Puerto Rico Population: 3,294,626


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Populated for centuries by aboriginal peoples, the island was claimed by the Spanish Crown in 1493 following Christopher COLUMBUS' second voyage to the Americas. In 1898, after 400 years of colonial rule that saw the indigenous population nearly exterminated and African slave labor introduced, Puerto Rico was ceded to the US as a result of the Spanish-American War. Puerto Ricans were granted US citizenship in 1917. Popularly elected governors have served since 1948. In 1952, a constitution was enacted providing for internal self-government. In plebiscites held in 1967, 1993, and 1998, voters chose not to alter the existing political status with the US, but the results of a 2012 vote left open the possibility of American statehood. Economic recession on the island has led to a net population loss since about 2005, as large numbers of residents moved to the US mainland. The trend has accelerated since 2010; in 2014, Puerto Rico experienced a net population loss to the mainland of 64,000, more than double the net loss of 26,000 in 2010. Hurricane Maria struck the island on 20 September 2017 causing catastrophic damage, including destruction of the electrical grid that had been cripled by Hurricane Irma just two weeks before. It was the worst storm to hit the island in eight decades, and damage is estimated in the tens of billions of dollars.

    Important location along the Mona Passage - a key shipping lane to the Panama Canal; San Juan is one of the biggest and best natural harbors in the Caribbean; many small rivers and high central mountains ensure land is well watered; south coast relatively dry; fertile coastal plain belt in north
Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican Republic
Geographic coordinates: 18 15 N, 66 30 W
Area: total: 9,104 sq km
land: 8,959 sq km
water: 145 sq km

Size comparison: slightly less than three times the size of Rhode Island
Land Boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 501 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical marine, mild; little seasonal temperature variation
Terrain: mostly mountains with coastal plain in north; precipitous mountains to the sea on west coast; sandy beaches along most coastal areas
Natural resources: some copper and nickel; potential for onshore and offshore oil
Land use: agricultural land: 22% (2011 est.) arable land: 6.6% (2011 est.)
permanent crops: 5.6% (2011 est.) permanent pasture: 9.8% (2011 est.) forest: 63.2% (2011 est.)
other: 14.8% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 220 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: periodic droughts; hurricanes
Current Environment Issues: soil erosion; occasional droughts cause water shortages; industrial pollution
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Nationality: noun: Puerto Rican(s) (US citizens)
adjective: Puerto Rican
Ethnic groups: white 75.8%, black/African American 12.4%, other 8.5% (includes American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, other Pacific Islander, and others), mixed 3.3% (2010 est.) note: 99% of the population is Latino
Languages: Spanish, English
Religions: Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant and other 15%
Population: 3,294,626 (July 2018 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 15.25% (male 256,866 /female 245,518)
15-24 years: 13.39% (male 224,434 /female 216,664)
25-54 years: 37.99% (male 595,818 /female 655,890)
55-64 years: 13.14% (male 198,577 /female 234,490)
65 years and over: 20.23% (male 286,630 /female 379,739) (2018 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 49.6 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 27.9 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 21.7 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 4.6 (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 42.2 years
male: 40.2 years
female: 43.9 years (2018 est.)
Population growth rate: -1.7% (2018 est.)
Birth rate: 8 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate: 8.9 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate: -16 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 93.6% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: -0.14% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population: 2.454 million SAN JUAN (capital) (2018)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.85 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.9 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 14 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 6.3 deaths/1,000 live births male: 6.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 81 years male: 77.7 years
female: 84.5 years (2018 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.21 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 93.6% of population
rural: 93.6% of population
total: 93.6% of population

urban: 6.4% of population
rural: 6.4% of population
total: 6.4% of population (2001 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 99.3% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 99.3% of population (2015 est.)
total: 99.3% of population (2015 est.)

