Moving to the US: Puerto Rican’s Top 5 States

By: Minerva Santiago

These days, Puerto Ricans choose to move to the United States for many different reasons. Whether its Florida’s sunny beaches, New York’s towering skyscrapers, Pennsylvania’s historical monuments, Texas’ southern hospitality, New Jersey’s natural wildlife preserves; these states have been favorites for Puerto Ricans choosing to move to the United States, according to the 2012 Federal Census, quoted in El Nuevo Día.


Picture taken by Minerva Santiago of Spaceship Earth in Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida.

Picture taken by Minerva Santiago of Spaceship Earth in Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida.

At 1150 miles from Puerto Rico and 2 hours and fifty minutes by airplane, Florida is the closest state from Puerto Rico. It is a costal state with many sandy, sunny beaches, which are very similar to the ones found in Puerto Rico.

Florida has a tropical climate, which consists of hot, humid weather, and abundant rainfall. This is very much like the climate in Puerto Rico. In the winter, however, you can feel the weather getting a little colder than in Puerto Rico, dropping to 50 degrees at its lowest.

Elian Ramos, a 23-year-old student at Saint Petersburg College, was 13-years-old when her family decided to move from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico to Largo, Florida. They decided to move to Florida because they had relatives that already lived there. When Ramos first arrived to Florida, she had a hard time getting used to the English language. “English was something new to me [and not speaking it] made me feel out of place,” she said.

Ramos also noticed a difference on how people interact with one another. “People are a little bit more distant and they don’t engage with you as the people in Puerto Rico,” she said. Like Ramos, 283,045 Puerto Ricans have had to adjust to living in Florida between 2001 and 2011, according to the 2012 Federal Census quoted in El Nuevo Día.

New York


Picture taken by Carlos Santiago of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

New York is located in the Northeastern region of the United States, 3 hours and forty three minutes from Puerto Rico. It’s most famous for New York City, which is known for its yellow cabs, immensely tall, grey skyscrapers, the bright lights of Time Square billboards, and its cultural diversity.

The climate in New York is mostly a humid continental climate. In the winter, the temperature lowers to negative 13 degrees Fahrenheit, and in the summer, the temperature can rise up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. New York is the home of many landmarks such as the colossal Brooklyn Bridge, the iconic Empire State Building and the symbolic Statue of Liberty.

Historically, Puerto Ricans have been a part of New York City for a very long time. “Puerto Ricans have been in New York City since the nineteenth century,” according to Puerto Ricans: Immigrants and Migrants.

Every year on the second Sunday in June, the Puerto Rican Day Parade takes place along Fifth Avenue, honoring the Puerto Ricans that live in the United States and in Puerto Rico. The first parade was held in the year 1958, according to National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc. This year’s parade marked its 55th anniversary. Between 2001 and 2011, according to the 2012 Federal Census quoted in El Nuevo Día, 107,601 Puerto Ricans moved to New York.


Pennsylvania is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, three hours and 40 minutes from Puerto Rico, and it’s located in the south of New York. It’s a very historical state, with landmarks such as the significant Liberty Bell, and the meaningful Independence Hall.

Pennsylvania mostly has a humid continental climate, and the Southeastern corner has subtropical climate. The winters are cold, with temperatures dropping to 36 degree Fahrenheit, and the summers are hot, reaching around 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Life in Pennsylvania is less expensive in comparison to the US average. As reported in, “The cost of living in Pennsylvania is 10.5 percent lower than the United States average,” According to the 2012 Federal Census quoted in El Nuevo Día, 106,562 Puerto Ricans moved to Pennsylvania between the years 2001 and 2011.


Texas, the largest state in the continental United States, is 4 hours and forty seven minutes from Puerto Rico. Texas is known for country dancing and bull riding. You can also find cactuses on the side of the road in the dry months. The climate in Texas is generally hot and dry in the summer and snow often falls in the winter.

The cost of living is relatively inexpensive. “You find a really good home to own with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms for about 150,000,” said Jacob Portalatín.  Portalatín is an army veteran who has lived in Killeen, Texas for almost three years. He had Texas as a location of interest when he rejoined the military. Portalatín had previously lived in Texas from 2004 to2007 because of military orders.

People in Texas also show Southern hospitality. “People in Texas are usually, very kind, they use the words Sir and Ma’am when talking to strangers and show good manners,” said Portalatín. Like Portalatín, 71,692 Puerto Ricans moved to Texas between 2001 and 2011, according to the 2012 Federal Census, quoted in El Nuevo Día.

New Jersey

New Jersey is located in the Northeast of the United States, south of New York. It has natural, peaceful lakes, ample wildlife preserves, ample green forest with crystal clear rivers. It also has cities with tall buildings and the famous Jersey Shore boardwalk. New Jersey’s climate is mostly a humid mesothermal climate. Summers are hot and humid and winters are cold, filled with snow.

Diane Vázquez, a 25-year-old school teacher, moved five months ago from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico to Jersey City, New Jersey. She chose to move because of greater job opportunities and to be close to her husband’s family. As a preschool teacher, she finds that children from New Jersey are not that different from children from Puerto Rico. “I think Puerto Rico has taken many customs from the US and due to that the children are alike in their behavior”.

As for describing her time in New Jersey, Vázquez said, “The opportunity of being in New Jersey has been amazing for me. I have had the opportunity of meeting new people and visiting new places.”

The main difference for her has been not having to drive. “In Puerto Rico I drove everywhere, but now I use the bus or the train,” she said. Like Vázquez, 71,198 Puerto Ricans moved to New Jersey between 2001 and 2011, according to the 2012 Federal Census, quoted in El Nuevo Día.

These five states are the most attractive to Puerto Ricans, and each one has their different qualities. Choosing where to live depends on the person’s particular reason for moving to the United States and their specific needs.


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