Puerto Ricans Have Always Been Badly Off
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From The Atlantic in its pre-clickbait days:

The Other Underclass

Most people think of inner-city poverty as a black phenomenon. But it is also alarmingly high among Puerto Ricans, the worst-off ethnic group in the country–even though Puerto Rico itself has made great progress against poverty and there is a growing Puerto Rican middle-class on the mainland

by Nicholas Lemann

December 1991

… As soon as the Hispanic category is broken down by group, what leaps out at anyone who takes even a casual look at the census data is that Puerto Ricans are the worst off ethnic group in the United States. For a period in the mid-1980s nearly half of all Puerto Rican families were living in poverty. It seems commonsensical that for Hispanics poverty would be a function of their unfamiliarity with the mainland United States, inability to speak English, and lack of education. But Mexican Americans, who are no more proficient in English than Puerto Ricans, less likely to have finished high school, and more likely to have arrived here very recently, have a much lower poverty rate. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported earlier this year that, as the newsletter of a leading Puerto Rican organization put it, “On almost every health indicator…Puerto Ricans fared worse” than Mexican-Americans or Cubans. Infant mortality was 50 percent higher than among Mexican-Americans, and nearly three times as high as among Cubans.

The statistics also show Puerto Ricans to be much more severely afflicted than Mexican-Americans by what might be called the secondary effects of poverty, such as family breakups, and not trying to find employment–which work to ensure that poverty will continue beyond one generation. In 1988 females headed 44 percent of Puerto Rican families, as opposed to 18 percent of Mexican-American families. Mexican-Americans had a slightly higher unemployment rate, but Puerto Ricans had a substantially higher rate in the sociologically ominous category “labor force non-participation,” meaning the percentage of people who haven’t looked for a job in the previous month.

Practically everybody in America feels some kind of emotion about blacks, but Puerto Rican leaders are the only people I’ve ever run across for whom the emotion is pure envy. In New York City, black median family income is substantially higher than Puerto Rican, and is rising more rapidly. The black home-ownership rate is more than double the Puerto Rican rate. Puerto Rican families are more than twice as likely as black families to be on welfare, and are about 50 percent more likely to be poor. In the mainland United States, Puerto Ricans have nothing like the black institutional network of colleges, churches, and civil-rights organizations; there isn’t a large cadre of visible Puerto Rican successes in nearly every field; black politicians are more powerful than Puerto Rican politicians in all the cities with big Puerto Rican populations; and there is a feeling that blacks have America’s attention, whereas Puerto Ricans, after a brief flurry of publicity back in West Side Story days, have become invisible.

Puerto Ricans are a very interesting test case for immigration advocates. They’ve enjoyed open borders with the United States. Even before Hurricane Maria, a sizable majority, such as 3/5ths of all Puerto Ricans lived in the 50 states.

The US massively subsidized Puerto Ricans to stay home, but in 2006 a big tax break subsidizing jobs in Puerto Rico was allowed to expire by Congress on the grounds that Puerto Ricans were finally ready.

The Puerto Rican economy promptly collapsed and rapid depopulation of the island began. Democrats and the media paid almost no attention to how awful Puerto Rican institutions have been allowed to become during the Obama Years, probably in hopes that the exodus from Puerto Rico to Orlando promises to tip purple Florida’s 29 Electoral Votes permanently blue. For example, the atrocious performance of public school students in Puerto Rico on the federal NAEP simply never made the news in the U.S.

Now with Trump around to be blamed, Democrats and the media are vaguely interested in PR again.

[Comment at Unz.com]

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