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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 120,906 74.78% 119,812 66.91%
Spanish 20,650 12.77% 32,213 17.99%
Other Indo-European* 8,816 5.45% 11,920 6.66%
Asian Language** 8,024 4.96% 9,553 5.33%
Other 3,290 2.03% 5,566 3.11%
Total Population Age 5+ 161,686 100.00% 179,064 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 19,277 59.84%
Other Indo-European* 3,817 32.02%
Asian Language** 4,623 48.39%
Other Language 2,076 37.30%
Total 29,793 16.64%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 12,599 61.01%
Other Indo-European* 2,498 28.33%
Asian Language** 4,202 52.37%
Other Language 1,213 36.87%
Total 20,512 12.69%

* "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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