Puerto Ricans in the Aftermath of Hurricane María

Excess Deaths in Puerto Rico 

Given the ongoing discussion of the number of deaths attributable to Hurricane María, in collaboration with Jeffrey T. Howard (Independent Demographer and Epidemiologist), I (we) conducted an analysis of deaths attributable to Hurricane María – in comparison to historical patterns. The pre-print is available here.  It was the most read article for November 2017 (Posted November 20, 2017), and was downloaded more than 1,200 times between November 20 and November 30.

The report also drew attention from media outlets including CNN, VOX, and other media outlets. A list of these media outlets is available here.

Spatial Distribution of deaths in Puerto Rico following Hurricane María

Maps for excess deaths for September and October 2017, can be accessed here.

Puerto Rico Diaspora Study

The purpose of the Puerto Rican Diaspora Study is to understand the relations of the Puerto Rican diaspora with family still living in Puerto Rico and whether they have reestablished communication with them. To understand the degree to which the Puerto Rican diaspora is dealing with social and economic stability issues as a consequence of Hurricane María and how they vary by relation with their closest family member in Puerto Rico. The final objective is to contextualize the coping mechanisms of the Puerto Rican diaspora as it relates to Hurricane María, and how crisis management influences their perceptions concerning potential migration dynamics.

You can access the survey here: Puerto Rican Diaspora Study.

The survey ran from October 17, 2017 until November 16, 2017.

What constitutes a diaspora? The movement, migration or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland (Merriam-Webster).

Are Puerto Ricans in the U.S. a diaspora? Yes.

Are Puerto Ricans who leave Puerto Rico to come to the United States migrants? Yes.

Why? Migration can be both internal (within a country) and international (between across national boundaries).

Collaborating organizations: 

I employed a social media recruitment approach with targeted advertisements for Puerto Ricans living in the United States. The recruitment process was aided by organizations that serve the Puerto Rican and Latino population in the United States. These include El Diario Nueva York, LULAC , Latino Rebels, Latino Justice, Boricua Times, Hispanic Federation and Josue “Jay” Fonseca. The effort has also benefited from individuals who have shared the survey instrument through their social networks.

Who are we?

The study is led by Dr. Alexis R. Santos, Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology and Director of the Applied Demography Program at the Pennsylvania State University. You can contact him via e-mail ars39@psu.edu or telephone (814) 863-9718.




The study is conducted under the auspices of the Institutional Review Board (Study ID: STUDY00008403).

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