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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 4,413,193 97.11% 5,059,404 95.17%
Spanish 49,661 1.09% 133,931 2.52%
Other Indo-European* 54,408 1.20% 68,879 1.30%
Asian Language** 21,636 0.48% 39,701 0.75%
Other 5,845 0.13% 14,005 0.26%
Total Population Age 5+ 4,544,743 100.00% 5,315,920 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 64,378 48.07%
Other Indo-European* 19,044 27.65%
Asian Language** 20,071 50.56%
Other Language 4,772 34.07%
Total 108,265 2.04%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 17,372 34.98%
Other Indo-European* 16,239 29.85%
Asian Language** 10,487 48.47%
Other Language 1,426 24.40%
Total 45,524 1.00%

* "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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