urban: 0.7% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 0.7% of population (2015 est.)
total: 0.7% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: n/a
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: n/a
HIV/AIDS - deaths: n/a
Education expenditures: 6.1% of GDP (2014)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)
total population: 93.3%
male: 92.8%
female: 93.8% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 16 years male: 15 years female: 17 years (2015)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 26.6% male: 28.9% female: 23.1% (2012 est.)
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Country name: conventional long form: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
conventional short form: Puerto Rico
abbreviation: PR
etymology: Christopher COLUMBUS named the island San Juan Bautista (Saint John the Baptist) and the capital city and main port Cuidad de Puerto Rico (Rich Port City); over time, however, the names were shortened and transposed and the island came to be called Puerto Rico and its capital San Juan
Government type: presidential democracy; a self-governing commonwealth in political association with the US
Capital: name: San Juan
geographic coordinates: 18 28 N, 66 07 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: the name dates to 1521 and the founding of the city under the name "Ciudad de San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico" (City of Saint John the Baptist of Puerto Rico)
Administrative divisions: none (territory of the US with commonwealth status); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 78 municipalities (municipios, singular - municipio) at the second order; Adjuntas, Aguada, Aguadilla, Aguas Buenas, Aibonito, Anasco, Arecibo, Arroyo, Barceloneta, Barranquitas, Bayamon, Cabo Rojo, Caguas, Camuy, Canovanas, Carolina, Catano, Cayey, Ceiba, Ciales, Cidra, Coamo, Comerio, Corozal, Culebra, Dorado, Fajardo, Florida, Guanica, Guayama, Guayanilla, Guaynabo, Gurabo, Hatillo, Hormigueros, Humacao, Isabela, Jayuya, Juana Diaz, Juncos, Lajas, Lares, Las Marias, Las Piedras, Loiza, Luquillo, Manati, Maricao, Maunabo, Mayaguez, Moca, Morovis, Naguabo, Naranjito, Orocovis, Patillas, Penuelas, Ponce, Quebradillas, Rincon, Rio Grande, Sabana Grande, Salinas, San German, San Juan, San Lorenzo, San Sebastian, Santa Isabel, Toa Alta, Toa Baja, Trujillo Alto, Utuado, Vega Alta, Vega Baja, Vieques, Villalba, Yabucoa, Yauco
Independence: none (territory of the US with commonwealth status)
National holiday: US Independence Day, 4 July (1776)Puerto Rico Constitution Day, 25 July (1952)
Constitution: history: previous 1900 (Organic Act, or Foraker Act); latest ratified by referendum 3 March 1952, approved 3 July 1952, effective 25 July 1952 amendments: proposed by a concurrent resolution of at least two-thirds majority by the total Legislative Assembly membership; approval requires at least two-thirds majority vote by the membership of both houses and approval by a majority of voters in a special referendum; if passed by at least three-fourths Assembly vote, the referendum can be held concurrently with the next general election; constitutional articles such as the republican form of government or the bill of rights cannot be amended; amended 1952 (2018)
Legal system: civil law system based on the Spanish civil code and within the framework of the US federal system
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal; note - island residents are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections
Executive branch: chief of state: President Donald J. TRUMP (since 20 January 2017); Vice President Michael R. PENCE (since 20 January 2017)

head of government: Governor Wanda VAZQUEZ (since 7 August 2019)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by governor with the consent of the Legislative Assembly elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected on the same ballot by an Electoral College of 'electors' chosen from each state; president and vice president serve a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); under the US Constitution, residents of Puerto Rico do not vote in elections for US president and vice president; however, they may vote in Democratic and Republican party presidential primary elections; governor directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 4-year term (no term limits); election last held on 8 November 2016 (next to be held in November 2020)

election results: Ricardo ROSSELLO elected governor; percent of vote - Ricardo ROSSELLO (PNP) 41.8%, David BERNIER (PPD) 38.9%, Alexandra LUGARO (independent) 11.1%, Manuel CIDRE (independent) 5.7%

