The University of Massachusetts Amherst

UMass Donahue Institute

2015 Publication Archive

Foreign-Born Population of Worcester, MA - Assessing the Contributions of a Diverse Community

From the Executive Summary:

The City of Worcester, Massachusetts has long been a center for innovation, industry, and education. Since its incorporation in 1848, these features have made the city a destination for immigrants from a variety of national, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. As with most New England mill towns, Worcester’s immigration history begins with successive waves of Europeans. In the mid-twentieth century, Worcester began receiving a large number of Latin American immigrants, peaking in the 1970s. Worcester has seen a surge in African and Asian immigrants since the 1990s, though Asian immigration has outpaced African arrivals since 2010. Most African immigrants emigrate from Ghana and Kenya, and Asian immigrants from Vietnam, China, and India. Currently, Worcester has more foreign-born residents than any other Massachusetts Gateway City.

This report provides a profile of the foreign-born population in Worcester that highlights their unique challenges and contributions. The analysis also focuses on the impact the children of the foreign-born have on the public education system and provides a detailed comparison of Worcester’s largest foreign-born subpopulations. Qualitative interviews with immigration service providers detail the challenges of supporting communities of refugees and other immigrants endeavoring to make a life for themselves and their families in Worcester.

By: Christina Citino, Molly Fenton


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