Massachusetts (/ˌmæsəˈtʃuːsɪts/ (listen), /-zɪts/), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island to the south, New Hampshire and Vermont to the north, and New York to the west. The state is named after the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the east side of the area, and is one of the original thirteen states. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, which is also the most populous city in New England. Over 80% of the population of Massachusetts lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry. Originally dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts’s economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade.
Massachusetts is the 7th-smallest state in the United States. It is located in the New England region of the northeastern United States and has an area of 10,555 square miles (27,340 km), 25.7% of which is water. Several large bays distinctly shape its coast. Boston is the largest city, at the inmost point of Massachusetts Bay, and the mouth of the Charles River.
Despite its small size, Massachusetts features numerous topographically distinctive regions. The large coastal plain of the Atlantic Ocean in the eastern section of the state contains Greater Boston, along with most of the state’s population, as well as the distinctive Cape Cod peninsula. To the west lies the hilly, rural region of Central Massachusetts, and beyond that, the Connecticut River Valley. Along the western border of Western Massachusetts lies the highest elevated part of the state, the Berkshires.
The U.S. National Park Service administers a number of natural and historical sites in Massachusetts. Along with twelve national historic sites, areas, and corridors, the National Park Service also manages the Cape Cod National Seashore and the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. In addition, the Department of Conservation and Recreation maintains a number of parks, trails, and beaches throughout Massachusetts.
The United States Census Bureau estimated that the population of Massachusetts was 6,902,149 on July 1, 2018, a 5.41% increase since the 2010 United States Census.
As of 2014, Massachusetts was estimated to be the third-most densely populated U.S. state, with 839.4 people per square mile, behind New Jersey and Rhode Island. In 2014, Massachusetts had 1,011,811 foreign-born residents or 15% of the population.
Most Bay State residents live within the Boston Metropolitan Area, also known as Greater Boston, which includes Boston and its proximate surroundings but also extending to Greater Lowell and to Worcester. The Springfield metropolitan area, also known as Greater Springfield, is also a major center of population. Demographically, the center of population of Massachusetts is located in the town of Natick.
Like the rest of the Northeastern United States, the population of Massachusetts has continued to grow in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Massachusetts is the fastest growing state in New England and the 25th fastest growing state in the United States. Population growth was largely due to a relatively high quality of life and a large higher education system in the state.
Foreign immigration is also a factor in the state’s population growth, causing the state’s population to continue to grow as of the 2010 Census (particularly in Massachusetts gateway cities where costs of living are lower). 40% of foreign immigrants were from Central or South America, according to a 2005 Census Bureau study, with many of the remainder from Asia. Many residents who have settled in Greater Springfield claim Puerto Rican descent. Many areas of Massachusetts showed relatively stable population trends between 2000 and 2010. Exurban Boston and coastal areas grew the most rapidly, while Berkshire County in far Western Massachusetts and Barnstable County on Cape Cod were the only counties to lose population as of the 2010 Census.
By sex, 48.4% were male and 51.6% were female in 2014. In terms of age, 79.2% were over 18 years old and 14.8% were over 65 years old.
As of 2014, in terms of race and ethnicity, Massachusetts was 83.2% White (73.7% Non-Hispanic White), 8.8% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American and Alaska Native, 6.3% Asian American, <0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 2.1% from some other race, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 11.2% of the population.
The state’s most populous ethnic group, non-Hispanic white, has declined from 95.4% in 1970 to 73.7% in 2014. As of 2011, non-Hispanic whites were involved in 63.6% of all the births, while 36.4% of the population of Massachusetts younger than age 1 was minorities (meaning that they had at least one parent who was not non-Hispanic white).
As late as 1795, the population of Massachusetts was nearly 95% of English ancestry. During the early and mid-19th century, immigrant groups began arriving in Massachusetts in large numbers; first from Ireland in the 1840s; today the Irish and part-Irish are the largest ancestry group in the state at nearly 25% of the total population. Others arrived later from Quebec as well as places in Europe such as Italy, Portugal, and Poland. In the early 20th century, a number of African Americans migrated to Massachusetts, although in somewhat fewer numbers than many other Northern states. Later in the 20th century, immigration from Latin America increased considerably. Over 156,000 Chinese Americans made their home in Massachusetts in 2014, and Boston hosts a growing Chinatown accommodating heavily traveled Chinese-owned bus lines to and from Chinatown, Manhattan in New York City. Massachusetts also has large Puerto Rican, Dominican, Haitian, Cape Verdean and Brazilian populations. Boston’s South End and Jamaica Plain are both gay villages, as is nearby Provincetown, Massachusetts on Cape Cod.
