Puerto Rico( Central America and Caribbean )

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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.
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: 13,790 sq km
land: 8,870 sq km
water: 4,921 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly less than three times the size of Rhode Island
Land boundaries:
0 km
501 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
tropical marine, mild; little seasonal temperature variation
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: 6.76%
permanent crops: 4.51%
other: 88.73% (2011)
Irrigated land:
220.4 sq km (2005)
Total renewable water resources:
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic or industrial or agricultural):
Natural hazards:
periodic droughts; hurricanes
Environment current issues:
erosion; occasional drought causing water shortages
Environment international agreements:
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 and Society
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%
note: 99% of the population is Latino (2010 est.)
Spanish, English
Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant and other 15%
3,620,897 (July 2014 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 18.1% (male 335,142/female 319,765)
15-24 years: 14.5% (male 267,596/female 256,487)
25-54 years: 38.5% (male 665,092/female 727,412)
55-64 years: 12% (male 197,256/female 238,139)
65 years and over: 16.4% (male 265,674/female 348,334) (2014 est.)
Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 50.1 %
youth dependency ratio: 28.8 %
elderly dependency ratio: 21.3 %
potential support ratio: 4.7 (2014 est.)
Median age:
total: 38.7 years
male: 36.8 years
female: 40.5 years (2014 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.65% (2014 est.)
Birth rate:
10.9 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Death rate:
8.51 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Net migration rate:
-8.93 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
urban population: 98.9% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 0.06% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas population:
SAN JUAN (capital) 2.475 million (2011)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.02 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: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 7.73 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 8.53 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.91 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
Maternal mortality rate:
20 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.09 years
male: 75.46 years
female: 82.8 years (2014 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.64 children born/woman (2014 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate:
note: percent of women aged 18-44 (2002)
Health expenditures:
Physicians density:
Hospital bed density:
Drinking water source:
improved: urban: 93.6% of population
rural: 93.6% of population
total: 93.6% of population
unimproved: 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
rural: 99.3% of population
total: 99.3% of population
unimproved: urban: 0.7% of population
rural: 0.7% of population
total: 0.7% of population (2012 est.)
HIV or AIDS adult prevalence rate:
HIV or AIDS people living with HIV or AIDS:
HIV or AIDS deaths:
Obesity adult prevalence rate:
Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
Education expenditures:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90.3%
male: 89.7%
female: 90.9% (2011 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 16 years
male: 14 years
female: 17 years (2011)
Child labor children ages 5-14:
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 26.6%
male: 28.9%
female: 23.1% (2012)
Country name:
conventional long form: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
conventional short form: Puerto Rico
Government type:
name: San Juan
geographic coordinates: 18 28 N, 66 07 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
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
none (territory of the US with commonwealth status)
National holiday:
US Independence Day, 4 July (1776); Puerto Rico Constitution Day, 25 July (1952)
previous 1900 (Organic Act, or Foraker Act); latest ratified 3 March 1952, approved 3 July 1952, effective 25 July 1952; note - constitutional amendments introduced in 2012 were rejected in a referendum (2013)
Legal system:
civil law system based on the Spanish civil code and within the framework of the US federal system
International law organization participation:
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 Barack H. OBAMA (since 20 January 2009); Vice President Joseph R. BIDEN (since 20 January 2009)
head of government: Governor Alejandro GARCIA Padilla (since 2 January 2013)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor with the consent of the legislature
elections: under the US Constitution, residents of unincorporated territories, such as 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 elected by popular vote for a four-year term (no term limits); election last held on 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2016)
election results: Alejandro GARCIA Padilla elected governor with 48.2% of the vote
Legislative branch:
bicameral Legislative Assembly consists of the Senate (at least 27 seats; members directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the House of Representatives (51 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2016); House of Representatives - last held on 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2016)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPD 18, PNP 8, PIP 1; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPD 28, PNP 23
note: Puerto Rico elects, by popular vote, a resident commissioner to serve a four-year term as a nonvoting representative in the US House of Representatives; aside from not voting on the House floor, he enjoys all the rights of a member of Congress; elections last held 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2016); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PNP 1
Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 6 associate judges)
note - the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Judiciary Act of 2003 reformed the judicial system
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate; judges serve until compulsory retirement at age 75
subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; First Instance Court comprised of superior and municipal courts
Political parties and leaders:
National Democratic Party [Roberto PRATS]
National Republican Party of Puerto Rico [Dr. Tiody FERRE]
New Progressive Party or PNP [Pedro ROSSELLO] (pro-US statehood)
Popular Democratic Party or PPD [Anibal ACEVEDO-VILA] (pro-commonwealth)
Puerto Rican Independence Party or PIP [Ruben BERRIOS Martinez] (pro-independence)
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Boricua Popular Army or EPB (a revolutionary group also known as Los Macheteros)
note: the following radical groups are considered dormant by Federal law enforcement: Armed Forces for National Liberation or FALN, Armed Forces of Popular Resistance, Volunteers of the Puerto Rican Revolution
International organization participation:
Caricom (observer), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, UNWTO (associate), UPU
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (territory of the US)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (territory of the US with commonwealth status)
Flag description:
five equal horizontal bands of red (top and bottom) alternating with white; a blue isosceles triangle based on the hoist side bears a large, white, five-pointed star in the center; the white star symbolizes Puerto Rico; the three sides of the triangle signify the executive, legislative and judicial parts of the government; blue stands for the sky and the coastal waters; red symbolizes the blood shed by warriors, while white represents liberty, victory, and peace
note: design initially influenced by the US flag, but similar to the Cuban flag, with the colors of the bands and triangle reversed
National symbol(s):
Puerto Rican spindalis (bird); coqui (frog)
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 United States, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is official (see United States)
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.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$64.84 billion (2010 est.)
