Puerto Rico

Region: Caribbean

Capital: San Juan

Population:3,998,905 (July 2012 -CIA est.)

Surface Area: 13,790 sq km

Currency: US dollar (USD)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $16,300 (2010 – CIA est.)

Background:
Populated for centuries by aboriginal peoples, the island was claimed by the Spanish Crown in 1493 following 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.

Economy – Overview:
Puerto Rico has one of the most dynamic economies in the Caribbean region. A diverse industrial sector has far 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 2004. Growth fell off in 2001-03, largely due to the slowdown in the US economy, recovered in 2004-05, but declined again in 2006-07.

Major Export Commodities: chemicals, electronics, apparel, canned tuna, rum, beverage concentrates, medical equipment

Remittances: Not available

Human Development Index 2011 ranking: Not ranked

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: Not available

Total External Debt:US $56.82 billion (December 2010 -CIA est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth: 79.07 years (CIA)

Sources:

CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov

World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org

Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org

Human Development Report 2011. United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org

Updated July 2012