Puerto Ricans are the largest Latino population in Massachusetts. They started arriving in the Connecticut River Valley after World War II to fill the state’s need for agricultural workers. Springfield has the largest population and Holyoke the largest share of Puerto Ricans in the state. This migration pattern is important because Western Massachusetts has not experienced economic growth as other parts of the state, and over 25% of Puerto Ricans in the state live there. This concentration of their population in this region shapes many of the demographic, social, and economic characteristics in this report. Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September of 2017. That year, Massachusetts received 6,241 Puerto Ricans from the island, and only Florida and Pennsylvania received more migration from Puerto Rico. In 2018, Massachusetts received 6,845 Puerto Ricans from the island, and Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas received more Puerto Rican migration than Massachusetts. This post hurricane migration was not equally distributed among cities and towns with large Puerto Rican populations. Springfield received 19% of this migration, while Worcester 15% and Boston only 5%.
Granberry, Phillip and Valentino, Krizia, "Latinos in Massachusetts: Puerto Ricans" (2020). Gastón Institute Publications. 249.