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People, Migration

states of New York, Operation Bootstrap, mainland United States, Puerto Ricans, Migration

In the late 1990s some 3.1 million Puerto Ricans lived on the U.S. mainland, the majority of them in the states of New York, New Jersey, and Florida. In general, Puerto Ricans went to the mainland in search of better economic opportunities.

Migration was particularly extensive during the first decades of industrialization, from the early 1940s through the 1960s. As people moved from rural to urban areas, the new manufacturing companies did not have enough jobs to offer. With no jobs in the cities, many Puerto Ricans left the island to go to the mainland to find employment. In fact, one of the reasons that Operation Bootstrap was successful was that hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans migrated to the mainland United States, easing economic pressure on the island.

Migration also increased in the early 1980s because of a serious economic recession on the island. As the economy recovered later in the decade, emigration declined. Migration helped to relieve competition for jobs in Puerto Rico and decreased the number of people the relatively impoverished island had to feed. It also provided a source of external income as emigrants on the mainland sent cash to relatives in Puerto Rico, thus somewhat aiding the islandís economy.

The migration of Puerto Ricans to the United States has created a Puerto Rican presence in the mainland nearly as large as the population of the island itself. By the late 1990s many Puerto Ricans were second- or third-generation residents of the mainland. Some traced their heritage back even further.

Article key phrases:

states of New York, Operation Bootstrap, mainland United States, Puerto Ricans, Migration, relatives, urban areas, Puerto Rico, New Jersey, mainland, population, island, Florida, cash, heritage, reasons, cities, decade, majority, number of people, competition, employment, United States, emigrants, people, emigration, hundreds of thousands, jobs


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