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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 5,327,898 92.72% 5,884,075 88.89%
Spanish 152,663 2.66% 316,274 4.78%
Other Indo-European* 140,430 2.44% 195,846 2.96%
Asian Language** 103,431 1.80% 170,136 2.57%
Other 21,997 0.38% 52,935 0.80%
Total Population Age 5+ 5,746,419 100.00% 6,619,266 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 151,938 48.04%
Other Indo-European* 53,125 27.13%
Asian Language** 82,167 48.29%
Other Language 16,499 31.17%
Total 303,729 4.59%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 66,625 43.64%
Other Indo-European* 37,116 26.43%
Asian Language** 51,189 49.49%
Other Language 6,299 28.64%
Total 161,229 2.81%

* "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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