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Puerto Ricans in States Have Much Higher Incomes Than Puerto Ricans in Territory

While incomes of residents of the States — including residents of Puerto Rican origin — have grown in recent years, incomes of residents of Puerto Rico have stagnated or decreased, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Overall, “Puerto Rico’s median household income was $19,518 during … 2010 to 2012,” the report notes, “statistically unchanged from 2007 to 2009.”

But incomes dropped in three of the territory’s four largest municipalities.  They remained the same in seven of the ten largest.

This chart show shows the household income, labor force participation rate, and percentage of residents holding at least a bachelor’s degree in two municipalities in Puerto Rico and among Puerto Ricans in two cities in the States:


Although Guaynabo and San Juan both had higher than average household incomes for Puerto Rico, both were significantly lower than the average household incomes in U. S. mainland cities — San Juan’s average household income is about half that of Puerto Ricans in Chicago or Miami.

By comparison, the average household income of the poorest state, Mississippi, is $39,592, far higher than the city with the highest income in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Ricans in Miami were less likely to hold a college degree than those in Puerto Rico, but still were more likely to be employed and earn much more than those living in cities in Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans in Chicago showed labor force participation rates like those of Miami, rather than the much lower rates seen in Puerto Rico.

Caribbean Business, taking data from the same source, reported that the proportion of educated people leaving Puerto Rico continues to increase. The “brain drain” is a source of concern for Puerto Rico, as nearly 4,000 people leave the territory each month, voting for statehood with an airline ticket.

Among the cities listed in the top ten for income are Honolulu, HI, and Anchorage, AK.  The economies of both Alaska and Hawaii developed substantially after they achieved statehood.

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