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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 314,650 87.44% 345,971 80.16%
Spanish 25,049 6.96% 59,480 13.78%
Other Indo-European* 13,228 3.68% 14,305 3.31%
Asian Language** 5,579 1.55% 9,535 2.21%
Other 1,349 0.37% 2,289 0.53%
Total Population Age 5+ 359,855 100.00% 431,580 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 33,146 55.73%
Other Indo-European* 3,387 23.68%
Asian Language** 4,365 45.78%
Other Language 681 29.75%
Total 41,579 9.63%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 13,095 52.28%
Other Indo-European* 3,437 25.98%
Asian Language** 3,017 54.08%
Other Language 432 32.02%
Total 19,981 5.55%

* "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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