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The Original Million: Puerto Ricans in New York

By Centro Staff

 

When data released by the American Community Survey (ACS) last month confirmed that the population of Puerto Ricans in Florida had exceeded one million, becoming only the second US state to do so, New York took an unexpected backseat to this landmark in Puerto Rican history. 

So naturally, we started to pay closer attention to these changing demographics with an emphasis on the FloriRicans. However, before anyone gets the wrong idea, we wanted to show some love to the Puerto Rican community in New York by doing a similar comparison. So here are some of the highlights of recently released census data: 


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First off, Puerto Ricans in New York are old, but not that old: Owing, in part, to the wave of migration in the 1950s, New York Puerto Ricans are older than their mainland counterparts with a median age of 31.9 compared to 28.9 in the rest of the country. However, that’s still well below the median age of 38.9 on the island. 

New York Puerto Ricans are lagging when it comes to higher education: Simply put, New York Puerto Ricans earn Bachelor’s and graduate degrees at a lower rate than the rest of the country (15.9%). Not to mention, at 24.10%, Puerto Ricans on the island are leading the way. So much for that brain drain myth. 

Educational Attainment—25 years and over


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But first things first: New York Puerto Ricans have a higher rate (28.5%) of not finishing high school when compared to the rest of the country and the island. 

New York Puerto Ricans get paid: With higher average salaries for both men and women as well as a higher per capita income for individuals, New York Puerto Ricans earn slightly more than Puerto Ricans in the rest of the country. 


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Home ownership rates tell a different story: Unfortunately, higher incomes also come with higher cost of living (i.e. higher mortgage payments), a regional factor that manifests in the much lower rate of home ownership (23.6%) for Puerto Ricans in New York. Puerto Rico is a different story altogether at 68.7%. 

Buying power: New York Puerto Ricans represent $21.1 billion out of the $134.5 billion total purchasing power of Puerto Ricans, which is a pretty significant chunk to go along with the $76.1 billion generated by the rest of the country. 


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Women-led households: When compared with the rest of the country and the island, there is a significantly higher rate of Puerto Rican households in New York solely led by women. 

English-language skills: No surprises here. 4 out of 10 Puerto Ricans in the United States report that English is the only language spoken at home and New York Puerto Ricans follow suit with the rest of the country. 

In the end, some of these figures may come as a surprise, others may not. Either way, it will be interesting to see how Puerto Rican communities in New York and in Florida continue to grow and evolve as bastions of the Puerto Rican diaspora. To read the full data brief prepared by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies click here.


© Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Published in Centro Voices on 30 October 2015.