Unlike their Mexican counterparts, Puerto Ricans started immigrating to Chicago in the late 1940s. Though they to immigrated for financial reasons as Puerto Rico suffered from massive unemployment and rampant poverty. But it wouldn’t be until the 1950s and 60s that Puerto Ricans would start immigrating to Chicago in mass. In 1960, the census read 32, 371. By 1970, that number had more than doubled to 78,963 (Padilla, 39). Puerto Ricans did not move into the already existing immigrant, minority neighborhoods. Instead they carved out their own barrios in dominantly white neighborhoods in the middle of the city (42). This may be because by the time Puerto Ricans reached Chicago, the industrial factories that provided the majority of the unskilled labor jobs for immigrants were on the decline, leaving restaurant work, janitorial work, and delivery boys/stockroom workers for corporations as the major income for most Puerto Ricans (43).
Despite both group’s different backgrounds and initial starts in the city, they would face similar challenges and pushbacks from already established neighborhoods and communities. They would need to fight to have their voices heard in the political climate and education systems. As historian Felix M. Padilla writes, after being forced to assimilate and change the way they view familial ties, work, and religion, Latinos of Chicago created a new Latino ethnic-conscious identity as a way to “integrate” their “past and present,” (7).
Please continue to the links below to learn more:
- Padilla, Felix M. Latino Ethnic Consciousness: The Case of Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans in Chicago. Notre Dame, IN: U of Notre Dame, 1985. Print.
- "Chicago." Wiki Travel: The Free Travel Guide. Media Wiki, 15 Feb. 2016. Web. 22 Feb. 2016. <http://wikitravel.org/en/Chicago>.
- Paral, Rob. "Chicago's Immigrants Break Old Patterns." Immigration Policy Institute. 01 Sept. 2003. Web. 22 Feb. 2016. <http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/chicagos-immigrants-break-old-patterns>.