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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 256,537 74.79% 251,390 67.24%
Spanish 65,679 19.15% 99,180 26.53%
Other Indo-European* 11,105 3.24% 11,857 3.17%
Asian Language** 8,858 2.58% 10,060 2.69%
Other 831 0.24% 1,375 0.37%
Total Population Age 5+ 343,010 100.00% 373,862 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 54,041 54.49%
Other Indo-European* 2,284 19.26%
Asian Language** 4,776 47.48%
Other Language 483 35.13%
Total 61,584 16.47%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 36,115 54.99%
Other Indo-European* 2,363 21.28%
Asian Language** 4,484 50.62%
Other Language 316 38.03%
Total 43,278 12.62%

* "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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