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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 1,377,509 81.14% 1,375,049 67.46%
Spanish 247,649 14.59% 539,570 26.47%
Other Indo-European* 30,430 1.79% 46,167 2.26%
Asian Language** 34,395 2.03% 58,131 2.85%
Other 7,718 0.45% 19,408 0.95%
Total Population Age 5+ 1,697,701 100.00% 2,038,325 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 316,065 58.58%
Other Indo-European* 14,115 30.57%
Asian Language** 31,347 53.92%
Other Language 5,716 29.45%
Total 367,243 18.02%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 122,805 49.59%
Other Indo-European* 8,449 27.77%
Asian Language** 19,174 55.75%
Other Language 2,299 29.79%
Total 152,727 9.00%

* "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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