STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

130,000 left Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, Census Bureau says

An estimated 130,000 people -- almost 4% of the population -- left the island of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, according to data released...

Posted: Dec 19, 2018 6:04 PM
Updated: Dec 20, 2018 9:29 AM

An estimated 130,000 people -- almost 4% of the population -- left the island of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, according to data released Wednesday by the US Census Bureau.

"It's a really large number -- and it's a number that's well above what we've seen in the past," Alexis Santos, a demographer at Penn State University, said of the population decrease. "Here, what you're looking at is double -- double the displacement we would have expected" in a normal year.

The population of the US territory has long been falling and now sits at about 3.2 million. Amid a debt crisis and other problems, more than 530,000 people have left Puerto Rico since 2010, the agency says.

The population estimates are considered the most authoritative look yet at the "exodus" of people from the Caribbean island amid monthslong power outages and other chaotic conditions that proved deadly for thousands of people.

The US Census Bureau data looks at the population change from July 1, 2017, before Hurricane Maria, and the same date in 2018. The figures are estimates from government records and are published annually, the Census Bureau said.

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. The federal response has been described as both slow and inadequate.

CNN published some of the first figures showing the shape of the out-migration. Data obtained through public records requests showed that Puerto Ricans appeared to have moved to every US state in the months after the storm. Florida was the top state for migrants leaving Puerto Rico; Orlando was the top metro area, according to the CNN analysis.

Other researchers used net airline passenger data and other methods to try to estimate the scope of the movement of people. The census figures were released as part of its annual population estimates.

Puerto Ricans are US citizens who can move freely to US states.

Experts have said that the population crash poses myriad problems for Puerto Rico, especially in terms of the economy. Young people -- the "Maria Generation," as they've been called -- are of particular concern.

CNN also reported on "misery" that followed some migrants from Puerto Rico to the US mainland.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2761545

Reported Deaths: 57695
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings35194510985
Queens32876810428
Suffolk2585103695
Nassau2285103337
Bronx2142426810
New York1780704667
Westchester1491242357
Erie1274102074
Monroe995101257
Richmond934401975
Orange62994944
Onondaga60557823
Rockland55844783
Dutchess38356513
Albany34983417
Oneida33796648
Niagara29420423
Broome28730437
Saratoga25383228
Schenectady19693247
Ulster19396293
Rensselaer17811197
Chautauqua15410197
Oswego14513138
Putnam13290101
St. Lawrence13212146
Chemung13095176
Steuben12858193
Ontario11974121
Jefferson11657108
Wayne10563105
Cattaraugus10254164
Cayuga9902114
Sullivan983090
Genesee8869146
Herkimer8557145
Clinton827948
Fulton7997115
Madison7563109
Warren755996
Tompkins755761
Livingston740277
Montgomery7353163
Washington691380
Tioga651774
Cortland616489
Allegany6146122
Columbia5842115
Chenango567997
Orleans567696
Franklin557826
Otsego553366
Wyoming546367
Greene505890
Delaware457652
Lewis429840
Seneca336069
Essex305938
Schoharie279424
Yates204134
Schuyler198920
Hamilton5253
Unassigned1482
Out of NY0340
Utica
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 22°
Oneonta
Partly Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 29°
Herkimer
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 22°
Old Forge
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 13°
Feels Like: 22°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
2022 WKTV Golf Card only $99.99
Game Day Deals - New Deals Each Week
Stuff the Bus Locations
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve