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Rhode Island

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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 776,931 82.97% 788,560 80.04%
Spanish 35,492 3.79% 79,443 8.06%
Other Indo-European* 107,878 11.52% 91,449 9.28%
Asian Language** 12,756 1.36% 19,926 2.02%
Other 3,366 0.36% 5,806 0.59%
Total Population Age 5+ 936,423 100.00% 985,184 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 40,403 50.86%
Other Indo-European* 31,517 34.46%
Asian Language** 9,991 50.14%
Other Language 1,713 29.50%
Total 83,624 8.49%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 19,789 55.76%
Other Indo-European* 38,031 35.25%
Asian Language** 7,182 56.30%
Other Language 925 27.48%
Total 65,927 7.04%

* "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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