Hispanic Division: Back to Portuguese Settlement in the United States

Distribution of Portuguese Ancestry in the US, 1980

According to the 1980 federal census, more than one million people in the United States claim single or multiple Portuguese ancestry. When mapped, the geographic distribution of this data records the historical pattern of Portuguese immigration and settlement that developed within the United States during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This thematic map of Portuguese ancestry demonstrates the dual focus of Portuguese settlement in southeastern New England (extending from Providence, Rhode Island, through southeastern Massachusetts to Boston) and in central California (incorporating the San Francisco Bay area and the San Joaquin Valley). Secondary concentrations are found in the New York City metropolitan area and the Connecticut River Valley, southern California (including Los Angeles and San Diego), and Hawaii. Smaller concentrations are also evident in northeastern Pennsylvania (near Bethlehem) and central Illinois (near Springfield). Several of these settlement regions will be examined in more detail in separate sections of this exhibit, focusing on the temporal, geographic, and economic aspects of these Portuguese immigrant communities.

"Portuguese Ancestry," in James Allen and Eugene Turner. We the People. New York: Macmillan, 1988. Color facsimile. Geography and Map Division, G1201.E1A4 1988 (7).


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Distribution of Portuguese Ancestry in the United States, 1980