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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 373,189 94.35% 423,447 92.66%
Spanish 6,927 1.75% 12,717 2.78%
Other Indo-European* 9,610 2.43% 11,860 2.60%
Asian Language** 5,126 1.30% 7,517 1.64%
Other 689 0.17% 1,428 0.31%
Total Population Age 5+ 395,541 100.00% 456,969 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 4,857 38.19%
Other Indo-European* 2,619 22.08%
Asian Language** 3,666 48.77%
Other Language 274 19.19%
Total 11,416 2.50%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 2,158 31.15%
Other Indo-European* 2,484 25.85%
Asian Language** 2,516 49.08%
Other Language 157 22.79%
Total 7,315 1.85%

* "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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