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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 882,213 95.39% 891,645 93.62%
Spanish 10,452 1.13% 16,758 1.76%
Other Indo-European* 21,216 2.29% 26,247 2.76%
Asian Language** 8,317 0.90% 13,634 1.43%
Other 2,620 0.28% 4,174 0.44%
Total Population Age 5+ 924,818 100.00% 952,458 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 6,004 35.83%
Other Indo-European* 7,833 29.84%
Asian Language** 6,249 45.83%
Other Language 1,043 24.99%
Total 21,129 2.22%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 3,459 33.09%
Other Indo-European* 5,996 28.26%
Asian Language** 3,648 43.86%
Other Language 720 27.48%
Total 13,823 1.49%

* "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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