Causes of displacement : a look into the state of Puerto Rico's housing crisis before, during, and after Hurricane Maria

Reyes Cruz, Charmelis A.
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The displacement of Puerto Rican people due to social, political, and economic factors has created a cycle of disrepair, where migration trends due to precarious economic conditions prevent economic growth. The housing market on the island has also been affected, resulting in more people losing their homes or becoming rent-burdened. This report aims to understand Puerto Rico's socioeconomic situation, taking into consideration the impact of Hurricane Maria. To achieve this, an extensive literature review was conducted using reports from governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations, academic research papers, and news articles. US Census and American Community Survey data were also used to examine trends in the economy, demographics, and housing over the study period. The report is divided into three chapters: pre-storm conditions, storm impact, and post-storm conditions.

The research found that Puerto Rico's economic crisis was triggered by changes in tax law that repealed incentives for foreign companies to locate on the island, leading to a shift from manufacturing to a service-based economy. This resulted in younger families migrating due to a lack of alternatives, with Hurricane Maria worsening the situation by damaging the island's physical and economic infrastructure and prompting a population relocation. Recovery efforts have focused on attracting foreign investment rather than addressing preexisting issues, resulting in slow progress. Despite this, there have been some improvements in socioeconomic, demographic, and housing conditions.