note: on 24 July 2019, Governor Ricardo ROSSELLO announced his resignation effective 2 August 2019; as Secretary of State, Pedro PIERLUISI succeeded Governor Ricardo ROSSELLO; on 7 August 2019 the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico ruled Pedro PIERLUISI accession was unconstitutional and Wanda VAZQUEZ is sworn in as governor
Legislative branch: description: bicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa consists of: Senate or Senado (30 seats; 16 members directly elected in 8 2-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 14 at-large members directly elected by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms) House of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (51 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held on 8 November 2016 (next to be held on 3 November 2020) House of Representatives - last held on 8 November 2016 (next to be held on 3 November 2020)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PNP 21, PPD 7, PIP 1, Independent 1; composition - men 23, women 7, percent of women 23.3% House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PNP 34, PPD 16, PIP 1; composition - men 11, women 4, percent of women 26.7%; total Legislative Assembly percent of women 16% note: Puerto Rico directly elects 1 member by simple majority vote to serve a 4-year term as a commissioner to the US House of Representatives; the commissioner can vote when serving on a committee and when the House meets as the Committee of the Whole House but not when legislation is submitted for a 'full floor' House vote; election of commissioner last held on 6 November 2018 (next to be held in November 2022)
Judicial branch: highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 8 associate justices) judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor and confirmed by majority Senate vote; judges serve until compulsory retirement at age 70

subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; First Instance Court comprised of superior and municipal courts
Political parties and leaders: National Democratic Party [Charlie RODRIGUEZ] National Republican Party of Puerto Rico [Jenniffer GONZALEZ] New Progressive Party or PNP [Ricardo ROSSELLO] (pro-US statehood) Popular Democratic Party or PPD [Alejandro GARCIA Padillo] (pro-commonwealth) Puerto Rican Independence Party or PIP [Ruben BERRIOS Martinez] (pro-independence)
International organization participation: AOSIS (observer), Caricom (observer), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, UNWTO (associate), UPU, WFTU (NGOs)
National symbol(s): Puerto Rican spindalis (bird), coqui (frog);
national colors: red, white, blue
National anthem: name: "La Borinquena" (The Puerto Rican)
lyrics/music: Manuel Fernandez JUNCOS/Felix Astol ARTES

