Daigo Fujiwara/Globe Staff
The Asian, Hispanic, and black population in Massachusetts increased sharply in the past decade, with the first two groups rising 46 percent, and the latter group 26 percent, according to new US Census figures released today.
Secretary of State William F. Galvin released the figures showing an increasingly diverse state at a State House news conference. He said the white population, by contrast, had decreased by 1.9 percent, though whites still accounted for the overwhelming majority of the state's residents.
Galvin also said the population in Boston, the state's largest city, had increased, growing to 617,594 in 2010 from 589,141 in 2000, a 4.8 percent rise.
At his morning news conference, Galvin initially had said Boston lost population, a fact that was reported by numerous media outlets. But the administration of Mayor Thomas M. Menino immediately disputed the figures and Galvin planned to clarify his numbers at a second news conference this afternoon.
"We are confident that our population continues to grow," said Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for Menino. "Boston is a growing, vibrant city."
The Census said this afternoon that the four other largest cities in the state also saw population increases, with Worcester increasing 4.9 percent to 181,045, Springfield increasing 0.6 percent to 153,060, Lowell increasing 1.3 percent to 106,519, and Cambridge increasing 3.8 percent to 105,162.
The communities in the state that saw the most growth, percentage-wise, included Upton, whose population climbed 33 percent to 7,542; Oak Bluffs, whose population rose 22 percent to 4,527; and Grafton, where the number of residents rose 19 percent to 17,765. Suburbs such as Middleborough, Hopkinton, Hingham, and Raynham all saw substantial growth.
At the other end of the scale, Lincoln's population dropped 21 percent to 6,362, and the populations of Rockport, Dennis, Gloucester, and Provincetown also declined.
The US Census, which is taken every 10 years, is the official count of residents in the United States. The data will be used to determine how state and federal assistance is distributed. And it is used to determine the shape of legislative districts, as well as to remap the congressional districts in Massachusetts.
Because the state's growth did not keep pace with growth in other states, the state is slated to lose one of its 10 congressional districts.
Galvin said it was difficult to draw immediate conclusions about the how the new numbers might shape the redistricting process. But he noted that Western Massachusetts and Cape Cod were two areas that had lost population so they might be areas eyed for elimination and consolidation into other districts.
John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
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