Hilda Lloréns is the author of Imaging the Great Puerto Rican Family: Framing Nation, Race, and Gender during the American Century (2014). Her writings about environmental injustice and racism, migration, and ecofeminism have been published in The Conversation, Sapiens, and NACLA, among others. She teaches anthropology in the Sociology and Anthropology Department at the University of Rhode Island.


Re-conceptualizing Puerto Rican Migration: From voluntary to economic and climate migrants

In the twenty-first century, Puerto Rican migration to the continental U.S. continues unabated, with migrants hailing from all socio-economic classes leading to the establishment of ethnic enclaves in the south and west coast. With over 5 million Puerto Ricans now living in the mainland and about 3.2 million on the island, there are growing concerns about the island’s depopulation. The scholarship about Puerto Rican migration is vast but has overwhelmingly conceptualized migration as voluntary. In this work, I seek to problematize this orthodoxy in two ways: (1) centering the notion that as “small places,” Caribbean islands, in this case Puerto Rico, have been dynamically populated and depopulated as a result of climatic and human factors since pre-colonial times; (2) due to long-term economic and environmental upheaval, PRs have long been economic and environmental migrants.

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