Introduction    Puertorico Top of Page
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.
   Geography    Puertorico Top of Page
Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican Republic
Geographic coordinates:
18 15 N, 66 30 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
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: 3.69%
permanent crops: 5.59%
other: 90.72% (2005)
Irrigated land:
220 sq km (2008)
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    Puertorico Top of Page
3,989,133 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 18.8% (male 383,748/female 367,484)
15-64 years: 66.1% (male 1,270,557/female 1,366,417)
65 years and over: 15.1% (male 258,570/female 342,357) (2011 est.)
Median age:
total: 37.3 years
male: 35.5 years
female: 39 years (2011 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.254% (2011 est.)
Birth rate:
11.35 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate:
7.95 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.86 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
urban population: 99% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 0.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major cities - population:
SAN JUAN (capital) 2.73 million (2009)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 8.07 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 8.83 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.26 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.92 years
male: 75.31 years
female: 82.71 years (2011 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.62 children born/woman (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
7,397 (1997)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Puerto Rican(s) (US citizens)
adjective: Puerto Rican
Ethnic groups:
white (mostly Spanish origin) 76.2%, black 6.9%, Asian 0.3%, Amerindian 0.2%, mixed 4.4%, other 12% (2007)
Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant and other 15%
Spanish, English
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.1%
male: 93.9%
female: 94.4% (2002 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
Education expenditures:
   Government    Puertorico Top of Page
Country name:
conventional long form: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
conventional short form: Puerto Rico
Dependency status:
unincorporated, organized territory of the US with commonwealth status; policy relations between Puerto Rico and the US conducted under the jurisdiction of the Office of the President
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)
ratified 3 March 1952; approved by US Congress 3 July 1952; effective 25 July 1952
Legal system:
civil law system based on the Spanish civil code and within the framework of the US federal system
18 years of age; universal; 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 Luis FORTUNO (since 2 January 2009)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor with the consent of the legislature
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
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 4 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2012)
election results: Luis FORTUNO elected governor with 52.8% 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 4 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2012); House of Representatives - last held on 4 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2012)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - PNP 81.5%, PPD 18.5%; seats by party - PNP 22, PPD 5; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - PNP 72.5%, PPD 27.5%; seats by party - PNP 37, PPD 14
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 4 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2012); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PNP 1
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; Appellate Court; Court of First Instance composed of two sections: a Superior Court and a Municipal Court (justices for all these courts appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate)
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, ITUC, UNWTO (associate), UPU
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (territory of the US with commonwealth status)
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 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    Puertorico Top of Page
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 more than 3.6 million tourists in 2008.
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
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 45%
services: 54% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
1.479 million (2007)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 2.1%
industry: 19%
services: 79% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate:
12% (2002)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
revenues: $6.7 billion
expenditures: $9.6 billion (FY99/00)
Taxes and other revenues:
7.2% of GDP (FY99/00)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-3.1% of GDP (FY99/00)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.5% (2010 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
3.25% (31 December 2010 est.) 3.25% (31 December 2009 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Agriculture - products:
sugarcane, coffee, pineapples, plantains, bananas; livestock products, chickens
pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, food products, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
23.72 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - consumption:
22.06 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production:
1,783 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil - consumption:
164,100 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil - exports:
16,520 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports:
225,000 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
806.6 million cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
806.6 million cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2010 est.)
Current account balance:
$67.6 million (2009 est.)
$68.86 billion (2010 est.) $60.81 billion (2009 est.)
Exports - commodities:
chemicals, electronics, apparel, canned tuna, rum, beverage concentrates, medical equipment
$41.43 billion (2010 est.) $40.65 billion (2009 est.)
Imports - commodities:
chemicals, machinery and equipment, clothing, food, fish, petroleum products
Debt - external:
$NA (31 December 2010 est.) $52.98 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Exchange rates:
the US dollar is used
   Communications    Puertorico Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
870,100 (2009)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
2.716 million (2009)
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
Broadcast media:
more than 30 television stations operating; cable TV subscription services are available; roughly 125 radio stations operating (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 72, FM 17, shortwave 0 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
18 (plus three stations of the US Armed Forces Radio and Television Service) (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
482 (2010)
Internet users:
1 million (2009)
   Transportation    Puertorico Top of Page
29 (2010)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 17
over 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 5 (2010)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 12
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 10 (2010)
total: 26,670 km
paved: 25,337 km (includes 427 km of expressways)
unpaved: 1,333 km (2008)
Merchant marine:
total: 3
by type: roll on/roll off 3
foreign-owned: 3 (US 3)
registered in other countries: 1 (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Ensenada Honda, Mayaguez, Playa de Guayanilla, Playa de Ponce, San Juan
   Military    Puertorico Top of Page
Military branches:
no regular indigenous military forces; paramilitary National Guard, Police Force
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.)
defense is the responsibility of the US
   Transnational Issues    Puertorico Top of Page
increasing numbers of illegal migrants from the Dominican Republic cross the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico each year looking for work

This page was last updated on 14 May 2009


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Nam facilisis. Morbi aliquet massa quis turpis. Aenean nonummy, mauris non aliquet commodo, nisi lacus facilisis ipsum, id bibendum turpis purus vitae sem.


Another thing

Third and last