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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 282,354 89.89% 306,373 87.33%
Spanish 13,275 4.23% 28,387 8.09%
Other Indo-European* 17,056 5.43% 13,117 3.74%
Asian Language** 1,142 0.36% 2,437 0.69%
Other 298 0.09% 501 0.14%
Total Population Age 5+ 314,125 100.00% 350,815 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 12,729 44.84%
Other Indo-European* 3,495 26.64%
Asian Language** 1,300 53.34%
Other Language 142 28.34%
Total 17,666 5.04%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 6,810 51.30%
Other Indo-European* 4,999 29.31%
Asian Language** 530 46.41%
Other Language 83 27.85%
Total 12,422 3.95%

* "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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