More Puerto Ricans live in U.S. states than in Puerto Rico
A majority of the 4.1 million people calling themselves Puerto Ricans were born outside of the island as well, but they identify themselves with the culture of the U.S. territory that currently functions as a commonwealth.
The largest concentrations of Puerto Ricans in the mainland are in New York (26 percent), Florida (18 percent), New Jersey (10 percent) and Pennsylvania (8 percent). About 220,000 Puerto Ricans reside in the Metro Orlando area, making up the majority of the local Hispanic population.
The Pew analysis, “Puerto Ricans in the United States, 2007,” is a compilation of U.S. Census Bureau data from the estimates found in the American Community Survey.
Angelo Falcón, a Puerto Rican activist who is president of the National Institute for Latino Policy in New York City, had studied Puerto Rican settlement patterns earlier this decade and had predicted the stateside population would surpass the island’s.
He said the community’s growth in the mainland will have an impact that shouldn’t be ignored.
“The growth of the Puerto Rican community in the U.S. will give us more influence. We already have three members of Congress that have a vote, while Puerto Rico has a member in Congress with no vote,” Falcón said. “The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor —who is a New Yorker of Puerto Rican heritage— to the Supreme Court shows the potential we have as a community.”
Some other highlights from the fact sheet:
* Puerto Ricans are the second-largest Hispanic population in the United States, making up 9.1 percent of all Latinos.
* Puerto Ricans have a national median age of 29, younger than the national average of 36, but older by Hispanic standards.
* Most Puerto Ricans have a high school diploma and 971,000 have college degrees, but their educational attainment and incomes are proportionately lower than the average for the U.S. population.
* 2.5 million Puerto Ricans report that they do not speak English at home, but 1.8 million of those say they can speak English very well. Another 1.2 million say they only speak English at home.
“This growth will continue,” said Emilio Pérez, president of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida. “We in the chamber believe that our community’s progress beyond numbers will come with the generation of Puerto Ricans who are growing here and getting an education here and we have to look at it as a long-term objective to help that younger generation create wealth opportunities.”
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