May 6, 2011 | South Coast Today | Original Article

Census shows Hispanic population exploding

NEW BEDFORD — The region's Hispanic community, like that of the state, grew substantially from 2000 to 2010, according to U.S. Census numbers.

In New Bedford, the Hispanic population increased from 9,576 in 2000 to 15,916 in 2010.

The Mexican, Puerto Rican and Cuban communities in New Bedford grew by 127 percent, 43 percent and 118 percent, respectively. The group of people identifying themselves as "other Hispanic or Latino" grew from 2,538 to 5,499.

Dartmouth's total Hispanic population grew from 461 in 2000 to 805 in 2010. In Fall River, the Hispanic community increased from 3,040 to 6,562. In Wareham, the Hispanic community increased from 292 to 502.

Helena Marques, executive director of the New Bedford Immigrants' Assistance Center, was not surprised.

"It's very obvious the Hispanic community is the fastest-growing population in New Bedford," she said.

She added, "I think the numbers are even higher than that because of the undocumented population."