Puerto Rico - Statistics & Facts

Puerto Rico is an archipelago located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic, and west of the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. It is a self-governing commonwealth that is also territory of the United States. The capital and largest city of Puerto Rico is San Juan. The total population of Puerto Rico is declining. Since 2003, the number of inhabitants has decreased by approximately 200 thousand people. The decreasing numbers become even more obvious in the year-over-year growth. For over a decade, the Puerto Rican population growth has been on a steep decline. The decrease is so severe, Puerto Rico has even been ranked among the countries with the highest population decline rate for the past years. One cause of this is the fertility rate, which has also been steadily decreasing. However, due to improved infrastructure and health care, life expectancy at birth and average age of the population, both usually factors in the reduction of population figures, have been increasing slightly over the past decade. Another reason is, of course, emigration. Younger Puerto Ricans move elsewhere to find work or better economic conditions. Since Puerto Ricans carry U.S. citizenship, many move there.

Originally a Spanish colony, Puerto Rico was invaded by the United States during the Spanish-American War of 1898, putting an end to centuries of Spanish rule. Today, Puerto Rico remains a United States territory, despite a 2012 non-binding referendum which proved that over two thirds of the voters favored statehood. Due to the tropical climate and year-round warm weather and the varied landscape, tourism is one of the most important sources of income in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Ricans do not pay United States income tax, and the island receives federal funds. Despite this, the Puerto Rican economy is struggling a bit due to the low incomes and high unemployment rate, which has been hovering in the double digits for over a decade now. In addition, the real gross domestic product in Puerto Rico is in the red and shows no real signs of recovery. Its trade balance, however, has been on the rise over the past decade, reflecting the positive development of export and import . One of Puerto Rico's most famous exports is Bacardi rum, which is an important pillar of Puerto Rican economy, along with tourism.

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