Why More Puerto Ricans Are Living in Mainland U.S. Than in Puerto Rico

Cindy Y. Rodriguez, CNN, March 24, 2014


In 2011 and 2012, about 55,000 residents migrated from the island to the mainland each year, according to the Census Bureau’s Community Survey. The Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics is still collecting data for those who left in 2013, but it estimates the numbers are about the same.

While Puerto Ricans have migrated to the United States for several generations, the number of departures from 2000-2010 marks the largest migration wave, at 300,000, since the 1950s, when close to a half-million migrated to the mainland during the entire decade.

So many residents have left the island over the years that there are a million more Puerto Ricans living in the mainland United States (4.9 million as of 2011) than in Puerto Rico (3.7 million).

Why such a massive population shift in recent years? Mario Marazzi, executive director of the Puerto Rican Institute of Statistics, says it’s mainly because of the 2006 recession that is still punishing the island’s economy.

Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate is above 15%, more than double the 7.3% in the mainland, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Last month, Standard & Poor’s announced it had cut Puerto Rico’s credit rating to junk status as the U.S. commonwealth faces $70 billion in debt, including the debt from its utility companies.


In other words, if you thought Detroit was in trouble, Puerto Rico is much worse mainly for this reason: Unlike Detroit, the island cannot file for bankruptcy court protection. That option is only for municipalities and Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory.

In 2012, a majority rejected the current status and favored statehood as an alternative, hoping that might help alleviate the territory’s economic woes. But the vote was nonbinding and never went anywhere in Washington.


Puerto Rico’s education system spends close to $8,000 annually per student, according to the Department of Education. And while that’s not as high as the United States, which spends an average of $10,000 per student, it’s still a significant loss for Puerto Rico, particularly as it faces a major economic crisis.

Each college-educated Puerto Rican who establishes a career elsewhere is a big loss for the commonwealth, explained Puerto Rican political analyst Jay Fonseca in an interview with CNN en Español.


There’s even an active recruiting process by U.S.-based organizations, like police departments, nurse associations and hospitals, who come to Puerto Rico to search for future employees, Marazzi said.

“They not only recruit the best bilingual candidates but they help diversify the workforce in the United States, of course to their benefit,” said Marazzi.

It’s a seamless process considering all Puerto Ricans, whether born on the island territory or on the mainland, are American citizens.


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  • Or there’s an easy answer:

    Mainland states, especially the kinds PRs move to, have better welfare programs than PR itself.

    • LovelyNordicHeidi

      That’s what I wanted to say!

      Non-Whites like to benefit en masse from our universalist welfare systems.

    • r j p


    • 1stworlder

      They don’t want to live around PRs either.

      • dukem1

        When I was young they used to say the only benefit PRs brought with them was that they gave the Blacks someone to look down on.

    • AndrewInterrupted

      In the Northeast U.S., the Ricans, Dominicans, Haitians, etc. are famous for multiple identities. Because the states are small and clustered together, they welfare hop from state to state using their various identities. That’s why Black and Hispanic employment rates are as high as they are. They already have jobs as fraud artists. So the gummint keeps generating jobs programs for people who aren’t looking for them. They’re content with their Section 8 housing, the state hopping for welfare–they have jobs.

  • sbuffalonative

    For years I had wonder why Puerto Ricans were moving to Buffalo. Certainly NY having generous social benefits was part of the answer. But I always wondered why PRs would leave a tropical paradise to suffer through a north-eastern winter.

    Last week while at the dentist, I overheard a conversation between a white woman and a Puerto Rican man.

    The man said he was happy to live in Buffalo and experience the winters because they were better than the weather in Puerto Rico. He said there were two season; hot and scorching. He said he would never move back and his kids love it in Buffalo. He took them back to visit family and they couldn’t stand the heat.

    One of life’s mysteries has been solved.

    • pcmustgo

      Been to PR twice… the heat isn’t that bad and in the mountains, where men ride on horseback carrying coffee , like in some kind of commercial, it’s nice and cool, like 30 degrees cooler than the coast. The last time I took a vacation to PR, the sun cured me- every negative thought in my brain was gone.

      Surely there’s other reasons.

      • sbuffalonative

        I’ve never been there so I can’t determine any of this for myself.

        But it was funny how he brought it up to someone else. It wasn’t like I asked him why he left or why he left a tropical climate for NE winters.

        Maybe he was just sensitive to heat and this in no way applies to other PRs. But I did find it interesting that he answered a question I didn’t even ask him.

    • leftists are delusional

      Were I a free loader and had the choice of fully paying to air condition a tropical home or have the taxpayer cover the heat in my subsidized home….

