The Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics on Sunday released data confirming that 89,000 people emigrated from Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland in 2015, a year when all migratory indicators reached new levels.
Citing the U.S. Census’ “2015 Migrant Profile,” the local entity said as it is going, the current migratory wave will be greater than the “Great Exodus” from 1945-1960, when an estimated 500,000 Puerto Ricans left the island.
“According to the Community Survey of Puerto Rico and the United States, the number of people who emigrated from Puerto Rico to the United States during 2015 was estimated at 89,000 people, 5,000 people more than the previous year 2014,” said Alberto L. Velázquez-Estrada, manager of statistical projects at the Statistics Institute.
“It is the first time this figure is closer to 90,000 people, marking a record figure of emigration since the start of this survey in 2005,” he said.
However, without losing perspective that the migratory wave of the 1950s represented a greater proportion of the island’s total population at the time, the current immigration wave shows no signs of abating, the local agency stated.
“On the other hand, the number of people who immigrated during 2015 from the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rico was estimated at 25,000, indicating an increase from the 20,000 people who immigrated the prior year,” Velázquez-Estrada said.
“Consequently, the 2015 migration balance between Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland remained similar to 2014 with an estimate of around 64,000 people. The net balance represents about 1.8 percent of the population of Puerto Rico,” he said.
The Statistics Institute based its numbers for the 2015 calendar year on U.S. Census Bureau Community Survey data, as well as net air passenger movement numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) and the Puerto Rico Ports Authority.
The findings also showed that:
- 64,000 people emigrated from Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland in net terms (Community Survey);
- 21,000 people emigrated from Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland with some post-secondary education in net terms (Community Survey);
- 93,000 passengers left Puerto Rico to all destinations in net terms, according to BTS and Ports Authority data.
In the 10-year period between 2006 and 2015, it is estimated that on a net basis:
- 445,000 people emigrated from Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland (Community Survey);
- 534,000 passengers left Puerto Rico to all destinations (BTS);
- 657,000 passengers left Puerto Rico to all destinations (Ports Authority.)
In 2015, the five states that had the highest net migration balance in relation to Puerto Rico were Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Connecticut.
Furthermore, between 2014 and 2015, the profile of the population that migrated between Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland changed in several ways:
- The difference in median age between Puerto Rico’s migrant and immigrant population was significantly reduced to about two years, with the younger immigrants having a median age of 28.8 years and immigrants 30.4 years.
- The percent of the immigrant population with some post-secondary education showed an increase of 6 percentage points from 47 percent to 53 percent; this percentage of people for the immigrant population dropped by 3 percentage points from 48 percent to 45 percent.
- The percent of migrants who are outside the labor force (after migrating) increased by 2 percentage points between 2014 (39 percent) and 2015 (41 percent) and immigrants decreased 8 percentage points from 58 percent to 50 percent.
- The median income of Puerto Rico’s immigrant population to the U.S. mainland increased by 7 percent between 2014 and 2015; while the median income of immigrants recorded a decrease of 4 percent.
The study also confirmed that in 2015, 43 percent of immigrants and 40 percent of emigrants were living in poverty. The occupational area with the highest number of emigrants was in management, professional and related occupations, followed by sales and offices. Between 1,800 and 4,500 migrants were teachers.