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* Puerto Rican

Puerto Rico was annexed by the United States from Spain in 1898, with Puerto Ricans granted U.S. citizenship by birth in 1917. As a result, Puerto Ricans in the mainland United States are not "immigrants" in the literal sense of the term.

The majority of Puerto Rican immigration to the United States has occurred since the end of the Second World War. As of 1940, there were fewer than 70,000 Puerto Ricans living on the mainland. After the war, an abundance of employment opportunities to drew large numbers of Puerto Ricans to New York and other U.S. industrial centers. Today, there are more than 2.5 million people of Puerto Rican ancestry living in the United States, with almost 1 million of these residing in New York City.

Puerto Rican immigration has tended to be highly fluid, with many Puerto Ricans moving to the mainland and back to the island several times during the course of their lives.

Contacts and Sources

Institute of Genealogy and History for Latin America
316 West 500 North
St. George, UT 84770
Telephone: (801) 652-1710
Fax: (801) 674-5787
For more information about the Institute of Genealogy and History for Latin America, see the topic Institute of Genealogy and History for Latin America.

Hispanic Genealogical Society of New York
The Puerto Rican Cultural Heritage House
1230 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10025
Telephone: (212) 532-3662
Web site:

Web Sites

In Helpful Web Sites, you can find links to useful resources about Puerto Rico.


  • Puerto Rico: Research Guide, by Lyman D. Platt
  • Puerto Rican Americans: The Meaning of Migration to the Mainland, by Joseph P. Fitzpatrick
  • Puerto Rican Poverty and Migration: We Just Had to Try Elsewhere, by Julio Morales

For some tips on researching abroad, see the topic All about international resources.

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