    • 1stworlder

      He said there where to many Puerto Ricans there brining the neighborhoods down.

  • IstvanIN

    To think the government decided to flood the nation with a million third world immigrants every year PLUS allow another million per year of illegals when we have our own, built in source of low IQ labor. I hope the traitors are questioned vigorously at their Ceausescu style trial

  • The Puerto Rican Navy could blockade the island to keep its people from leaving, if that’s a problem from their perspective. I sure wouldn’t mind. The US mainland needs no more of these unproductive, parasitical vermin anyway. Oh, wait you say? The Puerto Rican Navy consists of one or two leaky rowboats, you say? Never mind.

    • Anglokraut

      How would the Navy be involved at all? The only practical way to reach the U.S. from PR is to fly; it’s not 90 miles away, like Cuba.

      • bilderbuster

        The US Coast Guard has been leading the flotilla for more than a million Cubans & the US government used to charter airliners to bring the Cubans here during the 1960’s.
        Thanks to the government the Cubans have colonized South Florida & turned it into Northern Cuba.

    • AmeRican*51*Luis Arroyo

      There’s no Puerto Rican Navy. Is there a California,or Floridian navy? NO! ITS THE US NAVY. Genius. You just accused the US navy of having 2 leaky rowboats.

  • dd121

    If you’re here it’s easier to get free stuff.

  • DudeWheresMyCountry?

    Answer: they are White supremists, as all non-Whites are. Ask anyone why the non-Whites leave their homogeneous nations and only come to Western countries? They will all say “for a better life.” A better life that can only happen in a historically White nation, hence they are White supremists. They can only get a better life in White cultures by their own admittance. If they were not White supremists they would all be in Africa, Asia and Mexico.

    • So CAL Snowman

      I agree with you 100% but the correct term is White Supremacist. A White supremist is some dude that sang back up during the Mo-Town days.

      • DudeWheresMyCountry?

        Yes, it was a brain flatulation!

    • Anon

      There is a lot more truth in your statement than you intended. First of all, Puerto Ricans are white. So white you personally absolutely cannot identify a Puerto rican unless he explicitly tells you…and neither can 99% of non-Puerto Ricans. Puerto rico is (was) literally, the whitest nation in this half of the world when it became part of the US. Like all Spanish speaking whites, people from the island are open white supremacists and have attitudes far more extreme than your average American white….attitudes like genocide is the best method to deal with negros. And those of amerind background are subhuman….especially Mexicans.
      The reason most Puerto Ricans have left the island is pretty simple. Abuse of the territory by jackass liberals has resulted in massive influx of illegal aliens. Puerto rico has experienced “white flight”.
      But that is only the more recent issue. The last 100 years, Puerto Ricans have simply intermarried with other white Americans. Roughly half belong to families where only one parent is from the island. Very few of their children speak Spanish or identify as “Puerto rican”. They put “white”, “non-Hispanic” on their census forms.
      And wonder why people call those from the Dominican republic and Haiti, “Puerto Rican”.

      • Tim_in_Indiana

        First of all, Puerto Ricans are white. So white you personally absolutely cannot identify a Puerto rican unless he explicitly tells you…and neither can 99% of non-Puerto Ricans.

        Really? I did a Google image search for “Puerto Rican” and most of them look anything but white to me.

        • bilderbuster

          They aren’t White!
          They don’t look White!
          They don’t claim to be White & they don’t like Whites!

          • Hunter Morrow

            Jews, right?

            Jared Taylor needs a pair of glasses.

      • DudeWheresMyCountry?

        You are wrong. I have been to PR and it isn’t White. You probably think Mexico and Morocco are White too. Ask any New Yorker if hey can spot a Puerto Rican and they will do it from a mile away.

        • One of the US Marshals assigned to Denver when I was locked up there was Puerto Rican, and he sure didn’t look white. Unfortunately, he also didn’t drive white. Even the other US Marshals couldn’t stand driving with Eddie on prisoner transport runs.

      • AndrewInterrupted

        You obviously haven’t spent much time around Puerto Ricans.
        I will never need Puerto Ricans to tell me they’re Puerto Ricans.

      • iberianpride

        I’ve met some Puerto Ricans from the Island, who were clearly White, but they are in the minority. Most of the ones in the US are racially mixed, and can be spotted pretty easily.

  • Zaporizhian Sich

    They are just another bunch of free loaders and invaders, nothing more. And their crime and violence merely adds to the ever growing danger to the rights, freedoms and lives of white Americans.

  • Jesse James

    We sure have been paying for this production of “West Side Story” for an awful long time.

