Since its founding in 1989, the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy has used applied and collaborative research to implement its mission of providing useful information (to policy makers, practitioners, and community leaders) on the experience of Latinos in Massachusetts. To access all our research reports please visit Gastón Institute's ScholarWorks.

Current research projects

"Brain Drain, Innovation, and Possibilities of Returning Home: Voices of Spanish Scientist Migrants."  PI: Iria Dopazo Ruibal

"Latino Student Success: Building Pathways from High School to Baccalaureate"  P.I.: Lorna Rivera

"A Comparative Study of the Haitian Immigrant Communities in the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte Brazil and the Greater Boston Area."  P.I.: Patrícia Rodrigues Costa de Sá.

Program Evaluation Study of TAG & Alerta: "Thirty Years of Latino Leaders Making a Difference."  P.I.: Lorna Rivera

Massachusetts Latino Population Growth: 2000-2010, by Phil Granberry.

Even though Massachusetts’ population increased by a relatively low 3.1 percent from 2000 to 2010, the Latino population in the state increased by a robust 46.4 percent.  The 2010 Census estimated that the 627,654 Latinos who resided in Massachusetts on April 1, 2010 make up 9.5 percent of the state’s population.  The Census Department expects the Latino population to continue to grow across that Untied States, and this trend should continue in Massachusetts.  The 2010 Census estimates for Massachusetts showed that this growing Latino population dispersed across all counties in the state.  The following charts provide the population change by county for the total population and Latino population and cities or towns that experienced large population growth.

By City:

Access the map.
Access the data.

By County:

Access the map.
Access the data.

Core Area 1:  Descriptive Socio-Demographic Analysis

We provide periodic demographic updates on the Latino population in Massachusetts and other New England states. The rapidly changing makeup of the Latino population of Massachusetts calls for a deeper understanding of the characteristics and situations of the different sectors of the community. We issue periodic reports based on the American Community Survey, decennial census, and other government data sources. These reports, generated as a public service by the Institute, can be requested by government agencies, community organizations, foundations, businesses, and individuals.

The Regional and Local Presentation Series consists of regional briefings for policy makers, practitioners, and community leaders about the state of Latinos in cities with especially large concentrations of Latinos. The current series, Latinos in Massachusetts, can be downloaded in Gastón Institute's ScholarWorks, and focuses on Springfield, Lawrence, Pittsfield, New Bedford, and Boston. For additional information contact Dr. Phillip Granberry.

Core Area 2:  Applied Research on Policies, Programs, and Practices

The Gastón Institute collaborates with government agencies, community organizations, foundations, and businesses in applied research projects aimed at evaluating the impact of policies, programs, and practices on Latino education, health, economic, and community-development outcomes. Our most recent applied research projects have documented the educational experience of English Language Learners in Massachusetts schools, including enrollment and academic outcomes as well as schools’ cultural competence and community engagement.

How Do Latino Students Fare in Massachusetts Charter Schools? is a collaborative research project between the Latino Education Institute at Worcester State University and the Gastón Institute. For more information contact Lorna Rivera.

Identifying Success in Schools and Programs for English Language Learners in Boston Public Schools is a collaborative project of researchers and practitioners from Boston Public Schools, the Gastón Institute, and the Center for Collaborative Education (CCE). For more information contact Dr. Miren Uriarte.

An Imperative for Change: this project focuses on the unique needs of students who require both special education and English language learning and has already produced a report by Dr. Maria de Lourdes Serpa. For more information contact Dr. Miren Uriarte.

Cultural Proficiency in Education: the Gastón Institute partnered with Sociedad Latina to produce a literature report with the goal of deepening the understanding of policy makers and administrators of the benefits of culturally proficient schools for all students. The report was produced by Cady Landa. For more information please contact Dr. Miren Uriarte.

Core 3:  Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR)

The Gastón Institute responds to requests from government and foundations for CBPR studies seeking to test theories and methods for addressing disparities in educational, health, and economic outcomes in U.S. Latino and Latin American communities. Our future research in this area seeks to answer questions about the factors that contribute to the production of disparities in health, educational, and economic outcomes.  Our current CBPR projects seek to test the feasibility of a variety of intervention strategies and focus on Spanish media, organizational capacity, and photovoice. Current projects include:

Por Ahí Dicen: Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Spanish Media PSAs Campaign to Promote Puerto Rican Mother-Child Communication about Sexuality and Sexual Health Protection highlights the experience of Puerto Rican mothers’ communication with their children regarding sexuality and sexual health, as well as the environmental and social factors that could be shaping this communication. For more information contact Dr. María Idalí Torres.

¡Todos Juntos!: Increasing Access to Health Insurance through Faith and Action (CPI 2014 001257, Office of Minority Health) uses a faith-based model aimed at increasing access to health insurance for underserved Spanish and Portuguese speaking communities through the Affordable Care Act. The geographic areas targeted by the project are Pittsfield and the Berkshires, New Bedford/Fall River, and Greater Boston. We work with CRUZA -the Alliance for Latino Health through Faith and Action- to engage churches serving underserved populations as trusted venues for providing culturally and linguistically competent education, outreach and assistance aimed at enrolling individuals in an affordable and appropriate health insurance plan. Research is carried out by a paid site coordinator, faith leaders, and volunteers, with assistance from UMass Boston students, among others. For more info contact Dr. María Idalí Torres.

Improving Food Purchasing Selection among Low-Income Spanish Speaking Latinos through Social Marketing Messages: funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Salud America initiative, this study seeks first to examine food purchasing patterns of Spanish-speaking Latino families, and then to develop and evaluate a social marketing strategy. For more information please contact Dr. Dharma Cortés.

Para un Futuro Mejor: feasibility of a Photovoice Approach to Increase Latino Parent-Child Communication about Sexuality: funded by the National Institutes of Health/NICHHD, this study tests the feasibility of the dual-role of photovoice as a data collection and intervention method to promote Latino parent-child communication about sexuality. For more information contact Dr. María Idalí Torres or Dr. Aline Gubrium. You can read the following relevant publication: Gubrium, Aline C., and M. I. Torres. 2011. “S-T-R-8 up” Latinas: Affirming an alternative sexual identity. American Journal of Sexuality Education 6(3) (July): 281-305.

Promoting Utilization of Cancer Early Detection Methods among Latinos in Church: A Faith-Based Approach: this is one of five pilot research projects of the U54 Minority Institution/Cancer Center Partnership of UMass Boston and Dana Farber Cancer Institute funded by the National Institute of Health/NCI. It is aimed at developing and testing an organizational-level intervention to disseminate information about cancer screening among Catholic Latinos. For more information contact Dr. María Idalí Torres or Dr. Jennifer D. Allen.

The Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy

Healey Library, 10th Floor
University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125-3393