Puerto Ricans in the United States: A Statistical Profile

The Pew Hispanic Center has for some time been keeping records on people living in Puerto Rico, and on people from Puerto Rico living in the States.  According to the most recent report, Puerto Ricans are the second-largest Hispanic subgroup in the U.S. after Mexicans, constituting 9.5 percent of the total U.S. Hispanic population.  They are most heavily concentrated in Florida and the Northeast, but there are pockets of Puerto Ricans throughout the country.  Among the 5.1 million Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin in the United States, about two-thirds were born in the United States.  About a third (29.9%) were born in Puerto Rico, and approximately 1 percent were born in outside of either the United States or Puerto Rico.

The Pew Center also reported the following statistics:

  • More than eight out of ten (83%) Puerto Ricans report speaking English proficiently.  Thirty five percent of Hispanics overall reported speaking English proficiently;
  • The number of Puerto Ricans with at least a bachelor’s degree rose from 12% to 18% between 2000 and 2013;
  • Puerto Ricans have a slightly higher level of education than the Hispanic population overall, in which 14% of the population has earned a bachelor’s degree.
  • The number of Puerto Ricans with a high school diploma grew from 26% to 30% between 2000 and 2010;
  • Puerto Ricans are younger than the U.S. population but the same median age as Hispanics overall.  The median age of Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics in the United States is 29, and the median age of the U.S. population is 37;
  • Thirty-eight percent of Puerto Ricans own homes, compared to 45 percent of the total Hispanic population and 64 percent of the overall U.S. population.

In 2010, the Pew Research Center reported that ten counties with the highest Puerto Rican populations represented 29 percent of the national Puerto Rican population. These counties are:

    • Bronx County, NY (6% of the total U.S. Puerto Rican population);
    • Kings County, NY (4%);
    • Orange Country, FL (3%);
    • Cook County, IL (3%);
    • Philadelphia County, PA (3%);
    • New York County, NY (2%);
    • Queens County, NY (2%);
    • Hartford County, CT (2%);
    • Miami-Dade County, FL (2%); and
    • Hillsborough County, FL (2%).

The Center for Puerto Rican Studies created a graphic map showing the distribution of Puerto Ricans among the States in 2010. The Pew Center has a map by county comparing populations in 2000 and 2010.

Since Hurricane Maria, the Puerto Rican population in the state of Florida has risen to over one million people. The Bureau of Business and Economic Research estimates that 29% of the Puerto Ricans living on the mainland now live in Florida. About 10% live in New York.

In 2017, before Hurricane Maria, the Pew Research Center reported that Puerto Ricans living on the Island were more likely to live in poverty than those living in the States. They also determined that those living on the Island were more politically conservative than those born in the States.

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