The largest ancestry group in Massachusetts are the Irish (22.5% of the population), who live in significant numbers throughout the state but form more than 40% of the population along the South Shore in Norfolk and Plymouth counties (in both counties overall, Irish-Americans comprise more than 30% of the population). Italians form the second-largest ethnic group in the state (13.5%), but only form a plurality in some suburbs north of Boston and a few towns in the Berkshires. English is the third-largest ancestry in Massachusetts (11.4%), and have lived in the region the longest but only form a plurality in some towns in western Massachusetts. French and French Canadian people also form a significant part of the state’s population (10.7%), with sizable populations in Bristol, Hampden, Worcester Counties. Lowell is home to the second-largest Cambodian community of the nation. Massachusetts is home to a small community of Greek Americans as well, which according to the American Community Survey there are 83,701 of them scattered along the state (1.2% of the total state population). There are also several populations of Native Americans in Massachusetts. The Wampanoag tribe maintains reservations at Aquinnah on Martha’s Vineyard and at Mashpee on Cape Cod—with an ongoing native language revival project underway since 1993, while the Nipmuc maintain two state-recognized reservations in the central part of the state, including one at Grafton.
Massachusetts has avoided many forms of racial strife seen elsewhere in the US, but examples such as the successful electoral showings of the nativist (mainly anti-Catholic) Know Nothings in the 1850s, the controversial Sacco and Vanzetti executions in the 1920s, and Boston’s opposition to desegregation busing in the 1970s show that the ethnic history of Massachusetts was not completely harmonious.
The most common varieties of American English spoken in Massachusetts, other than General American, are the cot-caught distinct, rhotic, western Massachusetts dialect and the cot-caught merged, non-rhotic, eastern Massachusetts dialect (popularly known as a “Boston accent”).
As of 2010, 78.93% (4,823,127) of Massachusetts residents age 5 and older spoke English at home as a first language, while 7.50% (458,256) spoke Spanish, 2.97% (181,437) Portuguese, 1.59% (96,690) Chinese (which includes Cantonese and Mandarin), 1.11% (67,788) French, 0.89% (54,456) French Creole, 0.72% (43,798) Italian, 0.62% (37,865) Russian, and Vietnamese was spoken as a primary language by 0.58% (35,283) of the population over the age of five. In total, 21.07% (1,287,419) of Massachusetts’s population aged 5 and older spoke a first language other than English.
Massachusetts was founded and settled by Brownist Puritans in 1620 and soon after by other groups of Separatists/Dissenters, Nonconformists and Independents from 17th century England. A majority of people in Massachusetts today remain Christians. The descendants of the Puritans belong to many different churches; in the direct line of inheritance are the various Congregational churches, the United Church of Christ and congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association. The headquarters of the Unitarian Universalist Association, long located on Beacon Hill, is now located in South Boston. Many Puritan descendants also dispersed to other Protestant denominations. Some disaffiliated along with Roman Catholics and other Christian groups in the wake of modern secularization.
Today, Christians make up 57% of the state’s population, with Protestants making up 21% of them. Roman Catholics make up 34% and now predominate because of massive immigration from primarily Catholic countries and regions – chiefly Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Quebec, and Latin America. Both Protestant and Roman Catholic communities have been in decline since the late 20th century, due to the rise of irreligion in New England. It is the most irreligious region of the country, along with the Western United States. A significant Jewish population immigrated to the Boston and Springfield areas between 1880 and 1920. Jews currently make up 3% of the population. Mary Baker Eddy made the Boston Mother Church of Christian Science serve as the world headquarters of this new religious movement. Buddhists, Pagans, Hindus, Seventh-day Adventists, Muslims, and Mormons may also be found. Kripalu Center in Stockbridge, the Shaolin Meditation Temple in Springfield, and the Insight Meditation Center in Barre are examples of non-Abrahamic religious centers in Massachusetts. According to 2010 data from The Association of Religion Data Archives, (ARDA) the largest single denominations are the Catholic Church with 2,940,199 adherents; the United Church of Christ with 86,639 adherents; and the Episcopal Church with 81,999 adherents. 32% of the population identifies as having no religion.
