How many people speak Portuguese in the United States?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Portuguese ancestry in yellow and red. The darker the shade, the larger the population.

This article in the New York Times today offers a few clues:

In 2006, the census estimated that there were about 350,000 Brazilians living in the United States, and Brazilian consular officials say that most of them live in the New York metropolitan region, Florida and Massachusetts. But given that many are in the country illegally, the officials said they believed the actual number to be much higher. One of the chief sponsors of the Brazilian Day festival, Globo International, the cable-television arm of Brazil’s TV Globo abroad, has at least 420,000 viewers in the United States, based on the number of households that subscribe to its Portuguese-language services.

More evidence of the community’s size lies, perhaps, in the number of people who organizers say attended the festival’s big day on Sunday, about one million, to watch three of Brazil’s most popular musical acts perform from a stage on Avenue of the Americas, near 44th Street.
Wikipedia has some other numbers as well, though this seems to be based on ethnicity and not necessarily language:

Portuguese-Americans are the fourth largest ethnic group in the State of Hawaii, fifth largest group in Rhode Island and the eighth largest group in Massachusetts.

Top 3 Biggest Communities

Top 3 Biggest Portuguese-American communities in the country (2000 Census):

(1) Metro Boston area leads the way with 192,017 Portuguese-Americans; (3.3% of Metro population).
(2) Greater New York/New Jersey area with 129,865; (0.6% of total Metro population).
(3) San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area with 121,757; (1.7% of total Metro population).

The states with the largest Portuguese populations:


The states with the top percentages of Portuguese:

  • Rhode Island 91,445 (8.7% of state population)
  • Massachusetts 279,722 (4.4%)
  • Hawaii 48,527 (4%)
  • Connecticut (1.3%)
  • New Hampshire (1.1%)
  • California (1%)
  • New Jersey (0.9%)
  • Nevada (0.6%)
  • Florida (0.3%)
The page from the Portuguese Wikipedia gives a total number of 1.3 million:
Os portugueses e seus descendentes formam um grupo étnico razoavelmente expressivo nos Estados Unidos, somando 1,3 milhão de pessoas.
Portuguese and their descendants in the United States form a fairly significant ethnic group in the United States, making a total of 1.3 million people.


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