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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 191,644 91.41% 236,441 86.38%
Spanish 8,454 4.03% 21,404 7.82%
Other Indo-European* 5,578 2.66% 8,891 3.25%
Asian Language** 3,184 1.52% 5,785 2.11%
Other 790 0.38% 1,198 0.44%
Total Population Age 5+ 209,650 100.00% 273,719 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 11,011 51.44%
Other Indo-European* 1,983 22.30%
Asian Language** 2,637 45.58%
Other Language 318 26.54%
Total 15,949 5.83%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 3,392 40.12%
Other Indo-European* 1,244 22.30%
Asian Language** 1,671 52.48%
Other Language 246 31.14%
Total 6,553 3.13%

* "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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