September 15, 2015

Hispanics of Puerto Rican Origin in the United States, 2013

Statistical Profile

Puerto Rican-Origin Population in the U.S., 1980-2013An estimated 5.1 million Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin resided in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia in 2013, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. That is a substantially greater number than the population of Puerto Rico itself, which was 3.6 million in 2013 and has been in decline for the past few years largely due to out-migration. As a result, the number of Puerto Rican-origin Hispanics living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia has exceeded the number of people of Puerto Rican ancestry living on the island of Puerto Rico at least since 2005.

Puerto Ricans in this statistical profile are people who self-identified as Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin; this means either they themselves were born in Puerto Rico1 or they were born in the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia or elsewhere, but trace their family ancestry to Puerto Rico. This statistical profile focuses on the characteristics of Puerto Rican-origin Hispanics residing in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.2

Puerto Ricans are the second-largest Hispanic origin population living in the United States, accounting for 9.5% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2013. In comparison, Mexicans, the nation’s largest Hispanic origin group, constituted 34.6 million, or 64.1%, of the Hispanic population in 2013. Since 1980, the Puerto Rican-origin population living on the mainland has more than doubled, growing from 2.0 million to 5.1 million over the period. At the same time, the Puerto Rican-born population living in the U.S. grew by 56%, up from 954,000 in 1980 to 1.5 million in 2013.3

This profile compares the demographic, income and economic characteristics of Puerto Ricans with the characteristics of all Hispanics and the U.S. population overall and includes public opinion data of Puerto Rican and Hispanic adults. Unless otherwise noted, data are based on tabulations from the 2013 American Community Survey and Pew Research Center’s 2013 National Survey of Latinos. Key facts include:

About the Data

This statistical profile of Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin is based on the Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey (ACS) and a nationally representative Pew Research Center survey of 5,103 Hispanic adults conducted May 24-July 28, 2013. The survey was conducted in both English and Spanish on cellular as well as landline telephones and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points. For a complete methodology, see: http://www.pewforum.org/2014/05/07/appendix-a-survey-methodology-2/

Like any survey, estimates from the ACS are subject to sampling error and (potentially) measurement error. Information on the ACS sampling strategy and associated error is available at http://www.census.gov/acs/www/methodology/methodology_main/. An example of measurement error is that citizenship rates for the foreign born are estimated to be overstated in the decennial census and other official surveys, such as the ACS (see Jeffrey S. Passel. 2007. “Growing Share of Immigrants Choosing Naturalization.” Washington, D.C.: Pew Research Center, March). Finally, estimates from the ACS may differ from the decennial census or other Census Bureau surveys due to differences in methodology and data collection procedures (see, for example, http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/laborfor/laborfactsheet092209.html and http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/datasources/factsheet.html).

U.S. Population, by Ethnicity and Puerto Rico Origin, 2013 Household Characteristics, by Ethnicity and Puerto Rico Origin, 2013 Employment Characteristics, by Ethnicity and Puerto Rico Origin, 2013
  1. Puerto Rico-born include only those who claim Puerto Rican ancestry; some 129,000 people who were born in Puerto Rico and are now living on the mainland are either non-Hispanics or Hispanics of a different ancestry (i.e. Dominican).
  2. The island of Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, but all references to the United States or the U.S. mainland in this profile refer to the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  3. Percentages are computed before numbers are rounded.
  4. For example, 22,700 people who say they are of Puerto Rican origin also say they were born in Mexico to parents who were both not U.S. citizens. They also self-report that they were not U.S. citizens at birth.
  5. This includes Puerto Ricans ages 5 and older who speak only English at home or, if they speak a non-English language at home, indicate they can speak English “very well.”
  6. Language dominance, or primary language, is a composite measure based on self-described assessments of speaking and reading abilities. “Spanish-dominant” persons are more proficient in Spanish than in English, i.e., they speak and read Spanish “very well” or “pretty well” but rate their English-speaking and reading ability lower. “Bilingual” refers to persons who are proficient in both English and Spanish. “English-dominant” persons are more proficient in English than in Spanish.