Pew Confirms What Boricuas Have Always Known: Puerto Ricans Leaving Island for Mainland in Record Numbers

Aug 12, 2014
11:49 AM

In perhaps one of the most detailed studies about the Puerto Rican population in both the mainland United States and the island of Puerto Rico, researchers at Pew concluded that “Puerto Ricans have left the financially troubled island for the U.S. mainland this decade in their largest numbers since the Great Migration after World War II, citing job-related reasons above all others.”

Researchers also noted:

U.S. Census Bureau data show that 144,000 more people left the island for the mainland than the other way around from mid-2010 to 2013, a larger gap between emigrants and migrants than during the entire decades of the 1970s, 1980s or 1990s. This escalated loss of migrants fueled the island’s first sustained population decline in its history as a U.S. territory, even as the stateside Puerto Rican population grew briskly.

Pew also noted that the current population of mainland Puerto Ricans is about 4.9 million (2012) with the 2013 population on the island at 3.6 million. That 3.6 million figure includes those of Puerto Rican descent living on the island and those who are not of Puerto Rican descent.

The full 40-page report follows:

PEW: ‘Puerto Rican Population Declines on Island, Grows on U.S. Mainland’ via Latino Rebels

Pew also shared the following charts about the study:






Such information confirms information from 2011. It took Pew three years to reach the same conclusions a majority of Puerto Ricans already knew, but still, Pew’s study is an important one.

The Pew team also published an interactive map showing the Puerto Rican population by U.S. county. Here are the top five counties with the largest number of Puerto Ricans:

Bronx County, NY 298,921
Kings County, NY 176,528
Orange County, FL 149,457
Cook County, IL 133,882
Philadelphia County, PA 121,643

Basically, New York City, Orlando, Chicago and Philadelphia. No surprise there.