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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 304,045 96.22% 339,443 94.65%
Spanish 4,634 1.47% 10,498 2.93%
Other Indo-European* 5,939 1.88% 6,134 1.71%
Asian Language** 1,219 0.39% 2,147 0.60%
Other 148 0.05% 393 0.11%
Total Population Age 5+ 315,985 100.00% 358,615 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 4,460 42.48%
Other Indo-European* 1,776 28.95%
Asian Language** 1,109 51.65%
Other Language 113 28.75%
Total 7,458 2.08%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 2,202 47.52%
Other Indo-European* 1,732 29.16%
Asian Language** 609 49.96%
Other Language 63 42.57%
Total 4,606 1.46%

* "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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