Rising number of Puerto Ricans coming to the mainland
Puerto Ricans are packing up and heading to the mainland at an unprecedented rate, according to new Pew Research Center analyses. In 2014, some 84,000 left the island for the U.S., marking a 38 percent increase since 2010, while the number moving from the mainland to the U.S. territory remains on steady decline.
Pew notes that the country’s population loss is not a new trend, and has been on steady decline since before the recession in 2005. By 2013, there were more Puerto Ricans settled on the mainland (5.1 million) than there were on the island (3.5 million), and Census Bureau expects the country’s population to fall below 3 million by the year 2050.
What’s causing the migration wave? Bad economic conditions.
There isn’t a lot of confidence in the country’s economic future, Pew says. Recent polls found the 89 percent of Puerto Ricans were “dissatified” with the way things were going. Gallop conducted a survey this year in which only six percent said they thought conditions were improving. And with the recent bankruptcy threat in the country, economic faith has become more brittle.
Does this mean more Puerto Ricans are coming to Philadelphia?
It’s hard to paint a conclusive picture with data. But according to local nonprofits involved in the Puerto Rican community, there has been something of a surge in recent years. Joanna Ortero-Cruz, executive director of Concilio, told PhillyVoice in August that the organization had seen many new Puerto Ricans between June 2014 and June 2015.
“I would have to say that I think we are going to be seeing greater numbers trying to relocate,” says Otero-Cruz said. “I’ve been there many, many times, [but this time] I spoke with locals folks who said, ‘I want a better life for my kids and if I’m not going to have it here, I need to move.’ These are people who have said to me in the past they would never move to the United States.”