Total population
1,070,558 Americans
23.15% of nationwide Puerto Rican population in 2010
5.5% of New York state population in 2010[1]
Regions with significant populations
New York City, New York

American English (Puerto Rican English), Puerto Rican Spanish


Predominantly Roman Catholic and Protestant

Nuyorican Poets Café, Alphabet City, Manhattan, New York

Nuyorican is a portmanteau of the terms "New York" and "Puerto Rican" and refers to the members or culture of the Puerto Rican diaspora located in or around New York City, or of their descendants (especially those raised or still living in the New York area). This term could be used for Puerto Ricans living in other areas in the Northeast outside New York State. The term is also used by Boricuas (Puerto Ricans from Puerto Rico) to differentiate those of Puerto Rican descent from the Puerto Rico-born.

The term Nuyorican is also sometimes used to refer to the Spanish spoken by New York Puerto Ricans. An estimated 1,800,000 Nuyoricans are said to live in New York city, the largest Puerto Rican community outside Puerto Rico. Nuyoricans are not considered Puerto Ricans by some island Puerto Ricans due to cultural differences; this is a very controversial topic amongst both groups of Puerto Ricans.[2] Nuyorican has a broad meaning; originally it meant Puerto Ricans, both island-born and mainland-born, living in New York, but many island-born Puerto Ricans use the term to describe assimilated Americans of Puerto Rican descent, living in any US state, or very assimilated or "Americanized" people of Puerto Rican ancestry, who largely lost touch with traditional Puerto Rican culture, and grew up culturally American, though still identify with Puerto Rico.[3] Ethnic enclaves centered on Puerto Ricans include Spanish Harlem, Manhattan; Williamsburg, Brooklyn; and the South Bronx.


The Oxford English Dictionary cites this word as evolving slowly through roughly the last third of the 20th century, with the first cited reference being poet Jaime Carrero using neorriqueño in 1964 as a Spanish-language adjective combining neoyorquino and puertorriqueño. Many other variants developed along the way, including neoricano, neorican (also written as Neo-Rican and Neorican), and newyorican (also written as New Yorrican). Nuyorican itself dates at least from 1975, the date of the first public sessions of the Nuyorican Poets Café. Some of the best known "Nuyoricans" who have written and performed their experiences of being a Puerto Rican in New York are: Miguel Piñero, Miguel Algarín, Piri Thomas, Sandra María Esteves, Willie Colón, Pedro Pietri, and Giannina Braschi .[4] Some of the newer poets: Willie Perdomo, Flaco Navaja, Nancy Mercado, Emanuel Xavier, Edwin Torres J.L. Torres, Caridad de la Luz aka La Bruja, Lemon Andersen, and Bonafide Rojas

Historically, the term has been used as a derogatory term by native Puerto Ricans when describing a person that has Puerto Rican ancestry but is born in the 50 states or a different commonwealth/territory. It also can sometimes include those born in Puerto Rico who now live elsewhere in the United States (other than New York). This changed from the original meaning with the increase in travel back and forth to different parts of the United States and the globe.

While the term has negative connotations to some, it is proudly used by some members of this community to identify their history and cultural affiliation to a common ancestry while being separated from the island, both physically and through language and cultural shifts. This distance created a dual identity that, while still somewhat identifying with the island, recognizes the influences both geography and cultural assimilation have had. Puerto Ricans in other cities have coined similar terms, including "Philly Rican" for Puerto Ricans in Philadelphia, and "Chi-Town Rican" for Puerto Ricans in Chicago.


Many Nuyoricans are second- and third-generation Puerto Rican Americans whose parents or grandparents arrived in the New York metropolitan area during the Gran Migración (Great Migration). Puerto Ricans began to arrive in New York City in the nineteenth century but especially following the passage of the Jones-Shafroth Act on March 2, 1917, which granted U.S. citizenship to virtually all Puerto Ricans.[5] The Gran Migración accelerated migration from Puerto Rico to New York during the 1940s and 1950s, but such large-scale emigration began to slow by the late 1960s.[6]

Historically, Nuyoricans resided in the predominantly Hispanic/Latino section of Manhattan known as Spanish Harlem, and around the Loisaida section of the East Village, but later spread across the city into newly created Puerto Rican/Nuyorican enclaves in Brooklyn, Queens and the South Bronx. Today, there are fewer island-born Puerto Ricans than mainland-born Puerto Ricans in New York City.

A prominent figure in that movement was Miguel Piñero and Pedro Pietri, co-founders of the Nuyorican Poets Café.[7]

See also[]


  1. ^ "2010 Census". 2010. Archived from the original on June 11, 2010. 
  2. ^ The Nuyorican's Dilemma: Categorization of Returning Migrants in Puerto Rico
  3. ^ Meraji, Shereen Marisol (January 22, 2014). "English Only? For Mainland Puerto Ricans, The Answer Is Often 'Yes'". NPR. 
  4. ^ a b "Revista, Harvard Review of Latin America". 2000. "”Giannina Braschi, a celebrated member of the Nuyorican Poets group”" 
  5. ^ Jones-Shafroth Act, U.S. Library of Congress, accessed May 25, 2010.
  6. ^ The Gran Migración, Maura Isabel Toro-Morn, Marixsa Alicea, Migration and Immigration: A Global View.
  7. ^ 'Photographing Puerto Rican New York, With A 'Sympathetic Eye', NPR News, October 26, 2013.
  8. ^ "Giannina Braschi". National Book Festival. Library of Congress. 2012. "’Braschi: one of the most revolutionary voices in Latin America today’" 
  9. ^ "About Giannina Braschi: Book Fest 12". National Book Festival Transcript and Webcast. Washington, DC: Library of Congress. September 2012. "’Braschi, a poet, essayist and novelist often described as cutting-edge, influential and even revolutionary’" 
  10. ^ Johnson, Hannah (May 26, 2011). "#BEA11: Books on Display, the Amazon Publishing Booth". Publishing Perspectives. "’Braschi is Puerto Rico's most influential and versatile writer of poetry, fiction, and essays’" 
  11. ^ "'About Giannina Braschi'". University of Oklahoma: World Literature Today. September–October 2012. "'One of the most revolutionary voices in Latin American'" 

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