Puerto Rican population in the US is set to outnumber the island by 2025

Florida is one of the top states Puerto Ricans move to. Because of this demographic change, it’s possible that in the near future, more Puerto Rican mothers will give birth in Florida than in Puerto Rico. (Image via Shutterstock).

By Mivette Vega

April 16, 2024

According to a recent report by the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics, the Puerto Rican population in the US has been growing steadily since the 2000s.

The Puerto Rican population in the US is on track to surpass the population of Puerto Rico itself as early as this year or 2025.

Puerto Ricans are moving to the mainland at unprecedented rates, driven by a combination of economic, social, and political factors.

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According to a recent report by the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics, the Puerto Rican population in the US has been growing steadily since the 2000s. In 2006, an estimated 4 million Puerto Ricans were living on the mainland. By 2016, that number had grown to 5.5 million, and in 2022, it reached 5.9 million.

At the same time, the population of Puerto Rico has been declining. In 2022, there were an estimated 3.07 million people living on the island, down from 3.5 million in 2010. This decline is due in part to a low birth rate and high emigration rates.

Demographer Raúl Figueroa points out that it is not normal for the Puerto Rican population to be larger in the US than on the island.

“It is not normal that this is happening, that there are more people of one nationality in another country. People can say that the United States is the same country, but for Puerto Rico it’s as if it were another country,” Figueroa told El Nuevo Día.

The exodus of Puerto Ricans has a number of implications for both the island and the US. In Puerto Rico, the population decline is leading to a shortage of workers, a strain on the economy, and a decline in social services. It is also leading to a loss of cultural identity, as fewer young people are growing up on the island.

Puerto Ricans are the fastest-growing Hispanic group on the mainland, and are now the second-largest Hispanic group after Mexicans. This is having a significant impact on the political landscape, as Puerto Rican voters are increasingly becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Florida is one of the top states Puerto Ricans move to.

Because of this demographic change, it’s possible that in the near future, more Puerto Rican mothers will give birth in Florida than in Puerto Rico.

According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2021, Florida reported 13,369 births to mothers of Puerto Rican origin. That year, in Puerto Rico, there were 19,367 births, according to Figueroa.

“If the trend continues, because the birth rate in Puerto Rico is decreasing, and in Florida it is increasing, it will eventually surpass Puerto Rico. When young people of reproductive age leave, instead of having children in Puerto Rico, they are having them in the United States,” Figueroa said.

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After Florida, the other states where there have been the most births to mothers of Puerto Rican origin are New York (9,892), Pennsylvania (7,399), New Jersey (5,851,) and Massachusetts (4,403).

In 2023, Puerto Rico recorded one of the lowest birth rates on record. This places the island among the worst birth rates in the world, ranking just above Macau and South Korea. Another important aspect is that around 30% of the population is 60 years old or older, according to AARP Puerto Rico.

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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