More Puerto Ricans Stateside than on Island

Exodus, movement of ja people!In another interesting post from the Puerto Rico Sun, Clarisel brings this resource to the attention of her readers. I've heard that most of the movers in Puerto Rico have been working non-stop for some time now. As was seen in previous economic down turns in Puerto Rico, many families are leaving PR in search of better job opportunities in the main land U.S. So this observation by the National Institute for Latino Policy doesn't surprise me.

In my opinion, this is a trend that will continue until the Puerto Rico economy reaches some type of equilibrium between the number of jobs available and the number of people willing to work. If you ask me, this is one of the fundamental problems with the PR economy, not enough jobs to sustain the population. There just aren't enough companies and no amount of economic development is going to change that.

On Latino Policy (from prsun.blogspot.com)

The National Institute for Latino Policy recently provided some interesting information on Puerto Ricans stateside and how the stateside population continues to outnumber those living on the island.

Here's an excerpt of an entry from the Institute July 14 bi-monthly newsletter, edited by Angelo Falcon:

Puerto Rican Population Stateside
Continues to Exceed that of Puerto Rico


In 2004, the Atlas of Stateside Puerto Ricans documented for the first time the stateside Puerto Rican population exceeded that of Puerto Rico in 2003 by 163,246. The latest statistics from the Census Bureau, from the 2006 American Community Survey (ACS), estimates that this gap has grown: in 2006 there were 3,987,947 Puerto Ricans living stateside compared to 3,745,007 in Puerto Rico, meaning that there are 242,940 more Puerto Ricans stateside than in Puerto Rico. Does this development have implications for the politics and policy issues of the Puerto Rican community as a whole?
Interesting question. What do PRSUN readers think?

Anyway, if you are interested in Puerto Rican and Latino policy issues, the Institute's bi-monthly e-newsletter is a wonderful resource. It regularly features items related to Puerto Ricans.

Go to www.latinopolicy.org to subscribe.

By the way, the National Institute for Latino Policy was formerly known as the Institute for Puerto Rican Policy. It changed its name as a way of better representing policy issues impacting Latinos.

The National Institute for Latino Policy is a independent nonprofit and nonpartisan policy center established in 1982 to address Latino issues.

Flickr Creative Commons Contributor: lunchtimemama

8 comments:

lucilla

16 de julio de 2008, 13:36
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dijo...

This trend has been ongoing ever since my grandad went to the US to look for a job in the Fifties.
Some people go there and do well. Other people go there and are worse off. Those who don't have a plan of attack for job seeking are the ones who end up coming back. I just got an email from someone who is looking for a qualified Hispanic to fill a possible government position in the Northeast region of the states. They are not getting the qualified, Hispanic professionals. Are there more blue collar or white collar workers leaving? It would be interesting to know.

MC Don Dees

16 de julio de 2008, 14:56
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dijo...

I've of that too, but from what I've heard it's been more frequent in the last 2 years. I remember seeing some El Nuevo Dia articles, about this and the only thing I recall clearly was that Florida was the new New York.

That would be interesting to know, there's no real way to guess other than say it probably follows the same demographic distribution as the newly unemployed.

Thanks for the comment, I'll keep my eye out for anything new related to this.

Speaking Boricua

16 de julio de 2008, 18:13
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dijo...

I can't imagine that more white collar workers are leaving, seeing as the market for white collar workers in PR is very small, mostly due to that lack of companies as mentioned.

I'd like to argue though with this: "There just aren't enough companies and no amount of economic development is going to change that." I think with this you're kind of implying that there aren't enough AMERICAN companies (correct me if I'm wrong) and there's nothing that can be done to bring them in. Well, that's true. At this point to compete with labor salaries in China and Central America... well, it just couldn't exist. And no American companies have any incentive to pay money to move their company without saving any money later.

But if the Puerto Rican (or American, I suppose) government decided to help fund start-up companies and small business IN Puerto Rico, that could be a very successful type of economic development. A lot of Puerto Rican businesses have done decently on the island, benefiting the consumer AND the workers and keeping the money on the island (rather than sending it back to the U.S.). Plus, there are a LOT of university students on the island who are willing and deserve to have good jobs, and, knowing some personally, there are so many that have such a high level creativity and intelligence that forcing them to move to the U.S. because of the crummy island market would be a shame. They'd be perfect for small businesses where their creativity and freshness will cause them to excel.

I don't really know much about economics or business, but I think it's time that Puerto Ricans start turning to themselves and admitting that yes, they can do it. The inferiority complex present in the whole society drives me crazy sometimes...

MC Don Dees

16 de julio de 2008, 18:43
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dijo...

Speaking Boricua, actually I wasn't referring to any one source of jobs. I agree with you, the only way out of the economic crisis is a booming entrepreneurial community in Puerto Rico. One of the unsung heroes of the U.S. economy are small businesses, but specifically small businesses that grow to be big businesses.

My next post will be why there is little hope that will happen in Puerto Rico without a miracle of some sort.

Speaking Boricua

16 de julio de 2008, 19:38
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dijo...

Yeah, miracles indeed. For the kind of presence that would save the Puerto Rican economy (and end the hospital I.V.-like dependency on the U.S.), the entire way PR society thinks would have to flip flop.

