The Pew Research center reports that there are about 4.9 million people on the mainland who describe themselves as Puerto Rican. This means that the diaspora — the Puerto Ricans living on the mainland — is now larger than the number of people of Puerto Rican heritage living in Puerto Rico.
About one third of these people were born in Puerto Rico, and most of the rest were born in one of the 50 states. The largest populations are in New York and Florida, but there are also significant Puerto Rican communities in Philadelphia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio, and New Jersey, as well as Puerto Ricans living in all regions of the U.S.
At this point, there are more Puerto Ricans living on the mainland than in Puerto Rico.
What is life like for Puerto Ricans living in States?
- 82% speak English very well — a higher percentage than for Hispanics in the U.S. in general.
- 16% of Puerto Ricans over age 25 have a college degree, compared with 13% of all Hispanics in the U.S.
- The median income for Puerto Ricans in the U.S. was about $25,000 in 2011, when the data was most recently collected. The median income in Puerto Rico is $19,429.
Migration to the mainland from Puerto Rico has increased significantly in recent years. Between 2010 and 2013, Puerto Rico lost more people than during the years from 1980 to 2010. The gap between the number moving away and the number moving to Puerto Rico was greater in the period from 2010-2013 than it had been from the 1970s on, and the population of Puerto Rico has been decreasing steadily for the first time since it became a territory of the United States. (All data from the Pew Research Center.)
Economic and job-related reasons are the most common explanations given for leaving Puerto Rico, followed by family reasons. The crime rate has also been identified as a factor by other sources.