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According to the 2006–08 American Community Survey, New England had a population of 14,265,187, of which 48.7% were male and 51.3% were female. Approximately 22.4% of the population were under 18 years of age; 13.5% were over 65 years of age.
In terms of race and ethnicity, White Americans made up 83.4% of New England's population, of which 77.7% were whites of non-Hispanic origin. Black Americans composed 7.3% of the region's population, of which 6.9% were blacks of non-Hispanic origin. Native Americans made up 0.3% of the population, numbering 37,234. There were just over 500,000 Asian Americans residing in New England at the time of the survey, making up 3.5% of the region's population. There were 158,282 Chinese Americans, constituting 1.1% of the region's total population, and 119,140 Indian Americans (0.8%). Japanese Americans numbered 14,501 (0.1%).
Pacific Islander Americans numbered 4,194, 0.03% of the populace. There were 138 Samoan Americans residing in the region. Multiracial Americans made up 1.8% of New England's population. The largest mixed-race group comprised those of African and European descent; there were 84,143 people of black and white ancestry, making up 0.6% of the population. People of Native American and European American ancestry made up 0.4% of the population, and people of Asian and European heritage 0.3%.
Hispanic and Latino Americans are New England's largest minority, and they are the second-largest group in the region behind non-Hispanic European Americans. Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 7.9% of New England's population, and there were over 1.1 million Hispanic and Latino individuals reported in the survey. Puerto Ricans were the most numerous of the Hispanic and Latino subgroups. Over half a million (507,000) Puerto Ricans live in New England, forming 3.6% of the population. There are also just over 100,000 Mexican Americans. The Dominican population is more than 70,000 (Though other, more recent estimates go as high as 200,000).  Americans of Cuban descent are scant in number; there were roughly 20,000 Cuban Americans in the region. People of other Hispanic and Latino ancestries, for example Salvadoran, Colombian, and Bolivian, formed 3.5% of New England's population, and numbered over 492,000. 
New England's European American population is ethnically diverse. The majority of the Euro-American population is of Irish, Italian, English, French, and German descent. Smaller but significant populations of Poles, French Canadians, and Portuguese people exist as well.
According to the 2006–2008 survey, the top ten largest European ancestries were the following:
- Irish: 21.1% (Over 3 million)
- French and French Canadian: 15.3% 1.5 million
- Italian: 14.4% (Over 2 million)
- English: 13.7% (1.9 million)
- German: 8.2% (1.2 million)
- Polish: 5.6% (Roughly 800,000)
- Portuguese: 3.5% (Over 500,000)
- Scottish: 3.1% (Over 440,000)
- Scotch-Irish: 2.1% (Over 290,000)
- Russian: 1.9% (Over 250,000)
English is, by far, the most common language spoken at home. Approximately 82.7% of all residents (11.1 million people) over the age of five spoke only English at home. Roughly 885,000 people (6.6% of the population) spoke Spanish at home, and roughly 1,023,000 people (7.6% of the population) spoke other Indo-European languages at home. Over 313,000 people (2.3% of the population) spoke an Asian or Pacific Island language at home. Slightly fewer (about 2%) spoke French at home, although this figure is above 20% in northern New England, which borders francophone Québec.  Roughly 99,000 people (0.7% of the population) spoke languages other than these at home.
The vast majority of New England's inhabitants, roughly 12.3 million people or 86% of the population, were born in the U.S. This includes 2.2% of the population (315,000 people) who were born either in Puerto Rico, in a U.S. territory, or abroad to American parents. Altogether, the native population totals roughly 12,630,000 people, or 88.5% of the population. The foreign-born population forms over ten percent (11.5%) of New England's total population. There are roughly 1.6 million foreigners residing in the region. Thirty-five percent of foreigners were born in Latin America, 27.9% were born in Europe, 24.5% were born in Asia, and 6.9% were born in Africa. People born in other parts of North America made up 5.3% of the foreign-born populace. Oceania-born residents formed 0.4% of the foreign population, just over 6,000. Of the 1.6 million foreigners, 47.7% were naturalized citizens of the U.S., and the majority (52.3%) were not U.S. citizens. 
The six states of New England have the lowest birth rate in the U.S. 
