Massachusetts has the largest population of Cape Verdean Americans in America. Brockton has the largest Cape Verdean American population in Massachusetts.

According to 2020 U.S. Census figures, there are 70,040 Cape Verdean Americans living in Massachusetts.

Rounding out the top 10 states with the highest Cape Verdean American populations: Rhode Island is second with 18,118, followed by Connecticut with 3,714, California with 2,948, Florida with 2,545, New York with 1,413, Georgia with 1,337, Maryland with 1,260, Virginia 1,028, and New Jersey 609.

The combined Cape Verdean American population in the bottom nine states totals 32,972, less than half of the population of Cape Verdean Americans living in Massachusetts.

New Bedford's Cape Verdean Independence Day Parade is back after a two year hiatus.
Credit: New Bedford Office of Tourism and Marketing

According to 2010 statistics, Brockton had the largest concentration of Cape Verdean Americans in the region, followed by Boston, New Bedford, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Providence, Rhode Island, Taunton, Fall River, East Providence, Rhode Island, Randolph, Central Falls, Rhode Island, Barnstable and Cranston, Rhode Island.

The Cape Verdean American population in New Bedford is estimated to be 9,613, while some 19,225 Cape Verdean Americans live in Brockton.

Cape Verdean immigration to the United States began in the early 19th century. The first immigrants from Portuguese Cape Verde came aboard whaling ships. Mass emigration followed in 1869 due to drought and economic decline at home. Many looking to escape the Portuguese Empire found new homes in New Bedford and Providence.

Tim Dunn/Townsquare Media
Tim Dunn/Townsquare Media

New U.S. immigration law in 1922 restricted the immigration of people of color, including Cape Verdeans. Some Cape Verdeans already in America moved west to steel towns in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California.

In 1966, U.S. immigration laws were relaxed, and a new wave of Cape Verdean immigration began. New arrivals found homes in Onset, Boston, Brockton, Taunton, Pawtucket and elsewhere in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York.

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Because of the long gap between waves of immigration from Cape Verde, there were cultural differences between the new arrivals and the descendants of the first immigrants.

Cape Verde achieved independence on July 5, 1975. The anniversary is celebrated with a festival and parade each year in New Bedford.

Members of the Cape Verdean Association of New Bedford, Inc. recently broke ground for Island Park at Acushnet Avenue and Bentley Street. The park and the Cape Verdean Cultural Center are expected to be completed by Summer 2024.

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