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Study: Puerto Rican stateside population grew by 100,000 in 2017

By on October 16, 2018

SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rican population stateside grew from 5.4 million in 2016 to 5.5 million in 2017, a study released by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College found.

Florida has become the state with the largest number of Puerto Ricans, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. The influx to the state is attributed to migration from Puerto Rico, from other states and natural growth.

“Data from the Census’ 2017 American Community Survey also showed Puerto Ricans (2.5%) and Latinos overall (2.5%) were among the fastest growing population groups in the United States, compared to non-Hispanic blacks (1%), and the total U.S. population (0.8%),” reads a data sheet published by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies.

Latinos now account for more than half of total stateside population growth. Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, the population, excluding non-Puerto Ricans, continued to decline from 2016 to 2017.

In that one-year period, Puerto Rico had a net loss of about 74,000 residents, or a population decline of 2.2 percent. Of these, 62,000 (-1.9%) were of Puerto Rican origin or descent.

“These figures suggest that the population decline of the island involves both Puerto Rican and non-Puerto Rican residents, with non-Puerto Ricans representing a slightly larger proportion of the loss. In contrast to the Puerto Rican population in Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rican population in the U.S. added 138,192 new statewide residents. Overall, Puerto Ricans in the U.S. continue to grow and disperse throughout the country, especially in the nation’s South, West, and Midwest regions,” the center wrote.

Florida (+60,478) had the largest increase of Puerto Ricans, followed by New York (+32,013), Massachusetts (+15,917), North Carolina (+11,557), and California (+10,245). Meanwhile, Illinois (-14,592) experienced the largest decline followed by Texas (-11,817), Virginia (-6,722), Connecticut (-6,642), and Hawaii (-5,389).

The growth of the Puerto Rican population in the U.S. in 2017, the center found, was partly the result of heightened migration. The 2017 American Community Survey, reports that 97,488 migrants from Puerto Rico relocated throughout the U.S. and 20,167 returned to Puerto Rico for a net emigration of 77,321 people.

“This is an increase from prior years when net migration from Puerto Rico reached an average of 65,000 people. The 2017 ACS population estimates include households surveyed from January to December of 2017. This includes a representative sample of the population in Puerto Rico collected after September 2017 when Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico and induced a massive emigration from the Island.

“Yet, according to the U.S. Census survey protocols, evacuees from Puerto Rico would only be counted as emigrants in the survey if they had arrived in the United States prior to the hurricane’s landfall or planned to stay in the United States for two or more months. Therefore, population and migration figures reported here are likely to underestimate actual changes in residence between Puerto Rico and the United States in 2017, and by implication total population and migration estimates,” the center stressed.

At least 74 percent of migrants from Puerto Rico relocated to 10 states. The remaining 26 percent dispersed throughout the U.S.

The top 10 receiving states were Florida at 29 percent (28,538) followed by 8 percent in Pennsylvania (7,783), 7 percent in Massachusetts (6,748), 6 percent in New York (5,910), 5 percent in Texas (5,105), 4 percent in New Jersey (4,195), 4 percent in Connecticut (3,780), 4 percent in Ohio (3,765), 3 percent in Georgia (3,345), and 3 percent in North Carolina (3,011).

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