ORLANDO, Fla. – It's possible that the number of Puerto Ricans who moved to Florida after Hurricane Maria has been overestimated.
A new study released this month by the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research suggests that between 30,000 and 50,000 islanders settled in Florida in the past year. Researchers based this estimate on passenger flight data between Puerto Rico and Florida.
Earlier estimates based on such things as welcome-center visits and cellphone data had put the number well above 50,000 people.
The flight data from the beginning of the year also indicates a small number of Puerto Ricans have returned to the island.
Many Puerto Ricans were forced to seek jobs and housing on the mainland after Maria devastated Puerto Rico last year.