The state's great variety of racial and ethnic people challenges wide understanding of what is possible under the new national health care reform act.

Here are the most commonly spoken languages of people older than age 5 in California who do not speak English very well. A state agency devising plans to reach and inform these people is under pressure to expand its language outreach beyond English and Spanish.

The first number below is the group's population and the second is the approximate number of them 5 or older who do not speak English very well.

Spanish -- 9.5 million; 4.6 million

Chinese -- 926,918; 523,169

Tagalog -- 706,785; 227,906

Vietnamese -- 460,203; 281,793

Korean -- 347,778; 214,451

Farsi, Persian -- 180,269; 72,594

Armenian -- 174,358;- 83,371

Russian -- 142,278; 70,613

Arabic -- 129,813; 43,915

Khmer, Cambodian -- 68,455; 38,017

Hmong -- 67,522; 35,184

Laotian -- 35,153; 17,988

Source: U.S. Census, 2007



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