October 13, 2017


Puerto Rican exodus could boost Small Town, USA (Lydia DePillis, 10/13/17, CNNMoney)

They're already landing in Lorain, Ohio -- Puerto Rican families, with few possessions and bleak memories.

"We started to see it last week," says Victor Leandry, director of El Centro, a nonprofit social services agency based in this faded industrial town on the shores of Lake Erie. "Just today, we have at least four or five new families. When I walk into the building at nine in the morning, we are seeing already a migration."

This isn't the norm. In what's shaping up to be the second greatest exodus to the mainland since World War II, most Puerto Ricans fleeing the devastation of Hurricane Maria will end up in New York and Florida, where hundreds of thousands of islanders already live.

But as Puerto Rico's economy has deteriorated in recent years -- the country's diaspora has ballooned to 5.4 million people, far exceeding the 3.4 million who live on the island itself -- many have migrated to other parts of the U.S.

Some who leave the island as a result of Hurricane Maria will end up in lesser-known Puerto Rican communities in states like Ohio, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

Many towns, like Lorain, could really use the newcomers.

Posted by at October 13, 2017 6:37 PM