Section 5

The New Great Migration

Tracking Puerto Ricans’ migration patterns: who is migrating, their motivations for leaving, and how they are characterized by others.

Puerto Ricans’ migration patterns

have been greatly affected by the debt crisis. Seeking employment, they are typically blue-collar workers and people who have not completed a college degree. These migrants’ primary destination is Florida, where due to the massive influx of the Puerto Rican population, they often face many difficulties finding jobs and housing. The shooting at Pulse represents another crucial dampening of the idea that Puerto Ricans can find better living conditions abroad. One subsection is dedicated to contextualizing this tragedy and explaining how mainstream news invisibilized both the queer community and the large presence of Puerto Ricans among the dead.

Regardless, the new wave of migration continues, and it provoked a campaign that attempts to motivate people to stay on the Island and to believe in Puerto Rico’s capacity to move forward. This campaign uses the slogan “Yo no me quito.” However, many authors problematize this message: they explain that it stigmatizes those who decided to form part of the diaspora and disregards their resistance.

While so many Puerto Ricans leave, there are tax incentives in place to lure millionaires to the Island. These tax breaks operate under the idea that wealthy financiers will improve the economy. Furthermore, the large quantity of abandoned houses has become attractive for foreigners seeking beach front properties and second homes.

“Huyendo:” Fleeing Crisis

Richard Luscombe, “Puerto Rico’s economic migrants escape to US mainland in search of stability,” The Guardian, December 7, 2015.

Kate Kilpatrick, “Job migration the new ‘normal’ for all professions in Puerto Rico,” Aljazeera America, August 3, 2015.

Melissa Fernández Arrigoitía, “The rise of Puerto Rico’s ‘crisis-citizen,’” Open Democracy, August 26, 2015.

Zahaira Cruz Aponte, “Migración boricua: ¿fuga de cerebros o de familias pobres?,” Diálogo, March 17, 2017.

Harry Franqui-Rivera, “Too Many Of Puerto Rico’s Veterans Are Moving Away,” NBC News, May 28, 2017

Harry Franqui-Rivera, “What the Wall Street Journal Got Wrong About Puerto Rican ‘Refugees,’” The Huffington Post, May 6, 2016.


D’vera Cohn, Eileen Patten, and Mark Hugo Lopez, “Puerto Rican Population Declines on Island, Grows on U.S. Mainland,” Pew Research Center Hispanic Trends, August 11, 2014.

Puerto Ricans in the United States, 2014,” data sheet produced by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies (2016).

Maleta and Go: La llegada,” video produced by El Nuevo Día (2016).

Maleta and Go: ¿Regresar a Puerto Rico?,” video produced by El Nuevo Día (2016).


Ricardo Cortés Chico, “Population decline underestimated,” El Nuevo Día, April 16, 2017.

Jens Manuel Krogstad, “Historic Population Losses continue across Puerto Rico,” Pew Research Center, March 24, 2016.

Se deshabita Puerto Rico de forma acelerada,” El Nuevo Día, January 4, 2016.

Ricardo Cortés Chico, “The intention to emigrate is decreasing,” El Nuevo Día, June 6, 2017 (Spanish version: “Los boricuas consideran cada vez menos abandonar la Isla”).

#YoNoMeQuito: to stay or to go?

Jacquellena Carrero, “#YoNoMeQuito Movement Aims To Inspire, Uplift Puerto Ricans,” NBC News, May 12, 2016.

La campaña publicitaria que divide a Puerto Rico,” Univision, February 23, 2016.

La violencia del YO NO ME QUITO,” Mi Puerto Rico Verde, January 9, 2016.

Xavier Montalvo, “Entre ‘quitaos’ y ‘quedaos,’” QiiBo, February, 24, 2016.

Miguel Alvelo Rivera, “Soy Diáspora y #YoTampocoMeQuito,” Chicago Boricua Resistance, September 11, 2016.


Creador de #YoNoMeQuito reacciona a críticas,” Univision, February 29, 2016.

