Puerto Rican Diaspora Communities You Didn't Know Existed


Puerto Ricans might share the same heritage, history, language and culture, but if you’re talking to a puertorriqueña from la isla and a Nuyorican from the Northeast, you’ll spot some obvious differences – so much so that we distinguish ourselves from each other.

In my largely Puerto Rican-populated high school in Orlando, Florida, there were the “mira miras,” the Boris from the island, and then there were Nuyoricans, those urban puertorriqueños from New York or New Jersey, and we were often so culturally different that we rarely even chatted with each other – never mind that we were all creating an entirely new diasporic group as Puerto Ricans in Orlando, the city with the fastest-growing Bori population.

On that, let’s take a look at some PR diaspora communities.

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1. Nuyoricans: This portmanteau of the terms "New York" and "Puerto Rican" literally refers to Boricuas in New York City, though it's an identity that Puerto Ricans in neighboring cities, including Northeast areas in New Jersey and Connecticut, use, too.

2. Chicago Ricans: While Chicago rarely ever gets the same recognition for its PR population as New York does, the city boasts one of the biggest Boricua populations and has one of the longest histories of Puerto Rican migration and political activism in the country.

3. Philly Ricans: Like Chicago, Philadelphia has a long history of Boricuas. Puerto Ricans, who migrated in masses from the 1940s to the 1970s, make up the largest Latino group in the city. You can also find a large population of this group in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

4. Massachusetts Ricans: Boricuas in Massachusetts, particularly Springfield, are also heavy. During the Great Depression, Puerto Ricans were often the first to be laid off from their industrial jobs, leaving folks without the income for their rents. In search of affordable housing, many of these Boris moved to Massachusetts.

5. Cleveland Ricans: Believe it or not, there’s a huge, long and vibrant PR community even in Cleveland, Ohio. The population in the city skyrocketed around the 1940s, when Cleveland’s industrial scene started to grow.

6. Orlando Ricans: The Puerto Rican population in Florida is so big – and growing so quickly – that it’s expected to lead New York by 2020. That same year, Boris in the Sunshine State are projected to outnumber Cubans. And they’re mostly heading to Central Florida, making the Greater Orlando Area a site for a new Puerto Rican diaspora, one where la isla meets the Northeast and has the Dirty South as its backdrop.

7. Texas Ricans: Believe it or not, but Texas has one of the fastest-growing Puerto Rican populations in the country, with many of the Boris migrating to the state coming from Florida.

8. Cali Ricans: The Puerto Rican community in California may not match its Mexican or Salvadoran populations – like at all – but it’s mushrooming quickly, so much so that the group even has its own parade and festival.

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As the second-largest Latino group in the U.S., you can find that red, white and blue Caribbean flag across the country, from the Northeast and the Dirty South to the Midwest and the Southwest. With that, there’s no doubt that this non-comprehensive list of PR diasporas in the country is missing the “Little San Juan” in your ‘hood. If so, let us know! We want to hear about the Bori culture that’s both familiar and unique to your barrio.