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Multnomah County

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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 492,167 90.77% 515,735 83.37%
Spanish 12,397 2.29% 38,767 6.27%
Other Indo-European* 16,514 3.05% 29,348 4.74%
Asian Language** 18,519 3.42% 30,310 4.90%
Other 2,627 0.48% 4,457 0.72%
Total Population Age 5+ 542,224 100.00% 618,617 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 21,686 55.94%
Other Indo-European* 13,345 45.47%
Asian Language** 18,275 60.29%
Other Language 1,699 38.12%
Total 55,005 8.89%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 5,084 41.01%
Other Indo-European* 6,315 38.24%
Asian Language** 10,517 56.79%
Other Language 908 34.56%
Total 22,824 4.21%

* "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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