Even during Spanish rule, Puerto Ricans settled in the US.However, it was not until the end of the Spanish–American War in 1898 that a significant influx of Puerto Rican workers to the US began. The absolute increase in the size of the Puerto Rican population of the New York metropolitan area between 20 roughly approximates the total Puerto Rican population of the Orlando Metropolitan Area, which enumerated over 320,000 in 2013.These communities were displaced by the city as part of their slum clearance.
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There is also the National Puerto Rican Coalition in Washington, DC, the National Puerto Rican Forum, the Puerto Rican Family Institute, Boricua College, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies of the City University of New York at Hunter College, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, and the New York League of Puerto Rican Women, Inc., among others.
The Migration Division (known as the "Commonwealth Office"), also part of Puerto Rico’s Department of Labor, was created in 1948, and by the end of the 1950s, was operating in 115 cities and towns stateside.
There are significant Puerto Rican communities in all five boroughs.
Philippe Bourgois, an anthropologist who has studied Puerto Ricans in the inner city, suggests that "the Puerto Rican community has fallen victim to poverty through social marginalization due to the transformation of New York into a global city." The Puerto Rican population in East Harlem and New York City as a whole remains the poorest among all migrant groups in US cities.
In the 1930s there was an enclave around 35th and Michigan.
In the 1950s two small barrios emerged known as la Clark and La Madison just North and West of Downtown, near hotel jobs and then where the factories once stood.New York City also became the mecca for freestyle music in the 1980s, of which Puerto Rican singer-songwriters represented an integral component. Representing 8% of Philadelphia's total population and 75% of the city's Hispanic/Latino population, as of 2010.Puerto Ricans are the largest Latino group in the city and that, outside Puerto Rico, Philadelphia now has the second largest Puerto Rican population, estimated at over 130,000.At 10% of the Latino population in the United States, Puerto Ricans are the second-largest Latino group nationwide, after Mexican-Americans, and are 1.5% of the entire population of the United States.Despite newer migration trends, New York City continues to be home by a significant margin to the largest demographic and cultural center for Puerto Rican on the Mainland United States, with Philadelphia having the second-largest community.They helped others settle, find work, and build communities by relying on social networks containing friends and family.