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Contra Costa County

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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 609,341 81.96% 654,278 74.03%
Spanish 55,291 7.44% 115,740 13.10%
Other Indo-European* 30,267 4.07% 42,090 4.76%
Asian Language** 45,079 6.06% 65,950 7.46%
Other 3,522 0.47% 5,704 0.65%
Total Population Age 5+ 743,500 100.00% 883,762 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 58,661 50.68%
Other Indo-European* 12,407 29.48%
Asian Language** 28,793 43.66%
Other Language 1,334 23.39%
Total 101,195 11.45%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 24,507 44.32%
Other Indo-European* 8,172 27.00%
Asian Language** 20,782 46.10%
Other Language 918 26.06%
Total 54,379 7.31%

* "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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