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Meet Our Staff: Research Assistant Juan Carlos Garcia-Ellin


Where Puerto Ricans and Hispanics choose to live in the United States is of great interest to Dr. Juan Carlos Garcia-Ellin, Centro’s new research assistant. His current work at Centro focuses on the internal migration patterns of mainland Puerto Ricans, analyzing their characteristics and relocation preferences.

He just loves geography, and as a graduate of the Department of Geography at UCLA, earned a PhD in December, 2012 with a dissertation on the migration patterns of all Hispanics sub-groups in this country. His research confirmed that Hispanics are not one monolithic group and that the migration patterns of different Hispanic sub-groups vary substantially.

Garcia-Ellin earned a master’s degree in geography at Binghamton University (SUNY). His master’s thesis analyzed the socioeconomic conditions of Hispanics living in urban areas around the U.S. The research compared how those areas with high concentrations of Hispanic residents had living conditions that were more difficult than other areas.

His latest research was published in the Southeastern Geographer. His paper titled “Gated Communities and Housing Projects: the Control of Public Space in San Juan” analyzed how crime control policies affected access to public spaces. A lot of his research has focused on topics such as ethnic diversity within the Hispanic domestic migration to Florida; the effects on the educational attainment of Hispanics in California due to domestic migration to and from the state; and analyses of areas of Hispanic concentration in the United States. His research has been presented at various conferences including the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, the Race/Ethnicity and Place Conference and the Applied Geography Conference.

In addition to his work as a researcher, Garcia-Ellin is a lawyer. He is a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, School of Law, where he earned the degree of Juris Doctor. He was admitted to the Puerto Rico Bar in 1997. He earned his bachelors’ degree in geography from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, where he graduated cum laude.

On his spare time, he enjoys traveling, particularly to Puerto Rico, reading about popular music and sports, and brewing his own beer.