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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 645,384 81.23% 628,513 78.30%
Spanish 57,562 7.25% 82,359 10.26%
Other Indo-European* 81,384 10.24% 76,149 9.49%
Asian Language** 6,950 0.87% 11,978 1.49%
Other 3,217 0.40% 3,703 0.46%
Total Population Age 5+ 794,497 100.00% 802,702 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 33,758 40.99%
Other Indo-European* 29,276 38.45%
Asian Language** 6,432 53.70%
Other Language 1,024 27.65%
Total 70,490 8.78%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 28,262 49.10%
Other Indo-European* 30,695 37.72%
Asian Language** 3,951 56.85%
Other Language 896 27.85%
Total 63,804 8.03%

* "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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