Every migratory movement has as its counterpart a current returning to the country of origin. The current returning to Puerto Rico was very small until the end of the decade of the 1950s. The census of 1970 showed that about 75,000 persons who had emigrated to the United States before 1965 returned to Puerto Rico between 1965 and 1970. It also found that another 116,000, who had emigrated between 1965 and 1970 and had lived in the United States for six months or more, returned to Puerto Rico before the census of 1970.
Together with this return current, and in part as its consequence, thousands of children of emigrants born in the United States came to live in Puerto Rico. Given its size, this group has had a marked impact on Puerto Rican society, an impact so large that in Puerto Rico they have been called newyorricans or neorricans.
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census in 1970, some 128,341 persons of Puerto Rican stock, though born abroad, were residing in Puerto Rico. Of this group, 106,947 were born in the United States and another 21,394 were born in other countries or territories. Their high concentration in urban and metropolitan areas makes them particularly noticeable. In 1970, 70 percent of them resided in urban areas of Puerto Rico, and 53 percent lived in metropolitan areas. Of the metropolitan areas, San Juan attracted the most immigrants as it was the place where 41 percent of the population of Puerto Rican stock born abroad lived (Table 1) [Table1].
The immense majority of the immigrants of Puerto Rican stock were children. Almost two thirds of the group (64 percent) were less than 15 years of age. On the other hand, there were very few immigrants of Puerto Rican stock who were elderly. Only 2 percent of this population was 65 or older. The makeup of the immigrant group by age contrasts markedly with the population of Puerto Rico. The median age, for example, was only 12 for the population of Puerto Rican stock born abroad, and 22 for the overall population of Puerto Rico.
The fact that almost a 10 percent of the school-age population of Puerto Rico was made up of persons of Puerto Rican stock born abroad placed formidable pressure on the school system of Puerto Rico. The greatest impact of this group on the school system was at the elementary and intermediate levels, due to the high concentration of immigrants of the ages 4 to 14. Approximately 90 percent of the immigrant children of Puerto Rican origin from to 19 years of age who were enrolled in the schools of Puerto Rico attended public schools.
The level of education of the immigrants was relatively high in comparison with the Puerto Rican population. On average, the immigrants had a two-year advantage over the Puerto Rican population. The median number of school years completed by immigrants was 8.9 in 1970, as contrasted with 6.9 for the population of Puerto Rico.
In 1970, around 15,000 immigrants of Puerto Rican stock were employed. Of this group, 60 percent were in the service sector, 35 percent were employed in industry, and only 5 percent derived their income from agriculture. Their great dependence on service for employment is markedly greater than that of the employed population of Puerto Rico. Business and public administration were the two most important items in the service category for immigrant males. For women, professional services stood out, as one out of every three women immigrants was so employed.
According to the census of 1970, 50 percent of the employed immigrants had white collar jobs, compared to 39 percent for the population of Puerto Rico. This figure includes professionals, technicians and similar workers, managers, administrators, sales personnel, and office workers. The general characteristics of the occupational structure of the immigrants of Puerto Rican stock were very similar to those of the Puerto Rican population.
Among the persons who had an income, the incomes of immigrants was higher than that of Puerto Ricans. The median income for immigrants with an income, for example, was $2,455 in 1970, while for the corresponding group of the Puerto Rican population, the figure was $1,981. A little more than 50 percent of the population of Puerto Rican stock born abroad lived in conditions of poverty, compared with 63.4 percent for the population of Puerto Rico.
Autor: José L Vázquez Calzada Published:September 15, 2010.
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