Demographics of Puerto Rico
This article is about the demographic features of the population of Puerto Rico, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.
|Demographics of Puerto Rico|
|Population Change Timeline|
|Infant mortality rate||8.24/1,000|
|Life expectancy||78.29 years|
|Demographic bureaus||2010 United States Census|
- 1 History of migration
- 2 Race and ethnic groups
- 3 Religion
- 4 CIA World Factbook demographic statistics
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
History of migration
The inhabitants of Puerto Rico immediately before the first European contact were part of the Arawak group of Amerindians. They called the island, Borikén (alt. Borinquén) and themselves "Boricuas". They were named by Christopher Columbus in 1493 as the Taíno.
The Spanish conquered the island, assuming government in 1508, colonized it, and enslaved the natives. The Taíno population dwindled due to disease, warfare, and forced labor, and the Spanish began importing large numbers of slaves from Africa. Spanish men arrived on the island disproportionately to Spanish women; Taíno women would sometimes marry them, resulting in a mestizo, or "mixed" ethnicity.
During the late 19th century large numbers of immigrants from Spain, as well as numerous Spaniards living in former Spanish colonies in South America, also arrived in Puerto Rico (See Spanish immigration to Puerto Rico). European Catholics (and Christian Arabs) who were granted land from Spain during the Real Cedula de Gracias de 1815 (Royal Decree of Graces of 1815), were allowed to settle in the island with a certain amount of free land and enslaved persons.
This mass immigration during the 19th century helped the population grow from 155,000 in 1800 to almost a million at the close of the century. During the early 20th century Jews began to settle in Puerto Rico. The first large group of Jews to settle in Puerto Rico were European refugees fleeing German–occupied Europe in the 1930s. Puerto Rico's economic boom of the 1950s attracted a considerable number of Jewish families from the U.S. mainland, who were joined after 1959 by an influx of Jewish emigres from Castro's Cuba.
Emigration has been a major part of Puerto Rico's recent history as well. Starting in the post-World War II period waves of Puerto Ricans moved to the continental United States, particularly to New York City; Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, and Camden, New Jersey; Chicago; Providence, Rhode Island; Springfield and Boston, Massachusetts; Orlando, Miami and Tampa, Florida; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Hartford, Connecticut; Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, California. This continued even as Puerto Rico's economy improved and its birth rate declined. The 2010 Census in fact recorded Puerto Rico's first population drop in history.
Race and ethnic groups
|Racial groups - Puerto Rico |
|Racial composition of the Puerto Rican
population, by the census, 1802-2010.
Racial demographic history
The first census by the United States in 1899 reported a population of 953,243 inhabitants, 61.8% of them classified as white, 31.9% as mixed, and 6.3% as black.
A strong European immigration wave and large importation of slaves from Africa helped increase the population of Puerto Rico over sixfold during the 19th century, no doubt significantly diluting the Amerindian portion of the Puerto Rican gene pool. No major immigration wave occurred during the 20th century. 
The federal Naturalization Act, signed into law on March 26, 1790, by President Washington, explicitly barred anyone not of the White "race" from applying for U.S. citizenship. This law remained in effect until the 1950s, although its enforcement was tightened in the late 19th century regarding Asian immigrants, and by the Johnson-Reed act of 1924 imposing immigration quotas. In short, until the middle of the 20th century, only immigrants of the White "race" could hope to become naturalized citizens.
Until 1950 the U.S. Bureau of the Census attempted to quantify the racial composition of the island's population, while experimenting with various racial taxonomies. In 1960 the census dropped the racial identification question for Puerto Rico but included it again in the year 2000. The only category that remained constant over time was white, even as other racial labels shifted greatly—from "colored" to "Black", "mulatto" and "other". Regardless of the precise terminology, the census reported that the bulk of the Puerto Rican population was white from 1899 to 2000.
In the late 1700s, Puerto Rico had laws like the Regla del Sacar or Gracias al Sacar where a person of mixed ancestry could be considered legally white so long as they could prove that at least one person per generation in the last four generations had also been legally white. Therefore people of mixed ancestry with known white lineage were classified as white, the opposite of the "one-drop rule" in the United States.
