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Puerto Rico Emigration Reaches Historic Levels

By on February 5, 2017

The Puerto Rico Statistics Institute (SI) described as historic the most recent migratory numbers published Sunday, emphasizing the mass number of Puerto Ricans who emigrated to the United States.

According to the 2015 Migrant Profile, which presents an analysis on that year’s migration movement, Puerto Rico’s emigration wave could surpass the Great Exodus, in which some 500,000 Puerto Ricans departed the island during the 1950s.

One of the most significant findings informs that all of the island’s migration indicators reached historical records during 2015, with 89,000 people moving to the U.S. permanently, 5,000 more than the total reported the previous year. Out of these, 21,000 have some form of post-secondary education, representing a 6% increase from 2014.


“It is the first time that this number nears 90,000 people, thus setting a record emigration total from the beginning of this Survey in 2005,” explained the Institute’s statistics projects manager Alberto Velázquez-Estrada.

The report also noted that Puerto Rico’s youth dominated the emigration wave, with an average age of 28. Teachers and professionals in management and sales stand out among the professionals who fled the island. Specifically, between 1,800 and 4,500 of emigrants were educators.

It is also estimated that some 25,000 people immigrated to Puerto Rico from the United States, which marks an increase of 5,000 people in comparison to 2014. This represents a net migration balance of -64,000 people and 1.8% of the population. Net term refers to the comparison between residents who decide to move to the U.S. and those who arrive to the island.

The 2015 Migrant Profile mentioned that the five states with the highest net migration balance in relation to the island were Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

See also: Puerto Rico tourism industry expecting $197M investment

The SI warned that there is the real possibility that the number of Puerto Ricans departing from the island might have been higher in 2016, since the net passenger movement hasn’t stopped its increase in five years. This, however, doesn’t represent the total number of migrants.

“The passengers’ movement indicates the people who enter and exit strictly through airports; the people may move via plane during a year in several occasions. In fact, passenger movement doesn’t detail if the person left to reside permanently in the district,” the report explains.

The report uses the American Community Survey (ACS) of the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as data of aerial-passenger net movement provided by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), and the Ports Authority.

Read the 2015 Migrant Profile

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