Puerto Rican Population In California

2000 U.S. Census and the California Puerto Rican Population (for San Diego County)

The 2000 U.S. Census figures shows the following Puerto Rican population figures for the state of California, as well as for San Diego County. For example, these census figures show as follows:

California (State): 140,570 Puerto Ricans
San Diego County: 14,937 Puerto Ricans

The San Diego County PUERTO RICAN Population:

U.S. Census Data 1990 2000
San Diego County 12,163 14,937
City of San Diego 5,337 5,938
Carlsbad 213
Chula Vista 930 1,421
Coronado 177 155
Del Mar 7
El Cajon 332 565
Encinitas 121 130
Escondido 324 647
Imperial Beach 245
La Mesa 139 266
Lemon Grove 181 187
National City 578 358
Oceanside 1,066 1,306
Poway 228
San Clemente 98
San Marcos 258
Santee 210
Solana Beach 22
Vista 556


The above population census figures appeared in separate Tables, entitled "Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000" (Geographic Area). (Table DP-1). (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000). (pages: 1, 38, 205, 236, 263, 298, 347, 366, 368, 490, 564, 587, 717, 747, 821, 899, 917, 937, 960, 1075).

In contrast to the 2000 Census population figures, the 1990 figures showed as follows: 126,417 Puerto Ricans in the state of California.

Prepared by: Daniel Lopez (06/03/01)


The California Puerto Rican Population, the 2000 US Census + History

   25 years ago, in October 1976, the United States Commission on Civil Rights published a report entitled "Puerto Ricans in the Continental United States: An Uncertain Future". This report looked predominately at the eastern sea coasts states, as well as some in the Midwest states and areas with large concentrations of Puerto Ricans.

   However, relative to California, on March 2, 1976, the Western Region Puerto Rican Council (Concilio de Organizaciones Puertorriquenas del Oeste) wrote to the Commission requesting that a study be undertaken on Puerto Ricans in the Western Region of the United States.

   In January 1980, the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights, published a Staff Report of the Western Regional Office, entitled "Puerto Ricans in California" which provided census figures for the Puerto Rican population in California at that time. This later report expressed a concern that some still will argue still exists even till this day, in 2001, namely: "Puerto Ricans in California allege that they are an ethnic group growing in numbers in the State without official recognition of their problems and concerns. This lack of recognition, Puerto Rican spokespersons claim, hinders their ability to obtain support for community needs. Programs that might otherwise be tailored more closely to their needs are subsumed into less responsive organizational configurations and as a result Puerto Ricans in California continue to express feelings of being overlooked."

   Recognizing that "Puerto Ricans have been migrating to the United States for over 100 years, with the flow [substantially] increasing after the Second World War," it is important to note that "the first documented evidence of Puerto Ricans in California is a San Francisco Chronicle article reporting on [so-called] deserters from a New Orleans to San Francisco labor train who escaped in December 1900 in Pomona. This group made its way to Los Angeles. "The 1970 Census reported 46,955 Puerto Ricans in California. Los Angeles-Long Beach and San Francisco accounted for 32,002 Puerto Ricans out of the statewide total...." However, it should be noted that there were stated expressed concerns as to the accuracy of the census figures of Puerto Ricans, even back then! For example, the 1980 Report indicated: " Estimates of California's total Puerto Rican population thus range from the 1970 Bureau of the census figure of 46,955 to the 1977 Council on Intergroup Relations figure of 350,000. It is apparent that no reliable enumeration data on Puerto Ricans in California exist."

   Consequently, as far back as 1980, it was observed, and argued, that: "Puerto Ricans feel strongly that they are treated as a nonexistent group by most Californians. This complaint is usually attributed to the lack of adequate demographic information dealing with them as a population group." Below are the Census figures from the recent 2000 U.S. Census for the California Puerto Rican population, with an emphasis on the figures for San Diego County

Note: This article originally was published in La Casa de Puerto Rico's
San Diego newsletter entitled El Boricua (September/October 2001).    

Prepared and Compiled by:
Daniel M. Lopez, M.S. (University of Oregon)
San Diego, CA
September 4, 2001

For more information please contact:
La Casa de Puerto Rico
P.O. Box 81982
San Diego, CA  92138
(619) 685-2847



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