$68.84 billion (2009 est.)
$71.51 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$93.52 billion (2010 est.)
GDP real growth rate:
-5.8% (2010 est.)
-3.7% (2009 est.)
-2.8% (2008 est.)
GDP per capita (PPP):
$16,300 (2010 est.)
$17,400 (2009 est.)
$18,100 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
Gross national saving:
GDP composition, by end use:
household consumption: 88.2%
government consumption: 14.6%
investment in fixed capital: 14%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 106.9%
imports of goods and services: -123.8%
(2013 est.)
GDP composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 0.7%
industry: 48.8%
services: 50.5% (2013 est.)
Agriculture products:
sugarcane, coffee, pineapples, plantains, bananas; livestock products, chickens
pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, food products, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
0.5% (2013 est.)
Labor force:
1.286 million (March 2012)
Labor force by occupation:
agriculture: 2.1%
industry: 19%
services: 79% (2005)
Unemployment rate:
16% (2011 est.)
12% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income Gini index:
revenues: $6.7 billion
expenditures: $9.6 billion (FY99/00)
Taxes and other revenues:
7.2% of GDP (FY99/00)
Budget surplus or deficit:
Public debt:
96.5% of GDP (2013 est.)
93.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
0.9% (2013 est.)
2.6% (2012 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
Stock of narrow money:
Stock of broad money:
Stock of domestic credit:
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Current account balance:
$69.75 billion (2013 est.)
$67.3 billion (2012 est.)
Exports commodities:
chemicals, electronics, apparel, canned tuna, rum, beverage concentrates, medical equipment
Exports partners:
$47.32 billion (2013 est.)
$49 billion (2012 est.)
Imports commodities:
chemicals, machinery and equipment, clothing, food, fish, petroleum products
Imports partners:
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Debt external:
$56.82 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$52.98 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment at home:
Stock of direct foreign investment abroad:
Exchange rates:
the US dollar is used
Electricity production:
20.02 billion kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity consumption:
19.43 billion kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity exports:
0 kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity imports:
0 kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity installed generating capacity:
5.571 million kW (2010 est.)
Electricity from fossil fuels:
97.2% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from hydroelectric plants:
2.8% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from other renewable sources:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Crude oil production:
673.7 bbl/day (2012 est.)
Crude oil exports:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil imports:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products production:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products consumption:
151,600 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products exports:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products imports:
176,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Natural gas production:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas consumption:
770 million cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas exports:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas imports:
750 million cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
28.53 million Mt (2011 est.)
Telephones mobile cellular:
3.06 million (2012)
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern system integrated with that of the US by high-capacity submarine cable and Intelsat with high-speed data capability
domestic: digital telephone system; mobile-cellular services
international: country code - 1-787, 939; submarine cables provide connectivity to the US, Caribbean, Central and South America; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (2011)
Telephones main lines in use:
780,200 (2012)
Broadcast media:
more than 30 TV stations operating; cable TV subscription services are available; roughly 125 radio stations (2007)
Internet country code:
Internet users:
1 million (2009)
Internet hosts:
469 (2012)
29 (2013)
Airports with paved runways:
total: 17
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 5 (2013)
Airports with unpaved runways:
total: 12
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 10 (2013)
total: 26,862 km (includes 454 km of expressways) (2012)
Merchant marine:
Ports and terminals:
major seaport(s): Ensenada Honda, Mayaguez, Playa de Guayanilla, Playa de Ponce, San Juan
container port(s) (TEUs): San Juan (1,484,595)
Military branches:
no regular indigenous military forces; paramilitary National Guard, Police Force
Military service age and obligation:
Manpower available for military service:
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 700,443
females age 16-49: 786,035 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 30,517
female: 29,010 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
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
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Trafficking in persons: