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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 360,362 83.12% 377,881 73.04%
Spanish 51,641 11.91% 108,889 21.05%
Other Indo-European* 12,313 2.84% 15,090 2.92%
Asian Language** 6,859 1.58% 10,762 2.08%
Other 2,390 0.55% 4,727 0.91%
Total Population Age 5+ 433,565 100.00% 517,349 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 62,690 57.57%
Other Indo-European* 5,002 33.15%
Asian Language** 6,174 57.37%
Other Language 1,632 34.53%
Total 75,498 14.59%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 20,085 38.89%
Other Indo-European* 3,834 31.14%
Asian Language** 4,022 58.64%
Other Language 806 33.72%
Total 28,747 6.63%

* "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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