It’s Official: One Million Puerto Ricans in Florida! And The South Keeps Growing

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By Centro Staff

According to the American Community Survey (ACS) data for 2014 released on September 17, 2015, Florida became the second state behind New York to exceed a population of one million Puerto Ricans; a landmark in Puerto Rican history.

New data released by the ACS shows that Puerto Ricans in the United States are growing at a faster rate than the population of the United States as a whole and much faster than the non-Hispanic white population. According to the estimates, in 2014, the stateside Puerto Rican population grew from 5.14 million to 5.27 million—an increase of over 128,000 people. This represented a rate of population growth of 2.5 percent, a slight decline from the 3.37 rate of the prior year. The 2.5 percent rate was three times that of the U.S. population as a whole of 0.86 percent. The population for Puerto Ricans also grew slightly faster than for Hispanics/Latinos as a whole, which grew 2.38 percent over the same period.

The data released by the American Community Survey shows a deepening trend for settlement destinations for stateside Puerto Ricans. In 2014, Florida became the second state with one million Puerto Ricans. The number of Puerto Ricans residing in Florida reached an estimated 1,006,542 residents. In addition to Florida, there has been a continued dispersion of Puerto Ricans throughout the United States. Beyond Florida, the Puerto Rican population in both Texas (16 percent share of total Puerto Rican population growth) and the New South (Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Maryland for a total share of 19 percent) continue to grow. However, 2014 also showed growth in traditional destinations such as Massachusetts (19 percent share) and Connecticut (25 percent share). These trends have been observed since 2000, and are now becoming sustained. Overall, states where the Puerto Rican population has grown at rates that exceed the national average for Puerto Ricans as a whole are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois, Texas, Ohio and all states in the New South.


In contrast to the stateside population growth, the American Community Survey also shows an ongoing decline in the Puerto Rican population residing on the island, which stands at 3,404,122 in 2014, also a trend that verges on becoming sustained. Since, according to Census Bureau data published by the Instituto de Estadísticas de Puerto Rico, the estimated net flow of migrants reached 64,000. Most of the decline in population in Puerto Rico is attributed to migration from the island.

Essays that analyze the consequences of these demographic shifts—both away from the island, and to new population centers within the United States—are featured in the Centro publication Puerto Ricans at the Dawn of the New Millennium, co-edited by Centro Director Edwin Meléndez and Centro Researcher Carlos Vargas-Ramos. To buy a copy of Puerto Ricans at the Dawn of the New Millennium visit the Centro Store. To learn more about Centro’s research click here.

© Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Published in Centro Voices on 25 September 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.