According to the 1920 Puerto Rico census, 2,505 individuals immigrated to Puerto Rico between 1910 and 1920. Of these, 2,270 were classified as "white" in the 1920 census (1,205 from Spain, 280 from Venezuela, 180 from Cuba, and 135 from the Dominican Republic). During the same 10 year period, 7,873 Puerto Ricans emigrated to the U.S. Of these, 6,561 were listed as "white" on the U.S mainland census, 909 as "Spanish white" and 403 as "black".
|Racial distribution – 2000 Census|
|Race||Population||% of Total|
|:American Indian and Alaska Native||13,336||0.4%|
|:Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander||1,093||0.0%|
|:Some other race||260,011||6.8%|
|Two or more races||158,415||4.2%|
|Island Identity survey – 2000 census|
|Island Identity||% of Total|
|Racial distribution – 2006 ACS |
|Race||Population||% of Total|
|American Indian & Alaska Native||7,831||0.2%|
|Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander||145||0.0%|
|Some other race||430,358||10.9%|
|Two or more races||217,170||5.5%|
|Ancestral distribution – 2006 ACS |
Puerto Ricans, on average, have genetic contributions from Europeans, West Africans, and Native Americans of approximately 66%, 18%, and 16%, respectively. A recent study of Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from 800 individuals found that patrilineal input, as indicated by the Y-chromosome, showed over 70% of Puerto Ricans could trace their ancestry to male European ancestors, 20% could trace it to male African ancestors, and less than 10% could trace it to male Native American ancestors. As for maternal DNA, 61.1% of those sampled were found as having Amerindian maternal mtDNA. This means that if a person could trace back in time from daughter to mother, she would eventually reach women who lived in Puerto Rico in Pre-Columbian time. The rest divides between 26.4% with female African ancestors and 12.5% with female European ancestors. Both of these findings are consistent with the popular belief from historical record that male European immigrants took for themselves wives from among the native Indian and, later, black slave populations.
Women in the diaspora
In a study done on Puerto Rican women born on the island but living in New York by Carolina Bonilla, Mark D. Shriver and Esteban Parra in 2004, the ancestry proportions corresponding to the three parental populations were found to be 53.3±2.8% European, 29.1±2.3% West African, and 17.6±2.4% Native American based on autosomal ancestry informative markers. Although autosomal markers tests seem to draw a more broad picture than that of single, gender-based mtDNA and Y-Chromosome tests, the problem with autosomnal DNA is in the archaic categories used: "European", "Sub-Saharan African", "East Asian" & "Native American". "Asian" (South, North or East) & "North African" are not included. These generalised categories may not take into account the complexity of migratory patterns across the Old World. The study also found that, from the women sampled, 98% had European ancestry markers, 87% had African ancestry markers, 84% had Native American ancestry markers, 5% showed only African and European markers, 4% showed mostly Native American and European markers, 2% showed only African markers, and 2% showed mostly European markers.[dead link]
These findings are consistent with the historical record that the native male Taino population was virtually wiped out shortly after the arrival of the European settlers to the Island.
|Religion||Adherents||% of Population|
|Pentecostal Church of God||100,000|
|Assemblies of God||56,000|
|Church of God (Cleveland)||17,500|
|Defenders of the Faith||17,500|
|Latter-day Saints (Mormon)||16,084|
|Disciples of Christ||10,778|
|Boriquen Presby Synod||8,300|
|Christian and Missionary Alliance||6,500|
|Church of the Nazarene||2,994|
The presence of various Protestant denominations has increased under American sovereignty, making modern Puerto Rico an interconfessional country. Protestantism was suppressed under the Spanish regime, but encouraged under American rule of the island. An example of this was with the Holy Trinity Anglican church in Ponce, which was prevented from ringing its bell until 1898, when American troops landed there.
In 2007, there were over 5,000 Muslims in Puerto Rico, representing about 0.13% of the population.[dead link] There are eight Islamic mosques spread throughout the island, with most Muslims living in Río Piedras. Puerto Rican converts to Islam continues to occur. "Ties between Latinos and Islam are more than just spiritual, but date back to Spanish history. Many people do not realize that Muslims ruled Spain for more than 700 years". And at times not just individuals, but whole families convert. However, lack of Muslim education in the Island forces some Puerto Rican Muslims to migrate to the States. Islam was brought into Puerto Rico mainly via the Palestinian migration of the 1950s and '60s. Thus, today there is a strong Palestinian presence among Muslims in Puerto Rico. "They are economically strong and are thus able to pay for a full time Imaam".
Puerto Rico is also home to the largest Jewish community in the Caribbean with 3,000 Jewish inhabitants. Some Puerto Ricans have converted, not only as individuals but as entire families. Puerto Rico is the only Caribbean island in which the Conservative, Reform and Orthodox Jewish movements are represented.
Taíno religious practices have to a degree been rediscovered/reinvented by a handful of advocates. Various African religious practices have been present since the arrival of enslaved Africans. In particular, the Yoruba beliefs of Santería and/or Ifá, and the Kongo-derived Palo Mayombe (sometimes called an African belief system, but rather a way of Bantu lifestyle of Congo origin) find adherence among very few individuals who practice some form of African traditional religion.
