Table of Contents
An estimated 5.8 million Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin lived in the United States in 2021, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Puerto Ricans in this statistical profile are people who self-identified as Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin and lived in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia; this includes those who were born in Puerto Rico and those who trace their family ancestry to Puerto Rico.
Puerto Ricans are the second-largest population of Hispanic origin living in the United States, accounting for 9% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2021. (An additional 3.3 million people live in Puerto Rico.)
From 2000 to 2021, the Puerto Rican-origin U.S. population increased 71%, growing from 3.4 million to 5.8 million. At the same time, the population of those born in Puerto Rico and living in the 50 states and D.C. grew by 25%, from 1.3 million in 2000 to 1.6 million in 2021. By comparison, Mexicans, the nation’s largest Hispanic origin group, constituted 37.2 million, or 60%, of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2021.
For a downloadable spreadsheet of these findings, see “U.S. Hispanic population data (detailed tables).”
|Year||Total, including foreign-born Puerto Ricans||Born in U.S. 50 states or D.C.||Born in Puerto Rico|
Note: The “Total” figure for Puerto Ricans is the sum of the U.S.-born and foreign-born Puerto Rican population. Those born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens at birth. Figures greater than 1 million are rounded to the nearest 100,000; other figures greater than 100,000 are rounded to the nearest 10,000; figures that are less than or equal to 100,000 and greater than 25,000 are rounded to the nearest 5,000.
Source: Pew Research Center tabulations of the 2000 census (5% IPUMS) and the 2010 and 2021 American Community Surveys (1% IPUMS).
The following key facts compare demographic and economic characteristics of the Puerto Rican-origin population in the U.S. with the characteristics of U.S. Hispanics and the U.S. population overall. They are based on Pew Research Center tabulations of the 2021 American Community Survey.
- 28% of Puerto Ricans who live in the 50 states and D.C. were born in Puerto Rico.
- 20% of U.S. Hispanics ages 25 and older have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 24% of Puerto Ricans.
- Among Puerto Ricans ages 25 and older, 23% of those born in Puerto Rico have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 25% of those born in the 50 states and D.C.
- Among U.S. Hispanics, the median annual personal earnings for those ages 16 and older was $30,000, compared with $34,000 for Puerto Ricans.
- Looking at full-time, year-round workers, U.S. Hispanics earned less than Puerto Ricans ($40,000 vs. $45,000).
- The share of U.S. Hispanics overall who live in poverty is 18%, compared with 21% of Puerto Ricans living in the 50 states and D.C.
- 22% of Puerto Ricans born in Puerto Rico live in poverty, as do 20% of Puerto Ricans born in the 50 states and D.C.
- The rate of homeownership among U.S. Hispanic households (51%) is higher than the rate for Puerto Rican households in the 50 states and D.C. (43%).
- Among Puerto Ricans, rates of homeownership are the same for household headed by a Puerto Rican born in the 50 states and D.C. and those headed by a Puerto Rican born in Puerto Rico (43% each).
Top states of residence
- The Puerto Rican population is concentrated in Florida (21%), New York (17%), New Jersey (8%), Pennsylvania (8%) and Massachusetts (6%).
- The median ages of U.S. Hispanics (29.5) and Puerto Ricans (31.0) are lower than that of the U.S. population (37.8).
- U.S. Hispanics ages 18 and older are more likely to be married (46%) than Puerto Ricans (39%).
- Among Puerto Ricans ages 18 and older, those born in the 50 states and D.C. are less likely to be married than those born in Puerto Rico (36% vs. 45%).
- 6% of U.S. Hispanic females ages 15 to 44 gave birth in the 12 months prior to the July 2021 American Community Survey. The rate for Puerto Rican females was the same (6%).
- 72% of U.S. Hispanics ages 5 and older speak only English at home or speak English at least “very well,” compared with 83% of Puerto Ricans.
- Meanwhile, 67% of Hispanic adults are English proficient, as are 80% of Puerto Rican adults.
Note: This is an update of a fact sheet originally published in September 2019, which former Research Analyst Antonio Flores contributed to and co-wrote.
Pew Research Center’s fact sheets on U.S. Latinos and the accompanying blog post examine the Latino population of the United States overall and by its 17 largest origin groups – Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Salvadorans, Dominicans, Cubans, Guatemalans, Colombians, Hondurans, Spaniards, Ecuadorians, Peruvians, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, Argentines, Panamanians, Chileans and Costa Ricans. These sheets provide detailed geographic, demographic and economic characteristics for all Latinos and for each Latino origin group. They are based on the Center’s tabulations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 and 2021 American Community Survey (ACS) and the 2000 U.S. decennial census.
The ACS is the largest household survey in the United States, with a sample of more than 3 million addresses. It covers the topics previously covered in the long form of the decennial census. The ACS is designed to provide estimates of the size and characteristics of the resident population, which includes persons living in households and group quarters. For more about the ACS, including the sampling strategy and associated error, see the 2010 or 2021 American Community Survey’s Accuracy of the Data document provided by the Census Bureau.
The specific data sources for these fact sheets are the 1% samples of the 2010 and 2021 ACS Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) provided by the University of Minnesota and the 5% sample of the 2000 decennial census. IPUMS assigns uniform codes, to the extent possible, to data collected by the decennial census and the ACS from 1850 to 2021. For more information about IPUMS, including variable definition and sampling error, please visit the “IPUMS Documentation and User Guide.”
Due to differences in the way in which IPUMS and Census Bureau adjust income data and assign poverty status, data provided on these topics might differ from data that are provided by the Census Bureau.
For the purposes of these fact sheets, the foreign born include those persons who identified as naturalized citizens or noncitizens and are living in the 50 states or the District of Columbia. Persons born in Puerto Rico and other outlying territories of the U.S. and who are now living in the 50 states or D.C. are included in the U.S.-born population.