• About the Project
1.1.2 Foreign-Born Populations
Why is this important?

The term “foreign-born” refers to people born in places outside the United States.  These individuals do not acquire citizenship at birth and are “naturalized citizens” when they do.  According to the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the city’s foreign-born population in Boston approximately contributes $4.6 billion in annual spending, $1 billion in state and federal taxes, and about 52,230 direct jobs for the local economy.

How are we doing?

As of 2010, more than 27% of Bostonians were foreign-born, up from 26% in 2000 and 20% in 1990.  The greatest number of immigrants in Boston live in the neighborhoods of Chinatown, East Boston, and parts of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan where foreign-born residents range from about 30% to 60%.

Statewide, 14.5% of residents were foreign-born with the highest concentrations in Chelsea (42%), Malden (39%), Lawrence (36%), Everett (35%) and Randolph (30%).

In 2010 Irish remained the largest single ancestry reported by Bostonians with more than 100,000 identifying as Irish followed by about 50,000 identifying as Italian and more than 40,000 identifying as West Indian, of which more than 24,000 were Haitian.  An additional 36,000 identify as English, 28,000 as German and about 25,000 as Sub-Saharan African of which more than 10,000 are Cape Verdean.


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