Document Type

Occasional Paper

Publication Date



This Occasional Paper, based on a presentation to the National Puerto Rican Coalition in Washington, DC, in 1992, proposes some limitations in "quantitative-only" research focusing on Puerto Rican poverty in the United States. An overreliance on quantitative-based analysis, as well as overlooking historical and comparative data, may not allow for a full understanding and awareness of the nature and maintenance of poverty in Puerto Rican communities in the United States. While the presentation acknowledges the importance of sophisticated quantitative research, it implies that joined together with historical and comparative analysis, investigations of Puerto Rican poverty would be vastly improved. An understanding of Puerto Rican poverty in urban America today requires a broad range of tools and methodological approaches. There are at least three potential research tools that should not be overlooked in the study and analysis of poverty among Puerto Ricans. These tools include social history and the role of power and politics, comparative frameworks, and utilizing "community" as the unit of analysis, rather than solely the "individual" or "family" as the unit. The utilization of these kinds of tools can provide a better understanding of the nature of Puerto Rican poverty and what might be appropriate responses to this continuing issue and problem.


This paper is based on a presentation to the National Puerto Rican Coalition in Washington, DC,on June 22, 1992.

Occasional Paper #30.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.