I do have a certain amount of faith in this upcoming generation though (maybe because they're my age, I don't know... haha). More and more students are going to college and they are not going to be satisfied with minimum wage at Walgreens or Burger King. They are going to demand a lot more. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few decades--whether they emigrate en masse or if they completely transform the Puerto Rican economy. I don't think there is any other possibility. I hate to try to predict the future, because then I'll jinx it...or just be wrong, but I think that this upcoming generation will be the one to definitely decide the fate of Puerto Rico, if not regarding the status at least if PR can confront the economic issues that have been built up by years of evasive (in the sense of temporary vs. permanent solutions), and many times just plain stupid and dangerous, economic policies.

...what I actually came back here for, though, was to say as well that Puerto Rico has a very small presence online but has a HUGE potential, as I'm sure you're (on occasions bitterly) aware. Puerto Ricans have internet all over the island and respond VERY well to advertising directed towards them as a kind of continuation of the patriotism and community feel of the island. Plus, Nuyoricans and the other Puerto Ricans living stateside have already shown willingness to buy things from the island, seeing as they do sell things from the island at really high prices online to people in the States. With a technologically-aware generation, I think online shopping could dramatically affect the economy.

MC Don Dees

16 de julio de 2008, 20:58
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dijo...

What? Me, bitter?

Ok SB, now you're starting to scare me. I taught for a couple of semesters at one of the Pell Grant factories on the island, and let me tell you, the kids I taught probably shouldn't have been in college. I think that society has created the stigma that you have to go to college to have a good career.

And while that might be true for some, it is becoming less and less true. So I guess I'm questioning whether a student who shouldn't really be in college earns a college degree, means they are any more capable of contributing to the economy, than someone who learns a skilled trade or craft.

To your point though, I'm not sure how your generation can break the cycle of an incredibly stubborn culture of 'the victim'. As an example, as you've mentioned in your blog, I don't see many people of any generation that have much concern for Puerto Rico's environment, either through recycling or minimizing pollution. I think there's a third alternative, that all future generations add to the anchor weight around Puerto Rico's neck and it finally pulls us under.

I do agree with you that the Internet holds great promise to positively impact the economy; part of what we want to accomplish with DóndeEs.com is illustrate the Internet's potential. However, while it might sound like a great idea, as I've said many times before, ideas are easy. Execution is hard. There are just too few people willing to accept the sacrifices necessary to turn ideas into reality.

BUt despite all of that, we must keep trying. Even if it takes us 5 or 10 more years. We're not going to give up, and hopefully we'll find the right team or inspire someone to eclipse or success. In the meantime, I love discussing this with you. Thank you for sharing. Hopefully together we can leave enough breadcrumbs so that it makes it easier for those who follow.

Clarisel

18 de julio de 2008, 21:52
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dijo...

Hi. I believe it is a mix of boricuas who are moving stateside.

I do know Puerto Rico has been losing professional people, including nurses, teachers, police officers for stateside jobs.

Of course, for many stateside jobs, recruiters are seeking bilingual people.

As for Florida being the new New York for boricuas, I would agree with that. New York is not what it used to be for boricuas. East Harlem is holding on to what it can as the crown jewel of the Puerto Rican diaspora here. As you know, it isn't easy with skyrocketing rents in East Harlem and throughout the city.

Speaking Boricua

20 de julio de 2008, 15:48
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dijo...

You're right. I got a little carried away. I'm a pretty optimistic person in general and I got all excited about it. After all, I'm a part of that current group of students and so clearly I'm a little biased.
I absolutely agree with you. There are some serious duds coming out of the Puerto Rican education system. I've actually gone to a couple (college) classes and watched students in remedial English classes answering the teacher in Spanish and kids picking up their cell phones in class. Plus, I got to watch my best friend transfer from a PR college to mine and see the differences; she had no idea how to write an essay and, when she took a class on Puerto Rican literature her first semester, she learned a great number of things that she hadn't learned in her 20 years of living there. She had a very difficult time adjusting to the entirely new level and type of course work, even though she's really intelligent.
And I've met a whole bunch of losers as well.
But I still believe in the potential of these kids. For one, although it's true that universities on the island basically are factories (and I see it here too, except now Daddy is paying for school instead of the government), graduates will feel entitled to living above the standards of non-graduates. Regardless of the quality of education, a degree still symbolizes a higher quality of life and graduates won't be satisfied with less. So to get the jobs they feel they deserve, they'll either have to tap into the overcrowded market of American companies with offices in San Juan, or they'll start their own opportunities. Or, if things keep getting worse, they'll leave. So regardless of the actual value of their education, some kind of change will come.
Secondly, now is as good of a time as any. Puerto Rico is starting to distance itself from some of the disasters of the last century, and poverty is no longer such a powerful element that it makes providing food for the family the only motivation for working. People have leisure time. Meanwhile, corruption is at a high everywhere--if not internal (PR), then external (U.S. and LA). Desperate times... not that I think PR will host a revolution or anything extreme, but rather people will be forced to think about change.
And finally, I really have met some brilliant young minds. There is a reason why the American government is pulling its engineers from UPR-Mayaguez and Rio Piedras has its reputation. To make more of these the whole K-12 system needs to be overhauled... but that's another discussion entirely. Still, I'm going to stay optimistic.
All that said, I'd like to thank you for reminding me I need to write about the education system. Seeing as you have experience, would you like to contribute? I'd be very grateful for your perspective.