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Massachusetts Has Become More Diverse, New Census Data Shows

A placard shows the new county-level population numbers from the 2020 U.S. Census (Steve Brown/WBUR)
A placard shows the new county-level population numbers from the 2020 U.S. Census (Steve Brown/WBUR)
This article is more than 1 year old.

U.S. Census data released Thursday shows that Massachusetts became significantly more diverse over the last decade, but is still less diverse than the country as a whole.

The latest figures show that 67.6% of the Massachusetts population was white in 2020, down from 76.1% in 2010, when the last census was completed.

The second largest racial or ethnic group in the state was Hispanic or Latino residents, which grew from 9.6% of the commonwealth's population in 2010 to 12.6% of the state's population in 2020. Asians accounted for 7.2% of the population in 2020, while Black residents accounted for just under 7% of residents last year. The number of residents identifying as belonging to two or more groups more than doubled to 4.7% over the past decade.

Suffolk County, which includes Boston, remains the only county in the state where white residents were not in the majority.

Nationally, Hawaii and California are considered the most diverse states, based on a formula that shows the likelihood that two people picked at random will be from different racial or ethnic groups, the Census found. Maine is the least diverse state in the nation. The other least diverse states include West Virginia, Vermont and New Hampshire.

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The Census data, which will be used to redraw legislative and congressional district lines, also found that population grew fastest in large counties and shrank in many smaller counties.

The data also showed that population growth shrank in two counties in the western part of the state (Berkshire and Franklin), while growing fastest around Boston (Suffolk County) and on the islands (Dukes County and Nantucket County).

Dukes and Nantucket remain the two smallest counties in the state, however, by a wide margin. Middlesex County, with 1.6 million people, remains the largest.

The Census reported that just 19.4% of the population was under 18 in 2020, down from 21.7% in 2010.



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