According to the just released 2010 U.S. Census Bureau – between 2000 and 2003 – a new trend in demographics brought more diversity to the Massachusetts Southcoast region, home to a significant Portuguese population.
Changes resulted from an increase in Hispanic, Black and Asian populations alongside the well-established Portuguese communities in areas such as Attleboro, Fall River, North Attleboro, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Somerset and Swansea.
In Fall River the growth of the Hispanic community was most significant. According to the data the Hispanic population in Fall River grew from 1.7 percent of city residents in 2000, to 7.4 percent in 2010. In numbers of people, the city’s Hispanic population more than quadrupled, from 1,568 in 2000 to 6,562 in 2010.
The figures also revealed that while the population in Fall River slipped by 3.35 percent to 88,857 — dropping to 10th in the state ranking — in the last decade New Bedford, gained 1,304 people, or 1.39 percent, for a new total of 95,072, making the city the sixth largest in the state.
There are sizable Portuguese communities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, California, and Hawaii. The latest census estimates that 1.3 million individuals living in the United States are of Portuguese ancestry, with a large percentage coming from the Azores. There are about 20,000 Americans living in Portugal.