JACQUELINE ANN DELP, Fordham University


The Puerto Rican migration to the mainland, as one of the last large migrations to the United States has received careful scrutiny. Testing theories of assimilation against the experiences of this population has led some researchers to propose that Puerto Ricans are among the "unmeltable ethnics." Research on first and second generation Puerto Ricans, however, is inconclusive. The continuing poor ecomonic status of the population has been documented, with particular concern noted for the position of young Puerto Ricans as one minority facing the severe restrictions of the urban labor market. But little or no research exists on the labor force status of the young Puerto Rican. This study explores the relationship between the labor force status of young Puerto Ricans (measured by rates of labor force participation and unemployment, and occupational distributions) and socio-demographic and migrant status variables known, or expected, to be associated with the labor force status of the young. Using previously run special tabulations of the 1970 Census, 16-24 year old New York City Puerto Rican males and females were subdivided by migrant generation and recency of migration and compared to all other youth in New York City. Employing techniques of direct and indirect standardization and indices of dissimilarity, the effects of differential age structures, educational attainment, school enrollment, and for women, marital status and fertility, were removed and the subsequent change in rates of participation or unemployment calculated. Analysis demonstrated that the six subgroups of Puerto Rican youth (both sexes, by parentage, island born/here in 1965, island born/not here in 1965) are very distinct in composition on the variable considered. Further, recency of migration is strongly related to performance in the labor market. Differential age structures and educational attainment explain much of the observed difference between most Puerto Rican youth subgroups and all others. Only the young parentage male and the most recent migrant female do not follow this pattern. For these two groups, variables not tested, specifically, attitudinal/cultural variables and labor market structure are suggested as affecting the outcome.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

DELP, JACQUELINE ANN, "PUERTO RICAN YOUTH IN THE NEW YORK LABOR MARKET - 1970" (1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8219236.