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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 396,596 57.59% 404,571 54.26%
Spanish 75,933 11.03% 89,759 12.04%
Other Indo-European* 42,460 6.17% 49,788 6.68%
Asian Language** 167,931 24.38% 194,584 26.10%
Other 5,769 0.84% 6,948 0.93%
Total Population Age 5+ 688,689 100.00% 745,650 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 44,779 49.89%
Other Indo-European* 18,377 36.91%
Asian Language** 120,900 62.13%
Other Language 2,345 33.75%
Total 186,401 25.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 38,330 50.48%
Other Indo-European* 14,972 35.26%
Asian Language** 106,792 63.59%
Other Language 2,073 35.93%
Total 162,167 23.55%

* "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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