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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 430,453 77.50% 423,478 72.60%
Spanish 31,826 5.73% 71,935 12.33%
Other Indo-European* 80,136 14.43% 67,187 11.52%
Asian Language** 10,200 1.84% 15,967 2.74%
Other 2,798 0.50% 4,711 0.81%
Total Population Age 5+ 555,413 100.00% 583,278 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 38,115 52.99%
Other Indo-European* 24,747 36.83%
Asian Language** 8,144 51.01%
Other Language 1,407 29.87%
Total 72,413 12.41%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 18,682 58.70%
Other Indo-European* 29,361 36.64%
Asian Language** 6,252 61.29%
Other Language 761 27.20%
Total 55,056 9.91%

* "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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