Puerto Rico’s population increased by 340 people (0.0%) between 2018 and 2019 after several years of annual population decline, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s national and state population estimates.
The most recent annual population estimates for Puerto Rico confirmed the number of local residents at 3,193,694 as of July 1, 2019.
This slight increase is due to total net migration, which was positive for the first time in years (7,733) and large enough to offset the natural decrease (-7,393), the agency confirmed.
“Though migration between 2018 and 2019 was large enough to increase the population this year, Puerto Rico’s population remains below where it was at the start of the decade,” said Sandra Johnson, a demographer/statistician in the Population Division of the Census Bureau.
The statistics refer to July 1, 2010 to 2019 and include the components of population change, which were considered in the production of resident population estimates.
Annual estimates had reflected a continuous population decline for 15 years since 2005, according to the data provided by the U.S. State Data Center Network Census Bureau in Puerto Rico, represented by the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics.
After considerable population reduction drops during the decade through 2018, which ranged from -1.1% to -3.9% in the post-hurricane year — from 2018-2019 — a slight increase of inhabitants of 0.01% was estimated, according to the data.
From July 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019, there were in Puerto Rico about 21,000 births, 29,000 deaths, a natural population increase of close to 7,000 people, and an estimated net balance of migration of a little less than 8,000 people moving to Puerto Rico than leaving.
“The migratory component continues to be the main player in the change in the size of Puerto Rico’s population,” said Alberto L. Velázquez-Estrada, the Institute’s statistical project manager.
“In the post-hurricane year (2017-2018), when a large flow of people leaving was estimated, the total population decreased at a similar pace,” he said. “In contrast, the new 2018-2019 estimates point to a slight movement of more people moving back to Puerto Rico versus those who left, resulting in a stop of the estimated population decline for more than a decade.”
The new year 2020 brings with it the official population count, Velázquez-Estrada said.
“The success of a good 2020 Census will serve among many purposes, to evaluate and adjust the series of annual estimates of the population in the decade, known as intercensal estimates,” he said.
After the completion of a 10-year Census the U.S. Census Bureau prepares the annual population estimates, which allow estimating the population during the decade before the next Census.
These estimates are prepared by analyzing births, deaths and migration data. As a result, adjustments are made to the previously estimated years with each new publication of the estimates.
For example, with the publication of the 2019 estimates, the previously published numbers for the years 2011-2018 were reviewed. Each publication is distinguished according to the year in which they are produced and are named as vintage, he said.