The number of immigrants living in Massachusetts increased slightly in 2008, Globe immigration reporter Maria Sacchetti writes on today's front page. While the national proportion of foreign-born residents fell by 0.26 percent, it rose in Massachusetts by 2.54 percent.
(In passing, let me note that it's eternally disheartening to read some of the vitriolic, mean-spirited and anonymous on-line comments triggered by almost any article on immigrants, including one that simply reports the findings of a government census study and tries to explain a trend.)
For those who want to look at the raw data and draw their own conclusions, here's a link to the key Massachusetts page of the US Census Bureau 2008 American Community Survey. This page provides the core data and quite a bit more to chew on in thinking about the Massachusetts immigrant population and other demographic issues.
Among the findings:
--The immigrants living in Massachusetts come from all over the world, and most have been here a number of years. Of the state's 6,497,967 residents at the time of the 2008 survey, 937,000, or 14 percent, were foreign born. Of those, 68 percent have been here since before 2000, and 32 percent, or 301,000, arrived in 2000 or later.
In identifying their region of origin:
--35 percent of the foreign-born residents said they were born in Latin America
--28 percent were from Asia
--25 percent were from Europe
--8 percent were from Africa
Asked to identify their ancestry, Bay Staters showed themselves to be from an equally vast array of home countries. At the top of the list:
--Irish -- 1.53 million, or 23.5 percent.
--Italian -- 907,000, or 14 percent
--English -- 745,000, or 11.5 percent
There's no ancestry category for Hispanics, but another page from the survey, on the state's demographics, shows how people identified themselves by race, and that indicates the proportion of people of Hispanic descent in Massachusetts..
White -- 82.5 percent
Black or African American -- 6.7 percent
Asian -- 5 percent
Hispanic -- 8.6 percent
On language, the survey notes on its very useful 'narrative' page: "Among people at least five years old living in Massachusetts in 2008, 21 percent spoke a language other than English at home. Of those speaking a language other than English at home, 35 percent spoke Spanish and 65 percent spoke some other language; 41 percent reported that they did not speak English "very well.""
About this blog
About James F. SmithJim Smith came home to his native Boston in 2002 to become the Boston Globe's foreign editor after spending 22 years abroad. He was previously based in Buenos Aires and Mexico City for the LA Times, and in Johannesburg, Tokyo and The Hague for the AP. In 2007 he became the Globe's national political editor, coordinating presidential campaign coverage. He is a Yale graduate, and has an MBA. He is married to Maxine Hart and has two sons, Matthew and Daniel.
Is your organization holding an event? Post it on our calendar (use "worldlyboston" for the keyword).