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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 491,112 94.17% 540,767 94.07%
Spanish 3,196 0.61% 5,791 1.01%
Other Indo-European* 24,793 4.75% 24,334 4.23%
Asian Language** 1,586 0.30% 3,015 0.52%
Other 834 0.16% 935 0.16%
Total Population Age 5+ 521,521 100.00% 574,842 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 1,407 24.30%
Other Indo-European* 6,211 25.52%
Asian Language** 1,521 50.45%
Other Language 166 17.75%
Total 9,305 1.62%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 757 23.69%
Other Indo-European* 5,619 22.66%
Asian Language** 743 46.85%
Other Language 128 15.35%
Total 7,247 1.39%

* "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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