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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 1,173,985 89.48% 1,158,729 88.92%
Spanish 29,309 2.23% 41,288 3.17%
Other Indo-European* 83,100 6.33% 72,365 5.55%
Asian Language** 10,010 0.76% 14,776 1.13%
Other 15,592 1.19% 15,908 1.22%
Total Population Age 5+ 1,311,996 100.00% 1,303,066 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 15,780 38.22%
Other Indo-European* 27,953 38.63%
Asian Language** 7,383 49.97%
Other Language 4,802 30.19%
Total 55,918 4.29%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 11,669 39.81%
Other Indo-European* 29,692 35.73%
Asian Language** 5,015 50.10%
Other Language 5,068 32.50%
Total 51,444 3.92%

* "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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