New York City Hispanics

About half of New York City’s 1.8 million Hispanic residents are of Puerto Rican descent, the island has been a US possession since 1898, and its people have been US citizens since 1917. They began migrating here from the island in significant numbers during the Depression and began displacing Italians in East Harlem.

As citizens, Puerto Ricans may enter the United States without restriction; New York has a higher number of Puerto Rican citizens than any other American city, more than in Puerto Rico’s capital of San Juan. Throughout the 1960s, political activism by ‘Nuyoricans’ led to increased recognition of their contribution to city life and to the establishment of several important cultural institutions, including the Museo del Barrio near East Harlem.

Over the past 20 years, Latinos from many other countries have arrived in significant numbers. Immigrants from Ecuador and Colombia have created new communities in Queens, and the Washington Heights neighborhood in Manhattan is home to many former citizens of the Dominican Republic and El Salvador.

Hispanics historically have accounted for more than a third of all legal immigration to the United States, they are mostly people who wish to work hard for their family and make a better life than their homeland can support.

In 1958 New York held its first Puerto Rican Day Parade, in 1995 this evolved into the National Puerto Rican Day Parade and became a permanent fixture in the city’s cultural events.