Census 2000 data include changes in the way people were counted. The most significant change is to allow persons to select more than one race, creating a new multiracial category of “two or more races,” but meaning people may not be included in the race with which they most identify. There was, however, no way to choose more than one ethnicity; one must choose either Latino or not. Throughout this profile, numbers reflect Latinos of all races, or non-Latinos by race, with persons of two or more races counted separately. All categorizations are based solely on self-identification. All of this complicates comparisons between 1990 and 2000 data. However, the concepts are similar enough to make trends and patterns clear.
In Springfield, the general population changes from 1990 to 2000 were similar to national and state trends, with certain aspects exaggerated. The total population fell by 3.1%, lead by a reduction of 25.6% in the non-Hispanic White population. Meanwhile, the population of people of color — African Americans, Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders — grew by 31%, almost making up for the decline. Latinos had a larger numerical growth than any other group, increasing by 14,815 people or 55.8%%, although Asians and had a higher percent increase. Latinos now represent 27.2% of the population, an increase of 10.3 percentage points and the largest gain of any group. The third largest city in Massachusetts, Springfield has the third largest population of Latinos and the sixth largest in the New England states. As a percentage of the total population, the Latino population in Springfield ranks fifth in the state (or fourth if we just count cities - Fort Devens is fourth).
Jones, Charles, "Latinos in Springfield, Massachusetts" (2003). Gastón Institute Publications. 75.