A new post from the Pew Research Center used the latest U.S. Census data to report that Puerto Rico is witnessing population losses of “historic” proportions, resulting in “the largest outmigration in more than 50 years” on the island. The following animated gif from Pew highlights how dramatic the population decreases have been since 1980. The grey areas represent population gains, while the pink areas represent population losses. By the time you get to the 2010–2015 section, most of the island is pink.


Pew also concluded the following:

“….the island’s population was an estimated 3.47 million in 2015, down 334,000 from 2000 – a 9% decline. Three-quarters of this population loss has taken place since 2010. Puerto Rico’s population declined by 7% from 2010 to 2015, compared with a 2% loss from 2000 to 2010.”

The Census predicts that Puerto Rico’s population in 2050 will be at 2.984 million people.

Pew attributes the island’s population loss to three factors:

  • Puerto Rico’s continued economic recession
  • Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens, continue to move to the mainland United States for better economic opportunities. Thousands have moved to Florida in the past several years.
  • The island’s low fertility rates

Earlier this year, Latino USA dedicated an entire hour to what is happening in Puerto Rico, focusing on the social and economic consequences of a $72 billion debt crisis that has plagued the island.

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