The US Spanish-speaking Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has been in recession for 9 years and may default on its debt this summer. The awful economy has “fueled the island’s first sustained population decline in its history as a U.S. territory, even as the stateside Puerto Rican population grew briskly.” A majority of the total Puerto Rican population now lives on the US mainland, forming the second largest US Hispanic population after Mexicans. Despite being better educated on average than other Hispanic immigrant groups in the US, Puerto Ricans are more likely to live in poverty.
The percentage of Puerto Ricans in the US who live in the South has risen dramatically from 10% in 1980 to 30% today. Florida is a top destination (constituting 4.5% of the State’s population) but Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia also have large and growing Puerto Rican populations.
Though almost 76% of Puerto Ricans self-identified as White, genetic studies show that most have American Indian or African ancestry.
The existence of the Union and its relationship with Puerto Rico means that Southerners have no legal means in the US system to halt the massive influx of impoverished Puerto Ricans seeking work and a higher standard of living. The negative impact of Puerto Rican immigration creates a burden for Southern taxpayers. The over abundance of cheap labor drives down wages for working class Southerners. The influx also contributes to the ethnic and cultural displacement of Southerners, continually making the South less Southern over time.
Also see: Haitian impact on Florida & Brazil