New Census Bureau data shows Puerto Rico lost nearly 4% of its population after Hurricane Maria – what one demographer says is the greatest population drop in the recorded history of the island.
Data released Thursday shows the U.S. territory’s population dropped by 129,848 people between July 2017 and July 2018.
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The hurricane struck two months into that period, in September 2017.
The population loss was due to both deaths and people moving away, although emigration accounted for most of the decrease.
The heaviest population drops occurred in metropolitan areas such as the capital of San Juan, the city of Ponce and surrounding areas.
Many Puerto Ricans left for Florida and New York, home to communities of people from the territory.
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