Insecurity Follows: The Other Side of Florida

Lizette Alvarez, “Puerto Ricans Seeking New Lives Put Stamp on Central Florida,” New York Times, August 24, 2015.

Gerardo Cordero, “Lejos del paraíso la migración,” El Nuevo Día, June 1, 2015.

Monivette Cordero “Puerto Rican financial crisis drives migration to Central Florida,” Orlando Weekly, July 15, 2015.

Melvin Felix, “Disney hardships: Puerto Ricans living in overcrowded motels in Orlando,”Univision, May 04, 2016.

Benjamín Torres Gotay, “La otra cara de Florida,” El Nuevo Día, August 21, 2016.

VIDEO: “Boricuas narran pesadilla tras ser engañados” Telemundo.PR, June 13, 2017.


REPORT: Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College “Puerto Ricans in Florida, the United States, and Puerto Rico, 2014” Centro DS2016US-4 April 2016.

REPORT: National Council of La Raza “Opportunity in the Sunshine State: Characteristics of Recent Movers From Puerto Rico to Florida” (written by Hector Cordero) July 23, 2016.

Jorge Duany and Patricia Silver, Puerto Rican Florida, special issue of Centro: Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, (2010).

Queer Migration and the Pulse Shooting

Lizette Alvarez and Nick Madigan, “In the Dead in Orlando, Puerto Ricans Hear a Roll Call of Their Kin,” New York Times, June 14, 2016.

Javier Arbona, “Queer Boricua Geopolitics and the Pulse Shooting,” June 25, 2016.

Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, “Queer Puerto Ricans and the Burden of Violence,” Latino USA, June 21, 2016.

Steven W. Thrasher, “LGBT people of color refuse to be erased after Orlando: ‘We have to elbow in,’” The Guardian, June 18, 2016.

Julie Torres, “Mourning in Orlando,” Anthropology News, November 11, 2016.

Kaitlyn Hayes, “Puerto Rico unveils first LGBT monument to honour Orlando victims,” Pink News, July 5, 2016.

Reflections on One Year Anniversary of Pulse Shooting:

Associated Press, “Comunidad de hispanos gays en Orlando se fortalece a un año de masacre,” El Nuevo Día, June 7, 2017.  (English Version: “After Pulse attack, gay Latino community seeks strength”).

Jennifer A. Marcial Ocasio, “Pulse victims’ families in Puerto Rico: ‘We have to cry alone,’” Orlando Sentinel, June 8, 2017. (Spanish Version: “Pulse: Familiares de las víctimas boricuas sufren aisladas”).

The Orlando Sentinel has made its online archive of Pulse coverage available free of charge to the public to mark the one year anniversary of the shooting. It is available here.


Puerto Rico in Mourning: Nearly Half of the Orlando Massacre Victims were from the Island,” Democracy Now, June 15, 2016.

Victim of Orlando massacre laid to rest in Puerto Rico,” Reuters, Jun 19, 2016.

Gentrification and “Population Swap”

Lynnley Browning and Julie Creswell, “Puerto Rico Creates Tax Shelters in Appeal to the Rich,” New York Times, March 25, 2013.

Rupert Neate, “Puerto Rico woos US investors with huge tax breaks as locals fund debt crisis,” The Guardian, February 14, 2016.

Franz Strasser, “Puerto Rico’s population swap: The middle class for millionaires,” BBC News, May 5, 2015.

Guy Dixon, “Middle class pain is retirees’ gain in Puerto Rico,” The Globe and Mail, September 15, 2015.

Heather Long, “There’s a big sale on Puerto Rican HomesCNN Money, February 21, 2016.

Jesse Barron, How Puerto Rico Became the Newest Tax Haven for the Super Rich, GQ, September 17, 2018.

Annie Pilon “Why small business owners should be watching Puerto Rico


The Puerto Rican Debt Crisis: Tax Breaks Offered to Rich While Austerity Measures Imposed on Poor,” Democracy Now, November 3, 2015.

Puerto Rico Rolling Out The Welcome Mat For Millionaires,NPR news, June 28, 2013.

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