Home » Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

Facts About Puerto Rico

Background: Discovered by Columbus in 1493, the island was ceded by Spain to the US in 1898 following the Spanish-American War. A popularly elected governor has served since 1948. In plebiscites held in 1967 and 1993, voters chose to retain commonwealth status.
Dependency status: commonwealth associated with the US
Government type: commonwealth
Capital: San Juan
Currency: 1 US dollar (US$) = 100 cents

Geography of Puerto Rico

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
total: 9,104 sq km
land: 8,959 sq km
water: 145 sq km
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 501 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: tropical marine, mild; little seasonal temperature variation
Terrain: mostly mountains, with coastal plain belt in north; mountains precipitous to sea on west coast; sandy beaches along most coastal areas
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Cerro de Punta 1,338 m
Natural resources: some copper and nickel; potential for onshore and offshore oil
Land use:
arable land: 4%
permanent crops: 5%
permanent pastures: 26%
forests and woodland: 16%
other: 49% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 390 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: periodic droughts; hurricanes
Environment – current issues: erosion; occasional drought causing water shortages
Geography – note: 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.

People of Puerto Rico

Population: 3,916,632 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  23.73% 
15-64 years:  65.72%
65 years and over:  10.55%
Population growth rate: 0.54% 
Birth rate: 15.26 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 7.77 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -2.13 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 9.51 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  75.76 years
male:  71.28 years
female:  80.48 years
Total fertility rate: 1.9 children born/woman 
noun: Puerto Rican(s) (US citizens)
adjective: Puerto Rican
Ethnic groups: white (mostly Spanish origin) 80.5%, black 8%, Amerindian 0.4%, Asian 0.2%, mixed and other 10.9%
Religions: Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant and other 15%
Languages: Spanish, English
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89%
male: 90%
female: 88% (1980 est.)

Puerto Rico Economy

Economy – overview: Puerto Rico has one of the most dynamic economies in the Caribbean region. A diverse industrial sector has surpassed agriculture as the primary locus of economic activity and income. Encouraged by duty-free access to the US and by tax incentives, US firms have invested heavily in Puerto Rico since the 1950s. US minimum wage laws apply. Sugar production has lost out to dairy production and other livestock products as the main source of income in the agricultural sector. Tourism has traditionally been an important source of income, with estimated arrivals of nearly 5 million tourists in 1999. Prospects for 2001 are clouded by a probable slowing down in both the construction and tourist sectors and by increasing inflation, particularly in energy and food prices; estimated growth will be 2%.

GDP: purchasing power parity – $39 billion (2000 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 4.2% (1999 est.), 2.8% (2000 est.)
GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity – $10,000 (2000 est.)
GDP – composition by sector:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 45%
services: 54% (1999 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5.2% (1999 est.), 5.7% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 1.3 million (2000)
Labor force – by occupation: agriculture 3%, industry 20%, services 77% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: 9.5% (2000)
revenues: $6.7 billion
expenditures: $9.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY99/00)
Industries: pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, food products; tourism
Electricity – production: 16.76 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity – production by source:
fossil fuel:  98.45%
hydro:  1.55%
nuclear:  0%
other:  0% (1999)
Electricity – consumption: 15.587 billion kWh (1999)
Agriculture – products: sugarcane, coffee, pineapples, plantains, bananas; livestock products, chickens
Exports: $34.9 billion (f.o.b., 1999), $38.5 billion (f.o.b., 2000)
Exports – commodities: pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, canned tuna, rum, beverage concentrates, medical equipment
Exports – partners: US 88% (2000)
Imports: $25.3 billion (c.i.f., 1999), $27 billion (c.i.f., 2000)
Imports – commodities: chemicals, machinery and equipment, clothing, food, fish, petroleum products
Imports – partners: US 60% (2000)
Currency: 1 US dollar (US$)

Map Of Puerto Rico