By María T. Padilla
There currently are more than 1 million boricuas in the Sunshine State, more than any other state except New York, according to the latest population numbers from the Center for Puerto Rican Studies in New York.
Given the unprecedented level of migration from Puerto Rico to the states in recent years, it won’t be long before Florida surpasses New York as the state with the highest number of Puerto Ricans.
As of 2014, there were 1 million Puerto Ricans in Florida versus 1.1 million in New York, stated the center in a press release. The statistic is already a year old, which means the Florida number is bound to be higher. The just-released numbers are based on the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, which is an annual population estimate.
I have predicted this moment for a long while – have even given presentations about it around Orlando. Simply stated, Florida has become the favorite migration destination of Puerto Ricans both from the island and other states. It’s the milestone that many have been waiting – although what it ultimately means is still to be determined. (Politically, however, it’s true that Puerto Rican voters are painting the state blue.)
Florida is the place that Puerto Ricans are reinventing themselves after decades of migrating to, or residing in, the north. As an Orlando-based journalist for nearly 20 years, I’ve had a front-row seat to watching this trend unfold.
“In 2014, Florida became the second state with one million Puerto Ricans,” the center stated in a press relealse. “The data released … show a deepening trend for settlement destinations for stateside Puerto Ricans,” the center wrote.
Of course, Florida’s gain is Puerto Rico’s loss, and the data show that the island’s population is barely holding at 3.4 million – flummoxed by a financial crisis and recession that is over nine years old. Other states benefiting from the island out-migration are Texas, Connecticut and Virginia – all three posting increases of better than 10 percent.
Enough talk. Here’s the graphic.