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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 623,236 79.81% 859,214 74.23%
Spanish 126,640 16.22% 236,914 20.47%
Other Indo-European* 17,188 2.20% 27,243 2.35%
Asian Language** 11,398 1.46% 29,182 2.52%
Other 2,409 0.31% 4,941 0.43%
Total Population Age 5+ 780,871 100.00% 1,157,494 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 101,608 42.89%
Other Indo-European* 5,962 21.88%
Asian Language** 13,074 44.80%
Other Language 1,205 24.39%
Total 121,849 10.53%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 47,361 37.40%
Other Indo-European* 3,976 23.13%
Asian Language** 6,021 52.83%
Other Language 513 21.30%
Total 57,871 7.41%

* "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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