Estimates of Post-Hurricane Maria Exodus from Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria’s impact on Puerto Rico and its population is unprecedented. Though it is difficult to find comparable situations, we estimate that between 114,000 and 213,000 Puerto Rico residents will leave the island annually in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. From 2017 to 2019, we estimate that Puerto Rico may lose up to 470,335 residents or 14% of the population. In other words, Puerto Rico will lose the same population in a span of a couple of years after Hurricane Maria as the island lost during a prior decade of economic stagnation. Our projections indicate that Florida is the state most likely to be affected by the exodus — with an estimated annual flow of between 40,000 and 82,000 people.