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San Mateo 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 411,194 67.89% 387,594 58.50%
Spanish 82,509 13.62% 119,972 18.11%
Other Indo-European* 33,918 5.60% 44,044 6.65%
Asian Language** 71,778 11.85% 102,970 15.54%
Other 6,277 1.04% 7,929 1.20%
Total Population Age 5+ 605,676 100.00% 662,509 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 65,294 54.42%
Other Indo-European* 12,383 28.12%
Asian Language** 42,505 41.28%
Other Language 2,242 28.28%
Total 122,424 18.48%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 43,200 52.36%
Other Indo-European* 10,202 30.08%
Asian Language** 30,916 43.07%
Other Language 1,891 30.13%
Total 86,209 14.23%

* "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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