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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 1,537,674 69.04% 1,542,698 58.60%
Spanish 421,287 18.92% 665,069 25.26%
Other Indo-European* 80,835 3.63% 107,036 4.07%
Asian Language** 173,380 7.78% 296,284 11.26%
Other 14,041 0.63% 21,321 0.81%
Total Population Age 5+ 2,227,217 100.00% 2,632,408 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 384,787 57.86%
Other Indo-European* 30,041 28.07%
Asian Language** 168,920 57.01%
Other Language 6,419 30.11%
Total 590,167 22.42%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 257,777 61.19%
Other Indo-European* 22,753 28.15%
Asian Language** 100,430 57.92%
Other Language 4,241 30.20%
Total 385,201 17.30%

* "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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