In 2005, the total population of New England was 14,239,724 people, roughly a 50% increase from its 1929 population of 9,813,000.  The region's average population density is 221.66 inhabitants/sq mi (85.59/km²), although a great disparity exists between its northern and southern portions. The population density is much greater than that of the U.S. as a whole (79.56/sq mi) or even just the contiguous 48 states (94.48/sq mi).
Three-quarters of the population of New England, and most of the major cities, are in the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Their combined population density is 786.83/sq mi, compared to northern New England's 63.56/sq mi (2000 census). The most populous state is Massachusetts, and the most populous city is Massachusetts' political and cultural capital, Boston.
The coastline is more urban than the western parts of the region, which are typically rural, even in urban states like Massachusetts. This is due mainly to historical factors; the original colonists settled mostly on the coastline of Massachusetts Bay. The only New England state without access to the Atlantic Ocean, Vermont, is also the least urbanized.  After nearly 400 years, the region still maintains, for the most part, its historical population layout.
New England's coast is dotted with urban centers, such as Portland, Portsmouth, Boston, New Bedford, Fall River, Providence, New Haven, Bridgeport, and Stamford, as well as smaller cities such as Newburyport, Gloucester, Biddeford, Bath, Rockland, Newport, Westerly, and the small twin cities of Groton and New London in Connecticut.
Southern New England forms an integral part of the BosWash megalopolis, a conglomeration of urban centers that spans from Boston to Washington, D.C. The region includes three of the four most densely populated states in the U.S.; only New Jersey has a higher population density than the states of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
Greater Boston, which includes parts of southern New Hampshire, has a total population of approximately 4.4 million,  while over half the population of New England falls inside Boston's Combined Statistical Area of over 7.4 million. 
In 2009, two New England states were among the five highest in the U.S. in divorce rates. Maine was second highest with 13.6% of people over the age of 15 divorced; Vermont was fifth with 12.6% divorced.  Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, on the other hand, have below-average divorce rates. Massachusetts is tied with Georgia with the lowest divorce rate in the U.S., at 2.4%. 
The most populous cities are as of the 2010 Census (metropolitan areas in parentheses): 
- Boston, Massachusetts: 617,594 (4,552,402)
- Worcester, Massachusetts: 181,045 (798,552)
- Providence, Rhode Island: 178,042 (1,600,852)
- Springfield, Massachusetts: 153,060 (692,942)
- Bridgeport, Connecticut: 147,629 (916,829)
- New Haven, Connecticut: 131,024 (862,477)
- Stamford, Connecticut: 130,824 (part of Bridgeport's MSA)
- Hartford, Connecticut: 124,775 (1,212,381)
- Waterbury, Connecticut: 110,366 (228,984)
- Manchester, New Hampshire: 109,565 (400,721)
- Lowell, Massachusetts: 106,519 (315,158)
- Cambridge, Massachusetts: 105,162 (part of Greater Boston)
During the 20th century, urban expansion in regions surrounding New York City has become an important economic influence on neighboring Connecticut, parts of which belong to the New York Metropolitan Area. The U.S. Census Bureau groups Fairfield, New Haven and Litchfield counties in western Connecticut together with New York City, and other parts of New York and New Jersey as a combined statistical area. 
The six states of New England ranked within the top thirteen "healthiest states" of the U.S. in 2007.  In 2008, they all placed within the top eleven states. New England also had the largest proportion of its population covered by health insurance. 
For 2006, four states in the region, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, joined 12 others nationwide, where the number of deaths caused by drugs had overtaken traffic fatalities. This was due in part to declining traffic fatalities, and in part to increased deaths caused by prescription drugs. 
Data from 2008 comparing national obesity rates by state, four of the six lowest obesity states were Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island. New Hampshire and Maine had the 15th and 18th lowest obesity rates, making New England the least overweight part of the U.S. 
In 2008, three of New England's states had the least number of uninsured motorists (out of the top five states); Massachusetts – 1%, Maine – 4%, and Vermont – 6%. 
In 2006, Massachusetts adopted health care reform that requires nearly all state residents obtain health insurance,  which served as an important model for the federal 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 
Nursing home care can be expensive in the region. A private room in Connecticut averaged $125,925 annually. A one-bedroom in an assisted living facility averaged $55,137 in Massachusetts. Both are national highs. 
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