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Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland, MI

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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 810,852 94.49% 920,134 91.35%
Spanish 21,250 2.48% 52,906 5.25%
Other Indo-European* 19,402 2.26% 19,143 1.90%
Asian Language** 5,118 0.60% 11,600 1.15%
Other 1,474 0.17% 3,477 0.35%
Total Population Age 5+ 858,096 100.00% 1,007,260 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 25,168 47.57%
Other Indo-European* 5,702 29.79%
Asian Language** 6,709 57.84%
Other Language 1,173 33.74%
Total 38,752 3.85%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 8,415 39.60%
Other Indo-European* 5,558 28.65%
Asian Language** 2,905 56.76%
Other Language 371 25.17%
Total 17,249 2.01%

* "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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