Zip Code Map
Massachusetts neighborhoods include: Abington, Acton, Acushnet, Adams, Agawam, Allston, Amesbury, Amherst, Andover, Aquinnah, Arlington, Ashburnham, Ashby, Ashfield, Ashland, Ashley Falls, Assonet, Athol, Attleboro, Attleboro Falls, Auburn, Auburndale, Avon, Ayer, Baldwinville, Barnstable, Barre, Becket, Bedford, Belchertown, Bellingham, Belmont, Berkley, Berlin, Bernardston, Beverly, Billerica, Blackstone, Blandford, Bolton, Boston, Bourne, Boxborough, Boxford, Boylston, Braintree, Brewster, Bridgewater, Brighton, Brimfield, Brockton, Brookfield, Brookline, Burlington, Buzzards Bay, Cambridge, Canton, Carlisle, Carver, Centerville, Charlemont, Charlestown, Charlton, Chatham, Chelmsford, Chelsea, Cherry Valley, Cheshire, Chester, Chesterfield, Chestnut Hill, Chicopee, Chilmark, Clinton, Cohasset, Colrain, Concord, Conway, Cotuit, Cummington, Dalton, Danvers, Dedham, Deerfield, Dennis, Dennis Port, Devens, Dighton, Dorchester, Dorchester Center, Douglas, Dover, Dracut, Drury, Dudley, Dunstable, Duxbury, East Boston, East Bridgewater, East Cambridge, East Falmouth, East Freetown, Eastham, Easthampton, East Longmeadow, East Sandwich, East Taunton, East Walpole, East Wareham, East Weymouth, Edgartown, Erving, Essex, Everett, Fall River, Falmouth, Fayville, Feeding Hills, Fiskdale, Fitchburg, Florence, Florida, Forestdale, Foxboro, Framingham, Franklin, Gardner, Gilbertville, Gill, Gloucester, Grafton, Granby, Granville, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Groton, Groveland, Hadley, Halifax, Hampden, Hanover, Hanscom Afb, Hanson, Hardwick, Harvard, Harwich, Harwich Port, Hatfield, Haverhill, Haydenville, Heath, Hingham, Hinsdale, Holbrook, Holden, Holland, Holliston, Holyoke, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Housatonic, Hubbardston, Hudson, Hull, Huntington, Hyannis, Hyde Park, Indian Orchard, Ipswich, Jamaica Plain, Jefferson, Kingston, Lakeville, Lancaster, Lanesboro, Lawrence, Lee, Leeds, Leicester, Lenox, Leominster, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Longmeadow, Lowell, Ludlow, Lunenburg, Lynn, Lynnfield, Malden, Manchester, Mansfield, Marblehead, Marion, Marlborough, Marshfield, Marstons Mills, Mashpee, Mattapan, Mattapoisett, Maynard, Medfield, Medford, Medway, Melrose, Mendon, Methuen, Middleboro, Middleton, Milford, Millbury, Millis, Millville, Milton, Monroe Bridge, Monson, Monterey, Montgomery, Nahant, Nantucket, Natick, Needham, Needham Heights, New Bedford, New Braintree, Newbury, Newburyport, New Marlborough, New Salem, Newton, Newton Center, Newton Highlands, Newton Lower Falls, Newton Upper Falls, Newtonville, Norfolk, North Adams, Northampton, North Andover, North Attleboro, North Billerica, Northborough, Northbridge, North Cambridge, North Carver, North Chatham, North Chelmsford, North Dartmouth, North Dighton, North Easton, North Falmouth, Northfield, North Grafton, North Oxford, North Reading, North Truro, North Weymouth, Norton, Norwell, Norwood, Oakham, Orange, Orleans, Osterville, Otis, Oxford, Palmer, Paxton, Peabody, Pelham, Pembroke, Pepperell, Petersham, Phillipston, Pittsfield, Plainfield, Plainville, Plymouth, Plympton, Pocasset, Princeton, Provincetown, Quincy, Randolph, Raynham, Reading, Rehoboth, Revere, Richmond, Rochdale, Rochester, Rockland, Rockport, Roslindale, Rowe, Rowley, Roxbury, Roxbury Crossing, Royalston, Russell, Rutland, Sagamore Beach, Salem, Salisbury, Sandisfield, Sandwich, Saugus, Savoy, Scituate, Seekonk, Sharon, Sheffield, Shelburne Falls, Sherborn, Shirley, Shrewsbury, Shutesbury, Somerset, Somerville, Southampton, South Attleboro, Southborough, South Boston, Southbridge, South Chatham, South Dartmouth, South Deerfield, South Dennis, South Easton, South Egremont, Southfield, South Grafton, South Hadley, South Hamilton, South Walpole, South Weymouth, Southwick, South Yarmouth, Spencer, Springfield, Squantum, Sterling, Stockbridge, Stoneham, Stoughton, Stow, Sturbridge, Sudbury, Sutton, Swampscott, Swansea, Taunton, Teaticket, Templeton, Tewksbury, Three Rivers, Topsfield, Townsend, Truro, Tyngsboro, Upton, Uxbridge, Vineyard Haven, Waban, Wakefield, Walpole, Waltham, Ware, Wareham, Warwick, Washington, Watertown, Wayland, Webster, Wellesley, Wellesley Hills, Wellfleet, Wenham, West Barnstable, Westborough, West Boylston, West Bridgewater, West Brookfield, West Chesterfield, West Dennis, Westfield, Westford, Westhampton, West Harwich, West Hatfield, Westminster, West Newbury, West Newton, Weston, Westport, West Roxbury, West Springfield, West Stockbridge, West Tisbury, West Townsend, West Wareham, West Warren, Westwood, West Yarmouth, Weymouth, Whitinsville, Whitman, Wilbraham, Williamsburg, Williamstown, Wilmington, Winchendon, Winchester, Windsor, Winthrop, Woburn, Woods Hole, Worcester, Worthington, Wrentham, Yarmouth Port
For more information, see Massachusetts wiki