A recent poll among Puerto Ricans living in the states asked about the benefits of statehood. What benefits did the respondents see to becoming a state?

Equal federal funding was the top answer. Puerto Rico routinely receives less in federal funding than states do — and much less than the Island would receive if it were a state.

22% of the respondents specifically mentioned federal funding, and another 15% mentioned federal benefits.

What benefits do states get?

Puerto Rico gets some of the same benefits that states do, but in smaller amounts. In some cases, benefits are not paid to residents of Puerto Rico at all. For example, workers in Puerto Rico pay Social Security taxes just like workers in the states, but cannot receive SSI as stateside Americans do.

This kind of inequality was top of mind for the people surveyed.

Another 11% specifically mentioned funding for recovery from natural disasters, another area in which Puerto Rico is treated differently from the states.

Voting rights

10% of respondents named voting rights as a reason to prefer statehood for Puerto Rico, while 11% mentioned being able to vote for president.

U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico cannot vote in presidential elections.

Why Can’t Puerto Rico Vote for President?

Other benefits

4% of the respondents said equality or equal rights would be the most important benefit. This answer is actually one of the most frequent reasons to choose statehood when we ask people living in Puerto Rico. Those living in the states may not be as aware of the need for equal rights — because they already have equal rights.

Other answers included

  • lower crime
  • representation in Congress
  • economic growth
  • improved education
  • reduced poverty
  • better infrastructure
  • improved quality of life

10% did not know of any improvements statehood would bring.

Follow up questions

After the open-ended question about the benefits of statehood, the interviewers named benefits and asked how important those benefits are.

  • 87% said benefits were important.
  • 88% said being able to vote in presidential elections was important.
  • 90% considered improved disaster response important.
  • Congressional representation was important to 88%.
  • 88% also felt that attracting businesses to Puerto Rico was an important benefit of statehood.

The mainland Puerto Rican voters who took part in this survey were generally already aware of the benefits of statehood, and they considered all the named benefits important.

See all the data in the toplines report.

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