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Philadelphia County

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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 1,268,730 86.31% 1,168,463 82.29%
Spanish 77,508 5.27% 110,498 7.78%
Other Indo-European* 84,853 5.77% 79,181 5.58%
Asian Language** 31,288 2.13% 49,926 3.52%
Other 7,520 0.51% 11,909 0.84%
Total Population Age 5+ 1,469,899 100.00% 1,419,977 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 45,884 41.52%
Other Indo-European* 33,447 42.24%
Asian Language** 30,339 60.77%
Other Language 4,002 33.60%
Total 113,672 8.01%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 34,820 44.92%
Other Indo-European* 32,394 38.18%
Asian Language** 18,728 59.86%
Other Language 2,245 29.85%
Total 88,187 6.00%

* "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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