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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 640,253 85.62% 635,369 82.33%
Spanish 39,373 5.27% 67,314 8.72%
Other Indo-European* 59,793 8.00% 53,102 6.88%
Asian Language** 5,569 0.74% 11,523 1.49%
Other 2,774 0.37% 4,450 0.58%
Total Population Age 5+ 747,762 100.00% 771,758 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 28,831 42.83%
Other Indo-European* 18,448 34.74%
Asian Language** 5,089 44.16%
Other Language 1,351 30.36%
Total 53,719 6.96%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 18,296 46.47%
Other Indo-European* 19,191 32.10%
Asian Language** 2,140 38.43%
Other Language 769 27.72%
Total 40,396 5.40%

* "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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