December 20, 2010 | Hispanic Ohio | Original Article

A slowly rising population in Puerto Rico

 WASHINGTON - The Puerto Rico population is growing at its slowest pace in recent decades, according to the latest estimates of the federal Census.

 By the end of 2009, residents of Puerto Rico were estimated at 3,940,109, only about 158,000 more than in 2000, a growth rate of less than 4%.

 The rate of population growth in Puerto Rico was estimated at 67% between 1990 — when the island had 3,522,037 people — and 2000.

 In the past 40 years, the largest Puerto Rican population increase occurred from 1970 to 1980, when the total population of the island jumped by more than a million, from 2,172,033 to 3,196,520. Then, the growth rate remained at 1.66%, according to data from the Planning Board.

 Even putting together the last three decades, such an important increase been never been recorded.

 For example, from 1980 to 2009 the Puerto Rican population may have increased by just over 840,000.

 Compared to Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rican population in the United States had a new growth spurt, increasing from 3.4 million in 2000 to 4,160,000.

 The findings are the average of polls conducted between 2005 and 2009 by the “Puerto Rico Community Survey” and serve as a preamble to the first Federal Census statistics of 2010 to be released next week.

They also confirm an analysis that in just this decade alone about 300,000 Puerto Ricans may have moved to the United States, according to Professor Jorge Duany of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR).

 ”In Puerto Rico there has been a decline in the number of births and increased migration. The mortality rate remains stable,” said Professor Duany.

 In the U.S., while the population increased by about 7%, as estimated by the “American Community Survey,” which found that the U.S. has around 307 million inhabitants.

 Although the Latino population may not have had the historic increase it had in the decade of 1990, surveys conducted between 2005 and 2009 indicate that in the United States there are at least 45.4 million Hispanics, which makes it the largest minority.

Puerto Ricans, meanwhile, are still the second largest Hispanic population in the United States, after Mexicans.

 Most Puerto Ricans United States have made their homes in the states of New York and Florida.

 But while in New York the Puerto Rican population growth has slowed, in Florida it is increasing, highlighted Angelo Falcon, an expert on the Census and President of th National Institute for Latino Policy.

 For example, the 1,092,171 Puerto Ricans who were in New York in 2000 are now estimated to be 1,050,290. In Florida, the total number of Puerto Ricans has reached 726.637, while the 2000 Census had it at that time at 482.027.

 An analysis of “Puerto Rico Community Survey” of the Federal Census also presents the most recent statistics on the social and economic realities of Puerto Rico.

 For example, only 3% of the people living in Puerto Rico are of foreign born. This means that 97% are natives of the Island.

 It also indicates that in 95% of households in Puerto Rico, Spanish is spoken. Meanwhile, 85% of residents of the Island indicate that they speak “very good” English.

 While the median income in Puerto Rico was estimated at $ 18,627, in Mississippi, the poorest state in the United States, it was $ 36,796 in 2009.