In the Garden: The State of Puerto Ricans in New Jersey

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By Centro Staff

In the last few months, we’ve taken notice of the shifting demographics within the diaspora. As you may already know, Florida officially joined New York as the second state with a Puerto Rican population over one million. But after celebrating this historical moment, we decided to take another look at the original million as well.  And now, this process brings us to New Jersey, the state with the third largest population of Puerto Ricans in the United States. Here are some of the highlights:

One million is the kind of number that can certainly grab your attention, but nearly half-of-a-million isn’t anything to scoff at either. That’s the amount of Puerto Ricans in New Jersey recorded in 2014. It represents 5.24% of the total population of the state. 


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Throw in the rest of the Latino population of New Jersey and that number becomes 1 in 5, almost two million. Puerto Ricans, at 27.08%, just happen to be the majority among this growing Latino population. 

And the most striking characteristic of New Jersey Puerto Ricans? They make it rain: higher earnings, higher median household income, and higher per capita income than both stateside and island Puerto Ricans.


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These indicators, along with a higher employment rate and lower unemployment, are most likely fueling the growth in population.

This growth in population may also signal a potential shift in the age demographic, but for now, New Jersey Puerto Ricans are a little bit older than their stateside counterparts with a median age of 29.9, though still much younger than Puerto Ricans on the island. 

English-language skills are about what you might expect: 1/3 of New Jersey Puerto Ricans speak only English at home, while 2/3 speak another language. 

However, there is one bizarre statistic, more so for its lack of correlation: New Jersey Puerto Ricans graduate from high school at a noticeably higher rate than stateside and island Puerto Ricans, yet this doesn’t translate to higher education. 

Puerto Rican Educational Attainment: 25 years and over


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So there you have it. New Jersey Puerto Ricans are an excellent example of a  thriving and growing community within the diaspora. To read the full data brief prepared by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies click here.


© Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Published in Centro Voices on 20 November 2015.

Centro Voices (ISSN: 2379-3864).
The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of Centro Voices, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies or Hunter College, CUNY.