Puerto Ricans on the U.S. Mainland

  • Cristalís CapieloEmail author
  • Amber Schaefer
  • Jorge Ballesteros
  • Marlaine M. Monroig
  • Fengheng Qiu
Part of the International and Cultural Psychology book series (ICUP)


Puerto Rico, the United States’ oldest colony, harbors a long-standing history and evolving relationship with the mainland US. While both Puerto Rican and American, individuals from this island nation are faced with a unique set of challenges and, at times, conflicting identities and loyalties that make them both vulnerable and resilient in the face of adversity. Reporting on the most recent demographics, migration patterns, mental health and health disparities, socioeconomic factors, perceived discrimination, stunted perception of social mobility, as well as personal testimonies and biographies of Puerto Ricans, the authors use a historical and transnational perspective to delve into the lived experiences of this population. This chapter was formulated with the purpose of capturing how both historical and current events continue to shape the island nation, its people, and the perception of the two.

Further, this chapter also examines the concept of colonialism and the subsequent consequences it continues to have on Puerto Ricans, thereby starting the conversation on the responsibility that the mainland US has towards its Puerto Rican brethren and fellow American citizens. Evidence from the current administration and personal testimonies are intertwined with empirical findings to draw conclusions and make suggestions about how service providers can address the current disparities and challenges faced by the island. Finally, the chapter closes on examining how cultural values can serve as a buffer to the disparities faced by Puerto Ricans, resulting in a culture rich in resilience and grit.


Puerto Ricans Migration Transnationalism Colonialism Health Resilience Self-determination 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cristalís Capielo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amber Schaefer
    • 1
  • Jorge Ballesteros
    • 1
  • Marlaine M. Monroig
    • 2
  • Fengheng Qiu
    • 1
  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.The University of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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