European* 3,743 27.66%
Asian Language** 10,498 48.83%
Other Language 619 28.93%
Total 37,648 9.17%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 4,821 46.12%
Other Indo-European* 1,946 26.18%
Asian Language** 4,130 49.99%
Other Language 374 35.52%
Total 11,271 3.93%

* "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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