Monday, October 20, 2014

Holyoke Public Library to Present Report on Puerto Ricans Living in the US


“Puerto Ricans at the Dawn of the New Millennium,” a dynamic report on the social, political and health conditions of the Puerto Rican population in the United States, will be the subject of a special presentation by Edwin Melendez Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, CUNY, on Friday, October 31, from 6 to 8 PM in the Community Room of the Holyoke Library. The program will describe improvements that have been made in many of these aspects, as well as persistent challenges faced by many Puerto Rican residents.

The information to be presented is based largely on research included in the book, “Puerto Ricans at the Dawn of the New Millennium” published by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies (Centro) and demonstrates that this recent profile is dramatically different from what it was at the turn of the century. Over the last decade, with a combination of emigration and mainland U.S. births, the Puerto Rican population living in the United States outnumbers that on the island. During that period there has also been a concomitant change in population distribution, with Puerto Ricans dispersing across state lines.

While New York is still home to many Puerto Ricans, with more than one million, the rate of Puerto Rican mobility within the U. S. is higher than that of the general population. The South, particularly Central Florida, is the most popular destination on the mainland. Contrary to many media reports, the book notes, this pattern of migratory behavior is being fueled by the movement among those born in the United States and not only by island-born or recent migrants. Over the past decade, 7 out of 10 Puerto Ricans moving to another state, were born within the continental U.S.

Recent research also indicated that there is no appreciable evidence of a “brain drain” on the island contrary to popular belief that the island is in crises because its youngest professionals are leaving the island in droves for jobs and better opportunities in the United States. Evidence shows that the proportion of those highly educated is no greater than in the past.

The findings in “Puerto Ricans at the Dawn of the Millennium” also challenge the portrayal of Puerto Ricans as lacking socio-economic advancement, when compared with other immigrant groups. They also indicate that dispersion may be contributing to better socio-economic outcomes for stateside Puerto Ricans. Military service, for example, seems to be a factor contributing to this dispersion and offering a pathway for better socio-economic advancement for Puerto Rican youth.

“Puerto Ricans at the Dawn of the New Millennium” also presents new research on social, economic, political and health conditions of the Puerto Rican population in the United States, and also highlights the improvements and the challenges in this rapidly changing and growing community, which should prove to be of particular interest as we approach a national election in a few weeks.

Other locations hosting presentations of “Puerto Ricans at the Dawn of the New Millennium” include the New York University Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the University of Puerto Rico, Humacao, and Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe in San Jaun.

As this is expected to be a highly popular program with large attendance anticipated, advance reservations are strongly recommended. Reservations can be made by phone by calling the library during regular hours at 413-420-8101, or by registering in person as the Library Circulation Desk.

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