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Statistics Institute: Net Migration to US Reaches Record High

By on May 1, 2016

SAN JUAN – In 2014, it is estimated that some 84,000 people emigrated from Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland, and in the opposite direction, about 20,000 people immigrated from the states to the island, resulting in net migration of 64,000 people. The latter figure represents 1.8% of Puerto Rico’s 2014 population and is the highest registered in the past decade.

The data are part of the 2014 Migrant Profile, which looks at Puerto Rico’s migratory movement for calendar year 2014 using the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) data on net movement of air passengers.

Another key finding of the Migrant Profile indicates that when taking into account not only the movement of people to the U.S. mainland, but also to other destinations worldwide, the result is a net balance of minus-83,000 passengers during 2014. For the 12-month period ending October 2015, this figure is estimated to have reached a net minus-97,000 air passengers.

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2015 file photo, travelers walk to their gates at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. Airlines are shifting the timing of thousands of flights, even adding dozens of redeyes, as they try to avoid delays while hauling millions of passengers from now through the Christmas weekend. Success or failure could all depend on the weather.(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

For the 2010-14 period, BTS numbers suggest 263,000 more people left aboard a plane from an airport in Puerto Rico than arrived in the island aboard a plane.

This net figure is higher than the net emigration of 237,000 Puerto Ricans that demographer José L. Vázquez Calzada estimated during the peak of the Great Migration for the 1950-1954 period exactly six decades ago.

Between 2013 and 2014, the profile of the population that emigrated between Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland changed in several ways. The difference in median age between the emigrating and immigrating population of Puerto Rico doubled to 13 years, with emigrants’ younger and of an average 29-years-old.

Meanwhile, the percentage of the emigrating population with some post-secondary education remained at 47%, and this percentage increased by two points, from 46% to 48%, in terms of the immigrant population.

The percentage of emigrants who are not part of the labor force decreased from 52% to 39%.

In addition, the occupational areas with the highest number of emigrants were management, professionals and related occupations, sales, and offices.

The population that emigrated stateside earned more income, for an average 17% more than in 2013.


Statistics Institute Executive Director Mario Marazzi-Santiago

The number of people with some post-secondary education who emigrated from Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland in 2014 surpassed that of people who immigrated from the U.S. mainland to the island with the same educational attainment by 17,000 people.

“In absolute terms, the current migratory wave has surpassed the Great Exodus of the 1950s. If this observation is confirmed, we are experiencing the largest exodus in the history of Puerto Rico, and in the coming years, when the history of the current migratory wave is written, it will be described as the Second Great Migration or Second Great Exodus of Puerto Rico,” Statistics Institute Executive Director Mario Marazzi-Santiago said in a statement Sunday.

The institute is an autonomous public agency tasked with coordinating the compilation, processing and dissemination of government statistical data.

The full report, as well as the related databases are available in the institute’s website:

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