Relax: When You’re in PR, You Can Call the States the US


Before moving here, I was well aware of the ongoing debate between Puerto Rico becoming the 51st state and Puerto Rico seeking to gain its independence. It was with this sensitivity that I would ask locals whether it was impolite to refer to the great mass of land to the north as the US or if I should call it something else to acknowledge that Puerto Rico is part of the US. Everyone I spoke to said the same thing: We are American but we consider ourselves Puerto Rican. We also call it the US. Anyone who gets snooty about it is being overly sensitive.

In the month I have lived here, I have not encountered one person who has taken my reference to the US as a slight. It should come as no shock that the only ones who take offense aren’t from here and take up the cause just for the love of snark. Writing this post is a necessity because I plan on living here for the foreseeable future.  Also, I do not feel like having to do the not that there’s anything wrong with that equivalent of I get that Puerto Rico is part of the US each time I reference a comparison between the mainland and this island.

Good day!

Puerto Rico





  1. I haven’t been to PR in a while so I forget, but flights to the US are considered domestic flights with no immigration check right? Was there a customs check?

  2. @Hal, there’s an APHIS inspection of your baggage, to prevent certain agricultural pests from making it to the mainland (sort of like driving into California where they make you throw out non-Cali fruit). You have to do it (your bags get green stickers as proof) before being allowed to check the bag at the counter or take it through security, but other than that, no customs or immigration.

  3. I would think that just referring to the contiguous states as the mainland would work best in this case as it does when one is in Hawaii, although in Alaska most of us say the lower 48 except for fiercely independent Alaskans, who refer to the lower 48 simply as America.

    • Same argument could be said by those who want PR to be independent, the US isn’t the mainland. Fortunately, it seems that no one here is that uptight.

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