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Demographic and Neighborhood Change Research Group

The demographic profile of the Puerto Ricans in the United States has changed greatly over the last 30 years. The original wave of migrants to New York City and the Northeast are by now retired, with many moving back to the island, Florida or other areas. Workers of all ages move back and forth, to and from the island searching for jobs. Similarly, the compositions of neighborhoods where Puerto Ricans reside have experienced tremendous transformations. When Centro was founded, Latinos constituted less than five percent of the total population, and Puerto Ricans and Cubans were the second and third largest national groups among Latinos. African-Americans represented more than twice the size of the Latino population, with an eleven percent share of the total. Today, though Puerto Ricans are still the largest origin group among Latinos New York City, Latinos have become the largest ethnic minority group in the country. With over fifteen percent of the total population in the country, Latinos together with other groups now represents about one third of the total population. The political, economic, cultural, and social implications of these broad demographic changes are tremendous and not well understood at the moment.   The main task of the The Demographic and Neighborhood-Change Research Group is the re-conceptualizing of a research agenda focusing on questions pertaining to the changing composition and geographical distribution of the Puerto Rican population. Some of the proposed research questions for examination include:  
  • Which Puerto Rican communities in New York City are growing, which are declining? In what way do census tracts and political districts interact with these communities? How have these communities changed due to the arrival of Latino groups, such as Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and Mexicans?
  • Where are Puerto Ricans going in New York or the U.S.? Where are Puerto Ricans 65 and over going in New York City and other U.S. locations?
  • What unit of geography do we use for studies? How do we define neighborhoods, and how sensitive are results to various definitions?
  • Where are there continued or increasing concentrations of poverty and distress? Where is gentrification occurring?
  Working group participants:   Andrew Luecke (Research Assistant, Centro) Gilbert Marzan (Hostos) Edwin Meléndez (Centro) Judith Pérez (Fordham) René Francisco Poitevin (NYU) Andrés Torres, (Convener, Centro)