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Puerto Rican Influence Throughout the Fifty States

Following a wave of migration over the past decade, Puerto Ricans now have a notable presence in nearly every state throughout the country.  Between 2000 and 2010, the Puerto Rican population in the fifty states grew by 300,000 people, and with that growth has come Puerto Rican representation in virtually every state, not just in areas traditionally known as Puerto Rican enclaves. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey data, there are close to 30,000 Puerto Ricans now living in the Pacific Northwest.  That figure is split between Oregon and Washington, with 8,191 Puerto Ricans living in Oregon and 21,496 living in Washington.

Although Puerto Rican populations are larger in the East, there are noteworthy concentrations in the West as well.  California, for example, has a population of 163,873 Puerto Ricans.  In the Southwest, Arizona is home to nearly 32,000 Puerto Ricans, and neighboring New Mexico is home to more than 6,500.  Further north, in Utah there are 6,149 Puerto Ricans, and in Colorado there are 17,978.

The Midwest is also home to sizeable Puerto Rican populations.  Illinois boasts the most considerable population with 170,531 people, while Ohio has the second-largest Puerto Rican population with 85,909 people.  Michigan is also home to a noteworthy 34,073 Puerto Ricans.  Indiana, Missouri, and Minnesota each represent substantial Puerto Rican populations as well, with populations of 28,101, 11,616, and 10,261, respectively.  More than 10,000 Puerto Ricans also live in Kentucky.

Finally, Puerto Ricans have moved beyond the mainland United States.  Over 38,000 Puerto Ricans live in Hawaii, and even Alaska is home to 5,000 Puerto Ricans.  Every Puerto Rican who moves to a State brings with him or her a unique history, culture and view of the world, making the country a smaller, more connected place.  Just as the broader United States has no doubt influenced Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico has influenced the broader United States – even in areas where we may least expect it.


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