While there are many reasons for people choosing to leave their native countries, economic issues and lack of employment force countless people to migrate every year. Political instability in their homeland is also a major factor in people’s decision to seek U.S. citizenship. All of these factors are coming into play as more and more Puerto Ricans are moving to the mainland and choosing the call Florida home.
According to WLRN, approximately 100,000 Puerto Ricans have left the country in the past five years, and it is expected that that number will increase to 100,000 annually. The mass exodus from the American protectorate island is resulting in a huge number of migrants settling down in Florida. It is currently estimated that the state is home to around 1 million Puerto Rican migrants. The dramatic decrease in population on the island is not only resulting in thousands of homes being abandoned, but there is also evidence to suggest that the influx of migrants moving to Florida is having a considerable impact on politics in the region.
Discussing some of the reasons behind the mass migration of Puerto Ricans to Florida, former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre’ explained that the island territory is facing financial insolvency. Puerto Rico is currently $73 billion in debt and is not eligible to file for bankruptcy because the island is not recognized as a state. Puerto Ricans are recognized as having citizenship status in the US, however, so many are seeking better living and employment conditions on the mainland. The prospect of being granted statehood is welcomed by a large percentage of Puerto Ricans who were asked, but for now a considerable number of the 3.5 million people living on the island are expected to leave next year.
Source: WLRN.org, “Former Miami Mayor Ferre’: Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis Is Florida’s Migration Boom,” Tim Padgett, May 12, 2015