The pot is still melting; Rural, suburban minority population rises.


Byline: Russell Contreras

BOSTON - Public schools in Randolph report a jump in enrollment from Haitian students.

Fitchburg elected the state's first Asian American mayor. And next to a W.E.B. Du Bois mural in Great Barrington sits a Latino grocery store and Mexican Restaurant that specializes in food from Oaxaca, Mexico.

While U.S. Census data show that whites are leaving traditional Massachusetts cities in large numbers as more minorities are moving in, the numbers also show that people of color are moving to suburbs and rural areas, too, and are slowing reshaping areas that have been largely white for decades.

New census figures released this week by Secretary of State William Galvin show that the state's growing Latino, Asian American and black populations have moved all across the Bay State and into areas that once were almost all white.

For example, Berkshire Country in Western Massachusetts saw its Latino population nearly double.

And the Asian American population in Plymouth County, south of Boston, grew by 27 percent.

Phillip Granberry, a research associate at the Gaston Institute at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, said the statewide trends follow similar national patterns as immigrants see other options than moving directly to "gateway cities" and taking their chances in places where there are few networks.

"The gateway cities like Boston and Springfield are no longer the first destinations for some," Granberry said. "These numbers suggest a spreading out across the state."

In Worcester County, the Latino population in 2010 was 75,442, up from 50,864 in 2000.

Statewide, the Latino population was 627,654 in the 2010 census, a 46 percent increase from 2000, according to the new data.

The Asian American population rose by 46 percent to 349,768, while the black population - rising in large part by Haitian immigrants - grew by 26 percent to 434,639....

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