One of the main obstacles to Puerto Rico’s economic growth is its continuing population loss. Without people to start businesses, buy goods and services, and pay taxes, it’s hard for Puerto Rico’s government to move toward fiscal health.
The San Juan Star reported on some new numbers released by the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics. In 2014, they said, 84,000 people left Puerto Rico to live in the States. Only 20,000 people left the mainland U.S. to live in Puerto Rico during the same time, leaving a net loss of 64,000 people, over 5,300 per month. This is about 230 people a day — two airplanes full — for a total loss of 2% of the population.
The data for the report came from the U.S. Census and the U.S. Bureau of Transportation.
“The migrant 2014 profile confirms what we had already been observing,” the Star quoted Mario Marazzi-Santiago, the Institute of Statistics Executive Director as saying in a written statement. “In absolute terms, the current migration wave overcame the great exodus of the 1950s.”
In the first half of the great exodus 60 years ago, 237,000 people left Puerto Rico for the States. In the first half of this decade, 263,000 have done so.
There is no sign of slowing, either.
Students, educators, healthcare professionals including doctors, and business managers are among the most noticeable segments of the population leaving the territory. NBC News quotes Héctor Cordero Guzmán of Baruch College in New York as saying, “The island has made an investment in the form of their education but won’t reap the rewards of that… These migrants will spend their most productive years off the island and they take their economic activity with them.