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By Out Links > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Puerto Rico
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Map of Puerto Rico
IntroductionTop
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 to retain commonwealth status.
GeographyTop
Location: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
Area:total: 9,104 sq km
land: 8,959 sq km
water: 145 sq km

Area - comparative:slightly less than three times the size of Rhode Island
Land boundaries:0 km
Coastline:501 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate:tropical marine, mild; little seasonal temperature variation
Terrain: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: 3.95%
permanent crops: 5.52%
other: 90.53% (2001)

Irrigated land:400 sq km (1998 est.)
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
PeopleTop
Population:3,916,632 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 22% (male 441,594/female 421,986)
15-64 years: 65.5% (male 1,228,583/female 1,337,066)
65 years and over: 12.4% (male 211,283/female 276,120) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 34.23 years
male: 32.5 years
female: 35.87 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:0.47% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:13.93 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:7.86 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:-1.38 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 8.24 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 9.52 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 77.62 years
male: 73.67 years
female: 81.77 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:1.91 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:7,397 (1997)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:NA
Nationality:noun: Puerto Rican(s) (US citizens)
adjective: Puerto Rican

Ethnic groups:white (mostly Spanish origin) 80.5%, black 8%, Amerindian 0.4%, Asian 0.2%, mixed and other 10.9%
Religions:Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant and other 15%
Languages:Spanish, English
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.1%
male: 93.7%
female: 94.4% (2002)

GovernmentTop
Country name:conventional long form: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
conventional short form: Puerto Rico

Government type:commonwealth
Capital:San Juan
Administrative divisions:none (commonwealth associated with the US); 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
Independence:none (commonwealth associated with the US)
National holiday:US Independence Day, 4 July (1776); Puerto Rico Constitution Day, 25 July (1952)
Constitution:ratified 3 March 1952; approved by US Congress 3 July 1952; effective 25 July 1952
Legal system:based on Spanish civil code and within the US Federal system of justice
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal; island residents are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections
Executive branch:chief of state: President George W. BUSH of the US (since 20 January 2001)
head of government: Governor Anibal ACEVEDO-VILA (since 2 January 2005)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor with the consent of the legislature
elections: US president and vice president elected on the same ticket for four-year terms; governor elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held 2 November 2004 (next to be held November 2008)
election results: Anibal ACEVEDO-VILA (PPD) elected governor; percent of vote - 48.4%

Legislative branch:bicameral Legislative Assembly consists of the Senate (at least 27 seats - currently 29; members are directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the House of Representatives (51 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 2 November 2004 (next to be held November 2008); House of Representatives - last held 2 November 2004 (next to be held November 2008)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - PNP 43.4%, PPD 40.3%, PIP 9.4%; seats by party - PNP 17, PPD 9, PIP 1; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - PNP 46.3%, PPD 43.1%, PIP 9.7%; seats by party - PNP 32, PPD 18, PIP 1
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 2 November 2004 (next to be held November 2008); results - percent of vote by party - PNP 48.6%; seats by party - PNP 1; Luis FORTUNO elected resident commissioner

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 [Celeste BENITEZ]; National Republican Party of Puerto Rico [Dr. Tiody FERRE]; New Progressive Party or PNP (pro-US statehood) [Pedro ROSSELLO]; Popular Democratic Party or PPD (pro-commonwealth) [Anibal ACEVEDO-VILA]; Puerto Rican Independence Party or PIP (pro-independence) [Ruben BERRIOS Martinez]
Political pressure groups and leaders:Armed Forces for National Liberation or FALN; Armed Forces of Popular Resistance; Boricua Popular Army (also known as the Macheteros); Volunteers of the Puerto Rican Revolution
International organization participation:ICFTU, Interpol (subbureau), IOC, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WToO (associate)
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; design initially influenced by the US flag, but similar to the Cuban flag, with the colors of the bands and triangle reversed
EconomyTop
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 1999. Growth fell off in 2001-03, largely due to the slowdown in the US economy, and has recovered in 2004.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $68.95 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:2.7% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $17,700 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 1%
industry: 45%
services: 54% (2002 est.)

Labor force:1.3 million (2000)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture 3%, industry 20%, services 77% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:12% (2002)
Population below poverty line:NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA

Inflation rate (consumer prices):6.5% (2003 est.)
Budget:revenues: $6.7 billion
expenditures: $9.6 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (FY99/00)

Agriculture - products:sugarcane, coffee, pineapples, plantains, bananas, livestock products, chickens
Industries:pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, food products, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:NA%
Electricity - production:22.09 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 99.2%
hydro: 0.8%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:20.54 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:190,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Natural gas - production:0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:630 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:630 million cu m (2001 est.)
Exports:$46.9 billion f.o.b. (2001)
Exports - commodities:chemicals, electronics, apparel, canned tuna, rum, beverage concentrates, medical equipment
Exports - partners:US 90.3%, UK 1.6%, Netherlands 1.4%, Dominican Republic 1.4% (2002 est.)
Imports:$29.1 billion c.i.f. (2001)
Imports - commodities:chemicals, machinery and equipment, clothing, food, fish, petroleum products
Imports - partners:US 55.0%, Ireland 23.7%, Japan 5.4% (2002 est.)
Debt - external:NA
Currency (code):US dollar (USD)
Currency code:USD
Exchange rates:the US dollar is used
Fiscal year:1 July - 30 June
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:1,329,500 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:1,211,111 (2001)
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; cellular telephone service
international: country code - 1-787, 939; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat; submarine cable to US

Radio broadcast stations:AM 72, FM 17, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios:2.7 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:6 (19 relay stations) (2004)
Televisions:1.021 million (1997)
Internet country code:.pr
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):76 (2000)
Internet users:600,000 (2002)
TransportationTop
Railways:total: 96 km
narrow gauge: 96 km 1.000-m gauge (2004)

Highways:total: 25,328 km
paved: 23,665 km (including 426 km of expressways)
unpaved: 1,363 km (2004)

Ports and harbors:Aguadilla, Arecibo, Fajardo, Guanica, Guayanilla, Guayama, Mayaguez, Playa de Ponce, San Juan
Merchant marine:total: 2 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 36,728 GRT/37,048 DWT
by type: roll on/roll off 2
foreign-owned: 2 (United States 2)
registered in other countries: 1 (2005)

Airports:30 (2004 est.)
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 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 13
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 10 (2004 est.)

MilitaryTop
Military branches:no regular indigenous military forces; paramilitary National Guard, Police Force
Military note:defense is the responsibility of the US
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:increasing numbers of illegal migrants from the Dominican Republic cross the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico each year looking for work



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