    • Laura Dilworth


  • Anglokraut

    If one were to destroy Lorain, Ohio, one would eliminate at least 50,000 PRs right there. They have been coming to Lorain for thirty years now; I even remember going to one of the city libraries, and overhearing a librarian giving a tutorial class on how to use the library, and asked if anyone spoke a language other than English when at home. I was puzzled, as one might expect an eight year old to be: why would someone in America not speak English at home? I was also puzzled that the library needed a tutorial class–was the aisle after aisle of books NOT a clue that people came here to read and learn?

    • Tarczan

      Lorain and Elyria pretty much wiped out.

      • Anglokraut

        Elyria has been dead for decades; if there was an adjacent city that wasn’t also in the toilet, that dump would be rezoned and partitioned, like Yugoslavia or India.
        I remember when the chemical plant in Elyria blew up. I lived in Amherst at the time, and my classmates and I were all laughing about how the only way Elyria would ever NOT be a dump would be to blow it up. Even in junior high, we knew why it was a disaster.

        • Martel

          It would be interesting to see how the local economy changed as demographics changed, in Elyria that is.

      • dukem1

        Hah! I’m from Lakewood. You wanna see a place that’s been disappeared?
        Take a stroll along Madison Ave.

        • Anglokraut

          How did Lakewood implode? Did the gays leave? That’s what Lakewood was known for when I lived on the west side.

  • Most of the other “territories” which the US gained after the Spanish-American war have since gained their independence–why not Puerto Rico? I say give them their independence whether they want it or not. And then send their countrymen home where they belong.

    • Guam’s location makes it a valuable military outpost. It and the Marianas also secure us a huge 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone for fishing rights, but I can’t imagine what use Puerto Rico is.

  • MBlanc46

    Well, of course, who wouldn’t get the hell out of PR if they could. It’s our fault for just opening the gates to them.

  • Secret Person

    They’re leaving because PR is a huge welfare state with a high crime rate and corruption. There are massive amounts of SS disability fraud. Educational levels are low. It’s a typical Latin American type of economy and culture. Even the left leaning Economist did an article about PR and its huge problems – very unflattering. PR is a foreshadowing of what will happen to the US if hispanics are a majority.

    • AmeRican*51*Luis Arroyo

      Then stop buying multiple dogs,and have your 3 children per household instead. Anglos refuse to have normal number of kids.yet cry about being overtaken.

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    “In other words, if you thought Detroit was in trouble, Puerto Rico is much worse”

    In other words, another failed non-white society.

    • AmeRican*51*Luis Arroyo

      The majority of Mainland Puerto Ricans were non white (Quadroons/ near whites) until recently. Their 40% Intermarriage rate to white Americans is “whitening” the next generation.
      You should be “happy” about this “racial assimilation”!
      Puerto Rico proper is 80% Spaniard with heavy French,Corsican Italian,German,Jewish,Irish Admuxture. Last time I checked, that was white.

  • bilderbuster

    NeoCon Newtie Gingrich is still lobbying to make PR the 51st state.

    • The idiot probably thinks that they will elect Republicans to congress.

      • AmeRican*51*Luis Arroyo

        They just had a conservative Republican Governor,Luis Fortuño Burset.

  • benvad

    They got to let that place become independent and let them fend for themselves.

    • Raul Jimenez

      That is like saying the same for the Democrat Plantation USA.

    • AmeRican*51*Luis Arroyo

      We should cut Conservative and Liberal states loose as well then….LET THEM FEND FOR THEMSELVES! After all, the American citizenship of Puerto Ricans means nothing to you….therefore I dont care about yours either!

      • benvad

        I would just level your island but first I’d make sure it was repatriated with all the diaspora from Florida and The Bronx.

  • A lot of North Koreans do escape to China, even though the DPRK army shoots escapees it catches. These defectors usually then travel from China to South Korea.

    The largest population of ethnic Japanese outside Japan is not in the USA, but is in Brazil. India has built a huge security fence along its border with Bangladesh, in order to keep illegal aliens out. South Africa has a large problem with illegal aliens from nearby black countries, and did even under apartheid (!). Huge numbers of Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Filipinos work in Saudi Arabia. It’s easy to understand Pakistanis and Bangladeshis doing this, because they are also Muslim, but most Indians are Hindu and most Filipinos are Catholic. Lots of Filipinos go to Japan to work. Malaysia has a considerable problem with illegal aliens from Indonesia. There are 250,000 Thais living in Laos and Malaysia, and about 150,000 Vietnamese in Taiwan. Both Indonesia and Malaysia have large Chinese minorities.