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Mexicans vs. Puerto Ricans: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on November 16, 2023
"Mexicans" are people from Mexico, a country in North America; "Puerto Ricans" are citizens of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory in the Caribbean. Distinct nations, cultures.

Key Differences

"Mexicans" refers to individuals from Mexico, the southern neighbor of the United States, known for its rich cultural heritage that includes pre-Columbian civilizations like the Maya and the Aztecs. "Puerto Ricans," however, are people from Puerto Rico, an island in the Caribbean and a territory of the United States, with a unique culture that's a blend of Taino (indigenous), Spanish, and African influences.
"Mexicans" often speak Spanish with distinct accents and idiomatic expressions unique to Mexico, and the country's culture is renowned for its culinary contributions, like tacos and tequila. In contrast, "Puerto Ricans" also speak Spanish, but the island has its own dialect and slang, and it's famous for dishes like mofongo and its own style of rum.
"Mexicans" celebrate notable holidays such as Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) and Cinco de Mayo, with vibrant traditions and deep-rooted customs. "Puerto Ricans," on the other hand, celebrate events like the San Sebastián Street Festival (Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián) and Three Kings Day (Día de Reyes) with island-specific traditions and extensive musical influences.
"Mexicans" hail from a country with various topographies, from deserts to beaches, contributing to diverse experiences and regional cultures. "Puerto Ricans" come from an island known for its tropical climate, sandy beaches, and rainforests, influencing a distinct island culture and lifestyle.
"Mexicans," coming from the 11th most populous country in the world, have a significant impact on global art, with figures like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. "Puerto Ricans," although from a smaller territory, have also made global marks, especially in music, with artists like Bad Bunny and Ricky Martin.

Comparison Chart

National affiliation

Citizens of Mexico, a sovereign country
Citizens of U.S. territory Puerto Rico


Mexican Spanish dialect
Puerto Rican Spanish dialect

Famous for

Rich history, tequila, mariachi
Salsa music, rum, tropical beaches


Day of the Dead, Cinco de Mayo
San Sebastián Street Fest, Three Kings Day


Diverse landscapes (deserts, mountains)
Island geography (beaches, rainforests)

Mexicans and Puerto Ricans Definitions


Citizens of Mexico
The Mexicans proudly celebrated their Independence Day.

Puerto Ricans

Caribbean islanders
Puerto Ricans inhabit a territory known for its beautiful beaches and tropical climate.


Spanish speakers
Mexicans predominantly speak Spanish with their own dialect.

Puerto Ricans

Cultural blend
Puerto Ricans enjoy a vibrant culture that blends Taino, Spanish, and African influences.


Cultural heritage
Famous for their culinary arts, Mexicans have a diverse cuisine.

Puerto Ricans

Spanish speakers
Like many Latin Americans, Puerto Ricans speak Spanish, but they have their unique dialect.


Mesoamerican descendants
Many Mexicans trace their roots back to formidable civilizations like the Aztecs.

Puerto Ricans

Music and dance
Puerto Ricans are renowned for their contributions to salsa music and dance.


Mexicans live in one of the most biodiverse countries in the world.

Puerto Ricans

Inhabitants of Puerto Rico
Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens by birth.


A native or inhabitant of Mexico.


A person of Mexican ancestry.


Of or relating to Mexico or its people, language, or culture.


Can Mexicans travel to the U.S. freely?

Mexicans need a visa or permit to enter the U.S.

Do Puerto Ricans have U.S. citizenship?

Yes, Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens at birth.

What music is Puerto Rico known for?

Puerto Rico is famous for reggaeton and salsa.

What is a traditional Mexican dish?

Tacos are a renowned traditional Mexican dish.

What is the political status of Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated U.S. territory.

What languages are spoken in Puerto Rico besides Spanish?

English is also spoken, often as a second language.

Are all Mexicans Spanish speakers?

Most Mexicans speak Spanish, but some indigenous groups use their languages.

What ancient civilizations were in Mexico?

The Aztecs and Maya were notable Mesoamerican civilizations in Mexico.

What currency do Puerto Ricans use?

Puerto Ricans use the U.S. dollar.

Are there diverse climates in Mexico?

Yes, Mexico features deserts, beaches, and mountains.

What's a significant holiday in Mexico?

The Day of the Dead is a significant cultural holiday.

Do Puerto Ricans vote in U.S. presidential elections?

They can't vote in presidential elections unless they reside in the U.S.

What's a traditional Puerto Rican dish?

Mofongo is a well-known Puerto Rican dish.

Is Puerto Rico a state?

No, it's a U.S. territory, not a state.

Can Puerto Ricans travel to the U.S. freely?

Yes, they can travel to the U.S. mainland without a passport.

What's the capital of Mexico?

Mexico City is the capital.

Are there any famous Puerto Rican artists?

Yes, artists like Bad Bunny and Ricky Martin are globally known.

How large is Mexico's population?

Mexico is the 11th most populous country globally.

What sports are popular in Mexico?

Soccer is exceptionally popular among Mexicans.

What type of government does Mexico have?

Mexico is a federal republic.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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