Puerto Rico’s record-breaking population loss

Puerto Ricans are emigrating from their island homes for the United States in record numbers.

In a recent study performed over the 2014 census that comes from the commonwealth's Institute of Statistics, Puerto Rico has already lost around 2% of their population so far. This means an approximate 84,000, with around 20,000 returning. To place it into layman’s terms, this means around 230 people left each day, on average. As mentioned, this is considered one of the highest net migration patterns recorded in Puerto Rico over the past decade, and more Puerto Ricans are currently said to live in the United States than the island commonwealth itself.

The economy is to blame

Most of these trends are blamed on the economy. Demographer Raul Figueroa, who had been involved in the study, particularly blamed this “economic factor,” which includes a ten year recession. In particular, unemployment, especially concerning millennials and the youth, was also specifically singled out as to blame for this trend.

Added to that, Puerto Rico is in troubling debt, with the staggering number of $70 billion dollars that needs to be repaid. This has made the issue all the more newsworthy, as Alejandro García Padilla, the governor of Puerto Rico, had recently announced that Puerto Rico’s own Government Development Bank would be unable to repay debts that it had owed to creditors this past Sunday, an issue that particularly has no clear way out.

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A resurgence of the past

A previous peak in immigration from Puerto Rico to the United States had occurred in the 1950’s. At that point in time, it has been estimated that around half a million made the move to the States. Now, however, it has been reported that this record may soon be broken if current trends continue as they are, as the population loss of 2010 and 2014 is said to already outnumber the population loss from the first half of the 1950’s.

The effects on Puerto Rico

A particular hazard this trend may have on the commonwealth is the loss the education system will endure. Of the total population decline, two-thirds are said to be students, and thousands of teachers were also lost in the move. Discounting those who eventually returned, Puerto Rico lost around 17,000 of those in education, both students and teachers. Around 12,000 are also said to have left, and thousands of retailers have also relocated.