“The big story in Massachusetts in the last 10 years is the increase in the foreign-born population,” said Len Albright, an assistant professor of sociology and public policy at Northeastern University. Without immigrants, the state’s population would have fallen over the past decade, he said.

Boston’s population in 1990 was about 20 percent foreign born; now it is 27 percent, according to the census numbers.

Most of Massachusetts’ recent immigrants came from Latin America and Asia, with Brazil, China, and the Dominican Republic topping the list, according to a report released last month by the Immigrant Learning Center, a nonprofit that runs classes for immigrants and does research.

The kinds of jobs the immigrants took varied widely, as did their incomes, said the report’s authors, Professor Alan Clayton-Mathews of Northeastern University and Professor Paul Watanabe, director of the Institute of Asian American Studies at UMass Boston.