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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 4,098,706 91.04% 4,730,512 85.99%
Spanish 143,647 3.19% 321,490 5.84%
Other Indo-European* 110,814 2.46% 176,722 3.21%
Asian Language** 133,816 2.97% 242,836 4.41%
Other 14,896 0.33% 29,838 0.54%
Total Population Age 5+ 4,501,879 100.00% 5,501,398 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 155,374 48.33%
Other Indo-European* 62,281 35.24%
Asian Language** 123,088 50.69%
Other Language 10,171 34.09%
Total 350,914 6.38%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 61,110 42.54%
Other Indo-European* 28,637 25.84%
Asian Language** 71,124 53.15%
Other Language 4,336 29.11%
Total 165,207 3.67%

* "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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