Puerto Rican Millennials, the Effect of the Local Economic Situation and their Desire to Stay

This is the 6th post in the Millennials, a Generation of Togetherness, but Full of Contradictions series. Each post will highlight a specific aspect of the millennial’s life.


Millennials have experienced the economic recession firsthand. They’ve seen its effects on their families, employment, cost of living, and the emigration of friends and loved ones. 56% of millennials told us they’ve got more to gain and less to loose. With this mentality, they take risks and dare to do more in the hopes of a better Puerto Rico.


Insecurity and Pessimism

Over 60% of millennials agree they feel insecure with the Island’s current economic situation. An increasing criminal rate, the fear of loosing their job, salary reductions, taxes, and other factors contribute to this. Millennials have had to go to great lengths often to make ends met and provide for their families. 72% agree to have had to look for extra sources of income. On top of that, millennials look for ways save, spend less, and shop smarter.


Looking for Deals and Staying In

Millennials have changed their lifestyles to fit their economic needs and make their money last longer. Changes in their purchasing habits include using “shoppers”, coupons and shopping items on sale (66%), buying generic or private label brands (47%), cutting down on cable and TV services to join subscriptions like Netflix or Hulu (47%).

This generation has also looked for ways to save on entertainment and food by getting together more at friends’ houses instead of going to a bar or pub (69%), cooking meals at home more (59%), stopping certain hobbies (58%), and doing local tourisms instead of traveling (52%).

Millennials pick and choose what they’re going to save on. It’s important to remember that this generation values experiences over the accumulation of things. Spending time with their family, visiting new places, eating new foods, and traveling are still of high priority. It’s a matter of what they’re willing to sacrifice in order to continue enjoying life their way.


Millennials Want to Stay and Make a Difference

These past years, Puerto Rico has experienced an exodus like no other. And while many may argue that a lot of millennials are gone, but there are still over 830,000 left. 50% of our respondents are not contemplating moving out of Puerto Rico in the future, 15% are, and 36% are not sure. The results are very similar when asked about their friends’ plans – 52%, 15%, and 36% respectively. While many have gone, others are here to stay.

When asked if they thought they could generate change and impact in Puerto Rico, 42% agreed they did, while 24% wasn’t sure. Moreover, 52% believed they had the power to change the overall economic situation if they stayed. However, only 33% of millennials agreed they could change their own economic situation. These people believe in their collective power to generate change in their country, but not in their own lives.

There was also a glaring contrast in our research. When provided with the statement “I gave up on Puerto Rico” 68% of respondents agreed. Why? How can a generation that believes in change and in making a difference feel like they’ve given up on what they’re precisely fighting for? This key contradiction makes us see that even those who wish to make the difference don’t feel empowered to do so. While there are many exceptions and examples of how some millennials are pioneers and trailblazers in technology, social business, and innovation, we can’t loose sight of the majority’s feelings.



Millennials are more aware of their economic situation and personal finances. They look for ways to save and spend less while still being able to enjoy time with their family and friends, doing the things they enjoy most. They’re pessimistic about the current Puerto Rican economic situation, and while they may not be sure of their capability to generate change, at least we know there’s still hope if they’ve willingly agreed to stay.


Let’s explore how millennials impact your business and how we can help you engage with them. Contact us at DLCinsights@delacruz.com. Stay tuned to our blog for more and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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