Colloquially, the term is also incorrectly applied to people whose ancestry stems from Portuguese-speaking countries. Such use of the term "Portuguese American" is employed as a synonym to Luso American. Accurately, a Portuguese American denotes any person born in the United States whose family came to the USA from Portugal. Americans and others who are not Europeans from Portugal but originate from countries that were former colonies of Portugal are codified as Lusitanic, or are simply referred to by their present-day nationalities: Cape Verdean, Brazilian, etc.
In the late 19th century, many Portuguese, mainly Azorean and Madeiran, immigrated to the United States, establishing in cities like East Providence, Rhode Island, Bristol, Rhode Island, Providence, Rhode Island, Peabody, Massachusetts, Somerville, Massachusetts, New Bedford, Massachusetts, Hudson, Massachusetts, Taunton, Massachusetts, Fall River, Massachusetts, East Cambridge, Massachusetts, Gloucester, Massachusetts, Newark, New Jersey, Jacksonville, Illinois, Modesto, California and Tulare, California. Many of them also moved to Hawaii during pre-U.S. times.
In the mid-late 20th century there was another surge of Portuguese immigration in America, mainly in the Northeast (New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts). There are various Portuguese Clubs, principally in the larger cities of these states. Many Portuguese Americans may include descendants of Portuguese settlers born in Africa (like Angola, Cape Verde, and Mozambique) and Asia (mostly Macau). There were around 1 million Portuguese Americans in the United States by the year 2000.
There is a much higher percentage of Portuguese in neighbouring Canada (though not a larger total number), also mostly from the islands, concentrated around large communities in Toronto, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec but now spread throughout the country all the way to Birtish Columbia including northern areas of the country. Most of this was sponsored immigration to fill the labour shortages from the 1950s to the 1970s and new immigrants generally had stronger community links developed than in the US. Some of their surnames have been changed like: Rodrigues to Rogers, Oliveira to Oliver, Silva to Silver, and Pereira to Perry.
Portuguese-American studies has recently become an emerging academic field, with research centers such as the one at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. The UMass-Dartmouth curriculum offers numerous courses in Portuguese-American literature and culture, and the campus also serves as home to the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives. The UMD Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture publishes works of Portuguese-American literature and related academic research through its "Portuguese in the Americas" series.
(1) Metro Boston area leads the way with 192,017 Portuguese-Americans; (3.3% of Metro population).
(2) Greater New York/New Jersey area with 129,865; (0.6% of total Metro population).
(3) San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area with 121,757; (1.7% of total Metro population).
The states with the top percentages of Portuguese: