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SAN ISIDRO, PUERTO RICO - OCTOBER 15:  Uncollected debris stand near damaged homes in an area without electricity on October 15, 2017 in San Isidro, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is suffering shortages of food and water in many areas and only 15 percent of grid electricity has been restored. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid as well as agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, swept through.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 30: San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz speaks to the media as she arrives at the temporary government center setup at the Roberto Clemente stadium in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 30, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid as well as agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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Residents of San Juan, Puerto Rico, deal with damages to their homes on September 20, 2017, as Hurricane Maria batters the island. 
Maria slammed into Puerto Rico on Wednesday, cutting power on most of the US territory as terrified residents hunkered down in the face of the island's worst storm in living memory. After leaving a deadly trail of destruction on a string of smaller Caribbean islands, Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico's southeast coast around daybreak, packing winds of around 150mph (240kph).
 / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL        (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
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Residents of San Juan, Puerto Rico, deal with damages to their homes on September 20, 2017, as Hurricane Maria batters the island. Maria slammed into Puerto Rico on Wednesday, cutting power on most of the US territory as terrified residents hunkered down in the face of the island's worst storm in living memory. After leaving a deadly trail of destruction on a string of smaller Caribbean islands, Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico's southeast coast around daybreak, packing winds of around 150mph (240kph). / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
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(CNN) —  

An estimated 130,000 people – almost 4% of the population – left the island of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, according to data released Wednesday by the US Census Bureau.

“It’s a really large number – and it’s a number that’s well above what we’ve seen in the past,” Alexis Santos, a demographer at Penn State University, said of the population decrease. “Here, what you’re looking at is double – double the displacement we would have expected” in a normal year.

The population of the US territory has long been falling and now sits at about 3.2 million. Amid a debt crisis and other problems, more than 530,000 people have left Puerto Rico since 2010, the agency says.

The population estimates are considered the most authoritative look yet at the “exodus” of people from the Caribbean island amid monthslong power outages and other chaotic conditions that proved deadly for thousands of people.

The US Census Bureau data looks at the population change from July 1, 2017, before Hurricane Maria, and the same date in 2018. The figures are estimates from government records and are published annually, the Census Bureau said.

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. The federal response has been described as both slow and inadequate.

CNN published some of the first figures showing the shape of the out-migration. Data obtained through public records requests showed that Puerto Ricans appeared to have moved to every US state in the months after the storm. Florida was the top state for migrants leaving Puerto Rico; Orlando was the top metro area, according to the CNN analysis.

Other researchers used net airline passenger data and other methods to try to estimate the scope of the movement of people. The census figures were released as part of its annual population estimates.

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Puerto Ricans are US citizens who can move freely to US states.

Experts have said that the population crash poses myriad problems for Puerto Rico, especially in terms of the economy. Young people – the “Maria Generation,” as they’ve been called – are of particular concern.

CNN also reported on “misery” that followed some migrants from Puerto Rico to the US mainland.