After Hurricane Maria: Puerto Rican Migrants and Residential Segregation in the Orlando MSA

Gabriella Ospina, University of Central Florida


The intent of this thesis is to analyze the racial attitudes of residents in the Orlando MSA towards Puerto Rican migrants that have moved as a result of Hurricane Maria and analyze the effects these attitudes may have on racial residential segregation in Central Florida. As the state with the third largest population of Latinos, Florida's residential landscape continues to be uniquely formed by a diverse, and markedly Latino, population. Florida's location in relation to South American and Caribbean countries has made it an opportune destination for immigrants and refugees. Therefore, it came as no surprise that when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in late 2017, thousands of Puerto Ricans sought refuge in Florida. This thesis examines racial attitudes towards this group of Puerto Rican migrants and the ways in which they could potentially affect neighborhood demographics. The study proceeds by collecting survey responses from participants living in the Orlando areas being analyzed. The survey asks participants about their general views of Puerto Rican migrants, it tests their knowledge of racial residential patterns in Orlando, and it analyzes their neighborhood preferences using a show card method.