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Puerto Rican Electorate Grows to 3.8 Million in 2017

by Centro Staff


With midterm elections in the United States on the horizon, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies has released a new data sheet based on U.S. Census Bureau data entitled, "Puerto Rican Citizen, Voting-Age Population in 2017." According to the report, the Puerto Rican electorate in the United States increased from 3.6 million in 2015 to 3.8 million in 2017, primarily due to natural population growth and the influx of Puerto Ricans who relocated to the United States in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. 

"A great deal of focus on the Puerto Rican electorate is the impact of those displaced by Hurricane Maria after it struck Puerto Rico last year," said Dr. Carlos Vargas-Ramos, Researcher and Director of Public Policy and External Relations at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies. In a report released in September, Centro estimated that 160,000 Puerto Ricans left the island in the year after Hurricane Maria, though that figure could be as high as 176,000. 
"Those displaced Puerto Ricans will grow the Puerto Rican electorate in the United States; however, elections are about turnout, and those Puerto Ricans more likely to vote are those highly motivated individuals, with longer length of residence in their communities, living in competitive districts and states, and involved in civic activities. My expectation is that those involved in assisting other Puerto Ricans in need as a result of the hurricane will be most likely to vote. Hurricane Maria awoke a broad and deep civic response from Puerto Ricans in the United States."
"Florida, with a great deal of displaced Puerto Ricans in the state, the home to most Puerto Ricans in the United States now, with a multitude of efforts from within the Puerto Rican community to assist those displaced Puerto Ricans, and the location of highly competitive elections for U.S. Senate and State Governor, will see the most engagement among Puerto Ricans in the United States," added Dr. Vargas-Ramos. Indeed, over 800,000 Puerto Ricans are eligible to register to vote in the Sunshine state, or just over one-quarter of the roughly 3 million voters that make up the Hispanic electorate in Florida.
To view the full report and/or download a PDF, click here.
© Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Published in Centro Voices 05 November 2018.