Puerto Ricans Stampede to the U.S.

Puerto Ricans Stampede to the U.S., according to the Census Population of the island decreases by 2.2% in the last decade
By José A. Delgado | jdelgado@elnuevodia.com
El Nueva Día (December 22, 2010)
translated from Spanish by NiLP

WASHINGTON – Massive emigration to the United States and the reduction in birth rate have caused a drop of 2.2% in the population of Puerto Rico during the last decade, according to the new 2010 federal Census.

On April 1, 2010 Puerto Rico’s population was 3,725,789, or 82,821 less than in April 2000. This is the first time since the Federal Census has been conducted in Puerto Rico that the Puerto Rican population decreased from one decade to another.

Just one another federal jurisdiction, the state of Michigan, which has one of the three highest unemployment rates in the U.S. (12.4%), had a decline in their population during the last decade. The unemployment rate in Puerto Rico was in more than 16% in 2010.

“There is no doubt that in the case of Puerto Rico there has been a major migration pattern,” said Raul Cisneros, spokesman for the Federal Census, after announcing yesterday the first results from Census 2010.

According to the Census, 489.509 people moved from Puerto Rico to the United States between 2000 and 2008. “This does not include the number of people who returned to Puerto Rico during the same period,” said Professor Jorge Duany, an expert at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR).

In terms of the birth rate, statistics from the Department of Health of Puerto Rico in 2000 indicate that 15.6 children were born per 1,000 people. But in 2009, Duany stressed, the rate was 11.6 per 1,000 persons.

“The mortality rate, however, remained stable, around 7.4 deaths per 1,000 people,” said Duany.

The economic hardships of the past five years, the high rate in crime, low wages in comparison with the United States and low entry of foreign immigrants are other factors that may have caused the reduction in the population of the island

For example, data from the Planning Board indicate that between October 2000 and October 2010 Puerto Rico had 46,000 fewer employees (1.094 million), said Sergio Marxuach, an economic researcher for the Center of a New Economy (CNE).

In no other decade has there been as many murders as in the most recent. Since 2000, the total exceeds 8,600.

Foreign migration appears to have declined. Duany said Interior Department data indicate that between 2000 and 2009, 35.063 foreigners were admitted as immigrants in Puerto Rico, almost half of the total between 1990 and 1999.

Over Estimate

The first Federal Census estimates made between 2005 and 2009 overestimated the total number of residents of the Island.

Last week, preliminary calculations of the Puerto Rico Community Service placed the population of Puerto Rico at 3.94 million, about 200,000 more than the more accurate analysis presented yesterday from the 2010 Census.

The most recent estimate of the total of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. by the American Community Survey Federal Census was 4.16 million. The count of this population will be announced officially in February 2011, when announcing the next data release from the 2010 Census.

9.7% Increase in the U.S.

In the U.S., the population had an increase of 9.7%. Of the 281.4 million it had in 2000, now the total is estimated at 308.7 million (308,745, 538). In this release of the population count, the Federal Census does not include residents of Puerto Rico.

According to Cisneros, 53% of the residents of Puerto Rico completed and returned the federal census by mail, a 2% increase compared to 2000. Census officials competed the collection of this information through house to house visits. In the U.S., the mail delivery rate was 74%, virtually the same percentage of a decade ago.

The 2010 Census data determine redistricting in the United States and the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives.

Having had an increase of almost three million people, Florida, home to about 725,000 people of Puerto Rican origin, will gain two seats before the 2012 election. This will also represent an increase of votes in the U.S. Electoral College, through which the U.S. President is elected.

New York, home to more than a million Puerto Ricans, will lose two seats in the Federal lower house and two U.S. Electoral College votes.

Most of the states that gained seats and representation in the Electoral College voted in 2008 for Republican John McCain.

Leave a Reply