Updated on: 06/10/2022

Massachusetts Population by Race/Ethnicity

How racially diverse are residents in Massachusetts? This topic shows the demographic breakdown of residents by race/ethnicity and the increases in the Non-white population since 2010.

Note: Hispanic is used to reflect current data collection practices. We acknowledge this may not be the preferred term. Throughout this report, NH refers to Non-Hispanic. People of color refers to individuals identifying as Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Other. Unless otherwise noted, adults are ages 18+. Data are most recently available for the specified data source.


Over centuries, discriminatory and exclusionary policies and practices — from colonization and enslavement to those that continue to influence immigration practices, housing, and employment—have shaped where people live and work.2 ,3, 4, 5, 6 These factors are part of the social determinants of health and directly impact residents' health as well as their access to opportunities that promote health.

MA Population

Though the majority of the MA population is White, NH, the percent of the population who are people of color is increasing.

Other includes American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Other Pacific Islander. Population estimates from University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute

MA Residents of Color

Other includes American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Other Pacific Islander. Population estimates from University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute

Download the raw data (accessible version) used to create these visualizations.

2 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (2010). A new way to talk about the social determinants of health. Retrieved from http://www.rwjf.org/content/da...

3 Pew Research Center. (2015). Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to U.S., Driving Population Growth and Change Through 2065. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/hi...

4 Burstein, P. (1998) Discrimination, jobs, and politics: The struggle for equal employment opportunity in the United States since the New Deal. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press

5 Pager, D. & Hana, S. (2008). The sociology of discrimination: Racial discrimination in employment, housing, credit, and consumer markets. Annual Review of Sociolology, 34, 181-209. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.33.040406.131740

6 Bertrand, M. & Sendhil, M. (2003). Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination. National Bureau of Economic Research. NBER Working Paper No. 9873. Retrieved from https://www.nber.org/system/fi...

Indicator selection

This report gathered equity metrics found throughout DPH published data reports in one common location. When choosing the indicators to feature in this dashboard, we focused on publicly available data and the State Health Assessment (SHA) priority indicators. In some instances proxy measures were used if race/ethnicity data were limited (e.g. Hepatitis B Vaccinations Rates in place of Viral Hepatitis Prevalence Rates). Only indicators that had sufficient data for breakdowns by race/ethnicity were included.

Time-frame for Data Shown

In all cases, the most recent data for each indicator are incorporated. For some topics (e.g. hospitalizations for various causes), only older data are available by race/ethnicity. However, the goal of this dashboard is to capture the current experiences of this priority population. As such, the years of data presented are different for each chart; we opted for the most recent data available over using the same (older) year across all indicators in the report

Race/Ethnicity Group Definition and Data Collection

This report presents race/ethnicity data as it is collected and defined by each source. DPH complies with the the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Standards and have adapted the recommendations to capture this information. We acknowledge that the race/ethnicity breakdowns presented here may not reflect each group's preferred terms. We recognize that race groups are not monolithic. Grouping into larger categories (e.g. Asian) and grouping Hispanic separately (e.g. Black and Hispanic is not a category in this report) is problematic and may not fully capture the experiences specific groups have. Data on language and disability status are not reflected in this version of the report but we plan to include these in future versions. Detailed information on the specific race/ethnicity group definitions and data collection practices can be found using the links to data sources provided for each chart. The DPH Race/Ethnicity/Language Data Standards Guide provides information on current department wide minimum compliance for collecting, defining, and reporting this information.

Data Suppression

For some charts, race/ethnicity groups may not be shown. This varies by data source and reflects insufficient sample size to support reliable estimates or suppression to protect residents privacy. For more information on the DPH suppression guidelines, please see the Department of Public Health Confidentiality Procedures.

Current Analysis

Unless otherwise noted, the differences between race/ethnicity groups in this report are based on descriptive observations (i.e. estimates are higher or lower than others) and key findings for the data shown in charts do not represent statistically significant differences. Any language that indicates statistical significance is taken directly from reports that have performed these analyses separately from this dashboard. For more information on how analyses were performed and definitions for significance, please see the data source notes provided for each chart.

CI refers to Confidence Interval (if available), which describes the certainty of a value. The Department of Public Health uses a 95% confidence interval.

Future Plans

This initial report focuses on communities of color. Additional dashboards on the other priority populations will be created. We also plan to expand dashboard contents including adding more indicators, updating data currently included, and incorporating intersectionality of populations (e.g. data by race/ethnicity and sexual orientation/gender identity).

Visual representations of statistical significance and additional analytics to compare differences between groups will also be incorporated.