Dueling numbers on Puerto Rican migration since the hurricanes hit have generated questions about the actual numbers who have landed in Florida.
Puerto Rican evacuees in Florida have surpassed the 200,000 mark, according to Gov. Rick Scott’s office in a press release dated November 29 that cites the number of arrivees since October 3. But the figures beg for more scrutiny and explanation of – not because things are markedly better in Puerto Rico. They are not. Electric power is still an on-and-off thing, as is water, and many schools remain closed. Not because it’s impossible for so many people to have left on a jet plane. It is not.
In fact, the Puerto Rican migration hit historic highs even before the twin hurricanes of Irma and María set the island back 30 years, with about 500,000 leaving since the Great Recession, according to the Center for Puerto Rican Studies in New York.
The migration numbers require closer inspection because they seem impossibly high. While it is true the Florida is seeing an influx of Puerto Ricans post Hurricane María, is it likely that over 200,000 Puerto Ricans have moved to Florida in just two months? The state estimates do not compute with other forecasts, such as by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies.
Of course, “real” numbers won’t be available until the census counts head by head, nose by nose, an exercise that is over two years away. Let’s do some adding and subtracting for argument’s sake.