Puerto Rico

Region: Caribbean

Capital: San Juan

Population: 3,620,897 (July 2014 CIA est.)

Surface Area: 13,790 sq km

Currency: US dollar (USD)

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

Background: 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. (CIA 2014)

Economy – Overview: Puerto Rico has one of the most dynamic economies in the Caribbean region, however, growth has been negative for the past four years, and unemployment rose to nearly 16% in 2011. The industrial sector has surpassed agriculture as the primary locus of economic activity and income. Mainland 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 more than 3.6 million tourists in 2008. Closing the budget deficit while restoring economic growth and employment remain the central concerns of the government. (CIA 2014)

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

Remittances: Not available

Human Development Index 2013 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: 79.09 years (CIA 2014)

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 2013. United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org

Updated January 2015