Concord is growing more diverse over time. Refugee resettlement has played a big role

  • Scenes from the Concord Multicultural Festival in downtown Concord on Saturday, June 24, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) ELIZABETH FRANTZ

Monitor staff
Published: 9/16/2023 9:09:48 PM

Although Concord, like the state around it, remains overwhelmingly white, it has become much more diverse racially and ethnically since the turn of the millennium.

In the 2000 Census, for example, just 1.2% of city residents identified as being Black alone, meaning not in combination with any other race. By the 2020 Census that figure had more than tripled to 3.8%.

The percentages for people who checked the “Asian alone” box on census forms are similar: in 2000 1.4% of residents so identified while in 2020, 4% did.

And the percentage of city residents who identified as being of two or more races also roughly tripled, to 5.2% in 2020. Other races categorized by the Census Bureau such as American Indian or Pacific Islander made up much smaller amounts.

As for the ethnic category of Hispanic or Latino, which can include people of any race, that increased from 1.4% of the city in 2000 to 3.1% in 2020.

These changes over time may not be exact because the Census Bureau changed the way it asked for racial and ethnic comparisons in the 2020 census, but they indicate the growing diversity in the state’s capital city.

One of many factors in the change has been Concord’s status as a refugee resettlement city. In the past seven years, 771 refugees have come to Concord, twice the number that arrived in Nashua, a city twice the size, and almost as many as Manchester, which is nearly triple the size. Resettlement of refugees has included people of multiple races and ethnicities.

Concord, with about 44,000 residents, remains, of course, overwhelmingly white even though the percentage of people identifying as “white alone” has fallen about 5 percentage points during each of the last two decades: from 95% in 2000 to 90% in 2010 to 86% in 2020, according to the decennial census.

Within the Capital City, as within most cities, the level of diversity can range widely. The 2020 census, for example, found that the section of Concord including the area known as The Heights was virtually the state’s most racially diverse neighborhood, with just 66% of residents identifying as “white only.” By contrast, Concord’s northwest corner bordering Webster and Hopkinton was 92% white.

Compared to New Hampshire as a whole, Concord has fewer Hispanics – the 2020 statewide figure is 4.3% – but a larger percentage of Black and Asian residents. New Hampshire’s statewide proportion of people who are Black is almost the lowest in the country, at 1.35%.

The decennial census divided New Hampshire into more than 1,000 sections known as census tracks, roughly equivalent to neighborhoods. In only one of those was the “white only” population a minority: Census tract 15 in downtown Manchester, comprising a score of blocks north of Valley Street, was 48.6% “white only” in 2020.

Editor’s note: All this week, the Monitor will publish a series of profiles to highlight Concord’s growing community diversity in advance of the city’s Multicultural Festival, held Sunday, Sept. 24 at Keach Park from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.


David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog granitegeek.org, as well as moderator of Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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