The Emigration Dialectic: Puerto Rico and the U.S.A

By Manuel Maldonado-Denis | Go to book overview

2
EMIGRATION AND NEO-MALTHUSIANISM

An abstract law of population exists for plants and animals only, and only insofar as man has not interfered with them.

KARL MARX

Let us proceed from an incontestable demographic fact which Dr. José Luis Vàzquez Calzada, one of our most distinguished demographers, describes as "one of the largest population exoduses registered by contemporary history." The magnitude of this exodus can be seen in the following statistics: between 1898 and 1944, approximately 90,000 people emigrated from Puerto Rico to the United States. During the 1940s, 150,000 Puerto Ricans emigrated; in the 1950s, 40,000. This leads Vàzquez Calzada to claim that: "If we add to the total number of emigrants the number of children who would have been born to them had they remained on the Island, we arrive at the conclusion that, between 1940 and 1960, the Island lost around one million people as a result of this mass emigration."1Vàzquez Calzada also indicates that during the 1950s, 70 percent of the emigrants were between the ages of 15 and 39.

Despite the fact that some 50,000 Puerto Ricans returned to Puerto Rico during the 1950s, and 253,212 during the 1960s, the facts show that we are clearly dealing with a massive emigration. During this same period, 586,636 Puerto Ricans emigrated to the United States, leaving a net emigration balance of 253,212 (in the 1960's).2 The full picture shows that within the period from 1945 to today, more than half a million Puerto Ricans have emigrated to the metropolis and settled there. This helps explain why there are, conservatively speaking, a grand total of one and a half million Puerto Ricans on U.S. soil, and probably closer to two million if we also count third generation emigrant Boricuas.

-47-

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The Emigration Dialectic: Puerto Rico and the U.S.A
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Translator's Note 6
  • Contents 7
  • List of Tables 9
  • Preface 11
  • Prologue to the English Language Edition 13
  • 1 - Mode of Production And Emigration 27
  • 2 - Emigration And Neo-Malthusianism 47
  • 3 - A Brief Retrospective 59
  • 4 - The Great Metropolis 69
  • 5 - The Agricultural Emigrants 83
  • 6 - The Problem Of Cultural Assimilation 95
  • 7 - Those Who Return 117
  • Final Observations 129
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