note: music adopted 1952, lyrics adopted 1977; the local anthem's name is a reference to the indigenous name of the island, Borinquen; the music was originally composed as a dance in 1867 and gained popularity in the early 20th century; there is some evidence that the music was written by Francisco RAMIREZ; as a commonwealth of the US, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is official (see United States)
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (territory of the US)
Diplomatic representation from the US: none (territory of the US with commonwealth status)
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Puerto Rico had one of the most dynamic economies in the Caribbean region until 2006; however, growth has been negative for each of the last 11 years. The downturn coincided with the phaseout of tax preferences that had led US firms to invest heavily in the Commonwealth since the 1950s, and a steep rise in the price of oil, which generates most of the island's electricity. Diminished job opportunities prompted a sharp rise in outmigration, as many Puerto Ricans sought jobs on the US mainland. Unemployment reached 16% in 2011, but declined to 11.5% in December 2017. US minimum wage laws apply in Puerto Rico, hampering job expansion. Per capita income is about two-thirds that of the US mainland. The industrial sector greatly exceeds agriculture as the locus of economic activity and income. Tourism has traditionally been an important source of income with estimated arrivals of more than 3.6 million tourists in 2008. Puerto Rico's merchandise trade surplus is exceptionally strong, with exports nearly 50% greater than imports, and its current account surplus about 10% of GDP. Closing the budget deficit while restoring economic growth and employment remain the central concerns of the government. The gap between revenues and expenditures amounted to 0.6% of GDP in 2016, although analysts believe that not all expenditures have been accounted for in the budget and a better accounting of costs would yield an overall deficit of roughly 5% of GDP. Public debt remained steady at 92.5% of GDP in 2017, about $17,000 per person, or nearly three times the per capita debt of the State of Connecticut, the highest in the US. Much of that debt was issued by state-run schools and public corporations, including water and electric utilities. In June 2015, Governor Alejandro GARCIA Padilla announced that the island could not pay back at least $73 billion in debt and that it would seek a deal with its creditors. Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico square on in September 2017, causing electrical power outages to 90% of the territory, as well as extensive loss of housing and infrastructure and contamination of potable water. Despite massive efforts, more than 40% of the territory remained without electricity as of yearend 2017. As a result of the destruction, many Puerto Ricans have emigrated to the US mainland.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $130 billion (2017 est.) $133.1 billion (2016 est.) $134.9 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): $104.2 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: -2.4% (2017 est.) -1.3% (2016 est.) -1% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $39,400 (2017 est.) $39,000 (2016 est.) $38,800 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 87.7% (2017 est.) government consumption: 12.2% (2017 est.) investment in fixed capital: 11.7% (2017 est.) investment in inventories: 0.5% (2017 est.) exports of goods and services: 117.8% (2017 est.) imports of goods and services: -129.8% (2017 est.) GDP - composition, by sector of origin: agriculture: 0.8% (2017 est.) industry: 50.1% (2017 est.) services: 49.1% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products: sugarcane, coffee, pineapples, plantains, bananas; livestock products, chickens
Industries: pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, food products, tourism
Industrial production growth rate: -2.1% (2017 est.)
Labor force: 1.139 million (December 2014 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 2.1%
industry: 19%
services: 79% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate: 10.8% (2017 est.) 11.8% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line: n/a
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: n/a
highest 10%: n/a
Budget: revenues: 9.268 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 9.974 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 8.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.) Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): -0.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt: 51.6% of GDP (2017 est.) 50.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.8% (2017 est.) -0.3% (2016 est.)
Current account balance: $0 (2017 est.) $0 (2016 est.)
Exports: $73.17 billion (2017 est.) $73.2 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities: chemicals, electronics, apparel, canned tuna, rum, beverage concentrates, medical equipment
Imports: $49.01 billion (2017 est.) $48.86 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities: chemicals, machinery and equipment, clothing, food, fish, petroleum products
Debt - external: $56.82 billion (31 December 2010 est.) $52.98 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: n/a
Exchange rates: the US dollar is used
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Electricity - production: 20.95 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 19.48 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 6.294 million kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 94% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 2% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 4% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 98,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 18,420 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 127,100 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 1.303 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 1.303 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 19.85 million Mt (2017 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total subscriptions: 3,389,402
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 101 (2017 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: modern system integrated with that of the US by high-capacity submarine cable and Intelsat with high-speed data capability; havoc caused by the hurricane in 2017 has left the island lagging behind the mainland US both economically and technologically; competition among network operators helps with growth; availability of LTE coverage increasing to 90% (2018)

domestic: digital telephone system; mobile-cellular services; fixed-line 23 per 100 and mobile-cullular 101 per 100 persons (2018)

international: country code - 1-787, 939; submarine cables provide connectivity to the US, Caribbean, Central and South America; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (2016)
Broadcast media: more than 30 TV stations operating; cable TV subscription services are available; roughly 125 radio stations
Internet country code: .pr
Internet users: total: 2,873,895
percent of population: 80.3% (July 2016 est.)
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Airports: 29 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 17
(2017) over 3,047 m: 2 (2017)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2017)
under 914 m: 5 (2017)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 12
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
under 914 m: 10 (2013)
Roadways: total 26,862 km
(includes 454 km of expressways) (2012)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Ensenada Honda, Mayaguez, Playa de Guayanilla, Playa de Ponce, San Juan container port(s) (TEUs): San Juan (1,210,503) (2015) LNG terminal(s) (import): Guayanilla Bay
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Defense is the responsibility of the US
Military branches: no regular indigenous military forces; paramilitary National Guard, Police Force
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: increasing numbers of illegal migrants from the Dominican Republic cross the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico each year looking for work
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