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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 981,130 76.58% 1,035,292 66.00%
Spanish 228,238 17.82% 434,445 27.69%
Other Indo-European* 29,479 2.30% 31,267 1.99%
Asian Language** 35,713 2.79% 57,641 3.67%
Other 6,589 0.51% 10,080 0.64%
Total Population Age 5+ 1,281,149 100.00% 1,568,725 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 201,771 46.44%
Other Indo-European* 8,670 27.73%
Asian Language** 26,867 46.61%
Other Language 3,241 32.15%
Total 240,549 15.33%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 102,047 44.71%
Other Indo-European* 8,033 27.25%
Asian Language** 17,858 50.00%
Other Language 1,968 29.87%
Total 129,906 10.14%

* "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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