Puerto Rico's governor says the USA territory has overwhelmingly chosen statehood in a non-binding referendum.
It's the fifth time Puerto Ricans have voted on the matter, but statehood has never won a clear victory.
Puerto Rico's main opposition party rejected the pro-statehood result.
The vote is not the first of its kind, and does not mean that Puerto Rico will automatically become the 51st state of the United States.
Meantime Senator Juan Dalmau of the Puerto Rican Independence Party said on Twitter that: "Including colony as an option in the plebiscite is a setback to the aspirations of decolonization and former governor Anibal Acevedo Vila of the Popular Democratic Party said on Facebook that he would not be voting "as an act of conscience".
But the ballot's previous language prompted calls by opposition parties to boycott what they saw as a rigged vote. Since then it has laboured under the colonial relationship and in the past decade the island has endured a prolonged recession and accumulated debts and pensions shortfalls of more than $120bn. Puerto Rico has been a USA territory since the Spanish-American War in 1898. Puerto Ricans are getting the chance to tell U.S. Congress on Sunday which.
Just 23 percent of Puerto Rican voters turned out for Sunday's non-binding referendum, but about 97 percent of them cast their ballot in favor of statehood.
Michelle Sierra, a hospital patient who cast an early vote in the plebiscite, is in favor of US statehood: "We deserve a better future and my children deserve a better future".
Many Puerto Ricans attribute the malaise plaguing the island to Washington's power over them.
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About 5.4 million Puerto Ricans live on the US mainland, a number that is growing because of an exodus of people who can not find jobs or continue school on the depressed island.
US Congress has final say on any changes to the US territory's political status, regardless of the referendum's final outcome.
Politics took the front seat at this year's Puerto Rican Day Parade in NY on Sunday, as the traditional batons, floats and marching bands were overshadowed by the inclusion of a militant pro-independence figure and a vote in favor of statehood taking place on the island.
Those inequalities and the ongoing crisis prompted 66-year-old Maria Quinones to vote for the first time in such a referendum, the fifth on Puerto Rico's status. From the sidelines, she said she refuses to back the man who served 35 years in prison for his involvement with a group responsible for bombings that killed and maimed dozens of people.
Those who remain behind have faced new taxes and higher utility bills on an island where food is 22 percent more expensive than the US mainland and public services are 64 percent more expensive.
His party also has noted that the U.S. Justice Department has not backed the referendum.
No clear majority emerged in the first three referendums on status, with voters nearly evenly divided between statehood and the status quo. This is in stark contrast to the last plebiscite held in 2012 - in which 1,363,854 people, or 78.19 percent of registered voters, cast a ballot.