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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 1,726,619 74.92% 1,752,737 66.96%
Spanish 370,386 16.07% 573,649 21.91%
Other Indo-European* 65,110 2.83% 80,143 3.06%
Asian Language** 128,830 5.59% 185,810 7.10%
Other 13,703 0.59% 25,379 0.97%
Total Population Age 5+ 2,304,648 100.00% 2,617,718 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 273,578 47.69%
Other Indo-European* 21,991 27.44%
Asian Language** 86,320 46.46%
Other Language 9,741 38.38%
Total 391,630 14.96%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 179,422 48.44%
Other Indo-European* 17,492 26.87%
Asian Language** 62,274 48.34%
Other Language 5,085 37.11%
Total 264,273 11.47%

* "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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