About Puerto Rico

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  • Population: 4 million
  • Languages: Spanish, English
  • Main religions: Roman Catholic (85%), Other (15%)

About Puerto Ricans

  • Local population: About 6,500
  • Why they came here: Unlike most other ethnic groups in the area, Puerto Ricans did not immigrate to the U.S. -- they were already citizens, as of 1917. Most Puerto Ricans moved to the contiguous United States in the 1950s to escape overcrowding and a lack of jobs back home.
  • When they came: 1950s

More resources:

  • "Boricuas: Influential Puerto Rican Writings — An Anthology," by Roberto Santiago
  • "The Puerto Rican Diaspora: Historical Perspectives," by Carmen Teresa Whalen and Victor Vazquez-Hernandez

David Gomez, 19, of Utica, hangs a flag of Puerto Rico during Proctor International Night at Proctor High School in 2009. Credit: Michael LaPolla/Observer-Dispatch
Utica resident Milagros Colon, originally from Puerto Rico, fries empanadas at the 4th annual Hispanic Heritage Festival in Hanna Park in 2010. Credit: Courtney Potts/Observer-Dispatch

Sources: CIA World Factbook, Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, 2006-2010 American Community Survey, Lehman College, O-D archives