CIA World Factbook demographic statistics
The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.
Population: 3,725,789 (2010 U.S. Census)
- Men: 1,785,171
- Women: 1,940,618
0–17 years: 24.2% (903,295)
18–24 years: 10.1% (375,175)
25-34 years: 13.2% (492,332)
35-49 years: 19.6% (731,514)
50-64 years: 18.3% (681,505)
65 years and over: 14.6% (541,998)
Population growth rate: 0.27% (2010 est.)
Birth rate: 11.42 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
Death rate: 7.82 deaths/1,000 population (2010 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.91 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15–64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2010 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total 8.23 deaths/1,000 live births
male 9 deaths/1,000 live births
female 7.43 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.77 years
male: 75.15 years
female: 82.57 years (2010 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.62 children born/woman (2010 est.)
noun: Puerto Rican(s) (US citizens)
adjective: Puerto Rican
- White 75.8%; (mostly Spanish origin)
- Black 12.4%;
- Asian 0.2%;
- Amerindian 0.5%;
- Mixed and Other 11.1%
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.1%
female: 94.4% (2002 est.)
- The Virtual Jewish History Tour Puerto Rico
- Puerto Rico's History on race
- Representation of racial identity among Puerto Ricans and in the u.s. mainland
- CIA World Factbook Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- Puerto Rico's Historical Demographics Retrieved November 10, 2011.
- Ancestry in Puerto Rico
- Not of Pure Blood. Jay Kinsbruner. Duke University Press. 1996. Page 22. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
- How Puerto Rico became white
- Ethnicity 2000 census
- "Island Identity 2000 census
- 2006-2008 Three Year Estimate. Puerto Rico Community Survey;Hispanic or Latino Origin by Race.[dead link] Path: U.S. Census Bureau > Fact Sheet > United States > Puerto Rico > 2006-2008 tab > ACS Demographic Estimates. Retrieved June 19, 2010.
- Ancestry ACS 2006[dead link]
- B03001. HISPANIC OR LATINO ORIGIN BY SPECIFIC ORIGIN[dead link]
- Recent Genetic Selection in the Ancestral Admixture of Puerto Ricans. American Journal of Human Genetics. (2007).
- Martínez Cruzado, Juan C. (2002). "The Use of Mitochondrial DNA to Discover Pre-Columbian Migrations to the Caribbean: Results for Puerto Rico and Expectations for the Dominican Republic". KACIKE: The Journal of Caribbean Amerindian History and Anthropology [On-line Journal], Special Issue, Lynne Guitar, Ed. Available at: http://www.kacike.org/MartinezEnglish.pdf [Date of access: 25 September 2006]
- Documenting the Myth of Taino Extinction. Dr. Lynne Guitar. KACIKE: Journal of Caribbean Amerindian History and Anthropology.[dead link] Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- Bonilla et al., Ancestral proportions and their association with skin pigmentation and bone mineral density in Puerto Rican women from New York City. Hum Gen (2004) 115: 57-58 Available at: http://onedroprule.org/forum/index.php?file=bonilla-2004-pigmnt-bmd-pr-women.pdf [Date of access: 30 May 2008]
- Religions[dead link] Retrieved June 9, 2009.
- Denominations[dead link] Retrieved June 9, 2009.
- "Porto Rico". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- Iglesia Anglicana Santa Trinidad de Ponce
- Institute of Islamic Information and Education: Number of Muslims and Percentage in Puerto Rico Retrieved June 11, 2009. Corrected October 6, 2009.
- Percent Puerto Rican population that are Muslims[dead link] Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- Muslim mosques in Puerto Rico Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- Muslims concentrated in Rio Piedras Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- Puerto Rican Converts to Islam Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- Reshaping One Nation Under God[dead link] Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- Palestinian migration[dead link] Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- Palestinians in PR Retrieved June 8, 2009.
- Luxner News
- "2006 Survey[dead link]
- CIA World Factbook Found at: CIA World Factbook > Central America and Caribbean > Puerto Rico > People > Nationality. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
- CIA World Factbook Found at: CIA World Factbook > Central America and Caribbean > Puerto Rico > People > Ethnic Groups. Retrieved June 8, 2009. Confirmed June 19, 2010.
- 2010 U.S. Census Retrieved March 3, 2011. Confirmed March 19, 2011.
- The End of Slavery ...[dead link]
- How Puerto Rico Became White: Racial analysis
- Puerto rico 2005 Fact finder statistics[dead link]
- United Nations country profile[dead link]
- Genetic Make-up of Puerto Ricans
- 1930s Sterilization of One Third of Puerto Rican Women by the Chicago Women's Liberation Union