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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 498,936 87.49% 449,241 83.25%
Spanish 35,021 6.14% 49,461 9.17%
Other Indo-European* 22,324 3.91% 23,721 4.40%
Asian Language** 6,978 1.22% 8,974 1.66%
Other 7,025 1.23% 8,261 1.53%
Total Population Age 5+ 570,284 100.00% 539,658 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 25,355 51.26%
Other Indo-European* 5,815 24.51%
Asian Language** 4,508 50.23%
Other Language 2,558 30.96%
Total 38,236 7.09%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 18,725 53.47%
Other Indo-European* 5,194 23.27%
Asian Language** 3,229 46.27%
Other Language 1,980 28.19%
Total 29,128 5.11%

* "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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