Out-migration from and return migration to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria: evidence from the consumer credit panel

Jack DeWaard, Janna E. Johnson, Stephan D. Whitaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


In this research brief, we contribute to a much-needed, initial, and growing inventory of data on Puerto Rican migration after Hurricane Maria. Using data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York/Equifax Consumer Credit Panel, we provide a detailed account of out-migration from and return migration to Puerto Rico in the quarters and years after Hurricane Maria. We show that out-migration from Puerto Rico was and remains elevated after Hurricane Maria, particularly for more vulnerable places with respect to water area and especially substandard housing. We also show that return migration to Puerto Rico by the second quarter of 2019 is low, 12–13%, with those emigrating from relatively more vulnerable places returning to the island at comparably higher levels than those from less vulnerable places. Taken together, our results help to round out a small, but growing body of research on migration after Hurricane Maria and other extreme weather events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-42
Number of pages15
JournalPopulation and Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
DeWaard and Johnson acknowledge support from center grant #P2C HD041023 awarded to the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, as well as technical advice from David Van Riper. Acknowledgments

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Nature B.V.


  • Consumer credit panel
  • Hurricane Maria
  • Migration
  • Out-migration
  • Return migration


Dive into the research topics of 'Out-migration from and return migration to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria: evidence from the consumer credit panel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this