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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 4,496,926 85.02% 4,628,775 81.61%
Spanish 192,439 3.64% 317,108 5.59%
Other Indo-European* 479,102 9.06% 513,130 9.05%
Asian Language** 93,655 1.77% 168,828 2.98%
Other 26,892 0.51% 43,661 0.77%
Total Population Age 5+ 5,289,014 100.00% 5,671,502 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 141,305 44.56%
Other Indo-European* 184,515 35.96%
Asian Language** 88,889 52.65%
Other Language 11,958 27.39%
Total 426,667 7.52%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 93,685 48.68%
Other Indo-European* 166,151 34.68%
Asian Language** 54,466 58.16%
Other Language 7,334 27.27%
Total 321,636 6.08%

* "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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