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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 176,459 32.75% 165,907 26.70%
Spanish 349,052 64.77% 442,233 71.18%
Other Indo-European* 8,212 1.52% 7,347 1.18%
Asian Language** 3,920 0.73% 4,645 0.75%
Other 1,237 0.23% 1,156 0.19%
Total Population Age 5+ 538,880 100.00% 621,288 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 198,851 44.97%
Other Indo-European* 1,867 25.41%
Asian Language** 2,209 47.56%
Other Language 348 30.10%
Total 203,275 32.72%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 165,046 47.28%
Other Indo-European* 2,074 25.26%
Asian Language** 1,744 44.49%
Other Language 349 28.21%
Total 169,213 31.40%

* "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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