These groups are working to bring Puerto Ricans back to the island

The population of Puerto Rico has decreased by 439,915 people over the last 14 years, according to Census Bureau data. Image via Shutterstock.

By Mivette Vega

March 12, 2024

Puerto Rico’s population has decreased because of the exodus of Puerto Ricans in recent years seeking better opportunities on the mainland and historically low birth rates on the island.

In recent months, the local government and private companies in Puerto Rico have launched initiatives to bring Puerto Ricans living in the US back to the island.

The population of Puerto Rico has decreased by 439,915 people over the last 14 years, according to Census Bureau data. The main reasons are the exodus of Puerto Ricans in recent years seeking better opportunities on the mainland and historically low birth rates on the island.

Last month, Sen. Marially González Huertas proposed a bill that would promote virtual job interviews for professionals residing in the US, with the intention of bringing them back to the island with secure work. However, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi vetoed it.

The Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce (PRCC) is also conducting a study that explores what Puerto Ricans living on the mainland would need to move back to the island.

“We are surveying the diaspora that has left Puerto Rico in the last 10 years and those that have returned in the last five. We have decided to address that issue with a possible solution that is bringing the diaspora, particularly those of productive ages,” the PRCC president, Ramón Pérez Blanco, told El Nuevo Día.

Based on the results, which are expected to be ready this month, the PRCC aims to create possible solutions and public policies to drive the return.

Another initiative is the one created by the nonprofit organization ComPRometidos, which aims to retain young talent and attract back Puerto Ricans who have left the island.

To achieve this goal, the organization promotes positive messages about what it means to live in Puerto Rico.

The program began in 2021, presenting employment opportunities in the technology industry and connecting potential Puerto Rican professionals on the island and mainland. Over time it has expanded into the finance, manufacturing and, recently, the construction industry.

The program’s database already has about 4,000 people and has connected about 115 people living on the mainland with jobs on the island.

“We want to have more jobs, we want to invite more companies to be part of this movement, add more industries,” Ana Laura Miranda, El Comeback’s project manager, told El Nuevo Día.

Miranda highlighted the importance of the island’s government creating affordable housing, because the high cost of housing is the biggest challenge that Puerto Ricans are facing in the US.

The Junte Boricua of GFR Media is another initiative by a private company, but unlike the others, its goal is to bring 50,000 Puerto Ricans back to the island, between May 1 and Aug. 31, 2024, but as tourists.

The initiative is expected to have an economic impact of $75 million for the island.

 

RELATED: More than half of babies in Puerto Rico were delivered via cesarean in 2022. Here’s why.

Author

  • Mivette Vega

    Mivette Vega is a seasoned journalist and multimedia reporter whose stories center the Latino community. She is passionate about justice, equality, environmental matters, and animals. She is a Salvadorrican—Salvadorian that grew up in Puerto Rico—that has lived in San Juan, Venice, Italy, and Miami.

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