Saturday, March 22, 2014
In 2011 and 2012, about 55,000 residents migrated from Puerto Rico to the United States each year, according to the Census Bureau's Community Survey
The Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics is still collecting data for those who left in 2013, but it estimates that the numbers are about the same. While Puerto Ricans have migrated to the United States for several generations, the number of departures from 2000-2010 marks the largest migration wave, at 300,000, since the 1950s, when close to a half-million migrated to the mainland during the entire decade. So many residents have left the island over the years that there are a million more Puerto Ricans living in the United States (4.9 million as of 2011) than in Puerto Rico (3.7 million). Puerto Rico's unemployment rate is above 15%, more than double the 7.3% in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Recently, Standard & Poor's announced that it had cut Puerto Rico's credit rating to junk status as the Hispanic island faces $70 billion in debt, including the debt from its utility companies. In an attempt to avoid financial ruin, Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla has signed a bill authorizing the sale of $3.5 million in tax-free general obligation bonds. Even if the auction is successful, the bonds are considered pretty risky. Basic monthly utilities including electricity, heating and water cost about $246 in Puerto Rico as opposed to New York City's $161. Puerto Ricans aren't just moving to New York, where many have typically migrated in the past. They are also moving to Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia - wherever there are jobs.