Puerto Rico

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has a population of around 3.3 million. The San Juan-Caguas area is the largest of the island’s seven metropolitan areas, representing roughly 75 percent of the island’s economy. Puerto Rico has suffered from a severe and prolonged economic slump for more than a decade, with GDP, population, and employment all on a downward trend since 2006 when a tax incentive for manufacturers—Section 936—was phased out. The pharmaceuticals industry remains a key part of the island’s economy, though employment in this industry has been cut in half since the phase-out began. While Puerto Rico’s tourism sector is relatively small, it is one of the few industries that has been adding jobs in recent years. In addition, a fledgling aerospace industry has emerged around Aguadilla and Arecibo. Wages and educational attainment in Puerto Rico tend to be about half the level of the mainland, and income inequality is considerably higher. The island also suffers from high debt and has been dealing with a fiscal crisis. Hurricane Maria in 2017 had a severe effect on the island, causing the most extensive blackout in U.S. history and exacerbating preexisting economic difficulties.

Economic and Demographic Trends
Puerto Rico U.S.
Virgin Islands
Population1 3,337,000 103,000 325,719,000
Pop growth, 10-year change1 -11.8% -4.4% 8.1%
GDP, billions2 $104 $4 $18,510
Job growth, 5-year-change1 -7.2% -7.2% 9.3%
Median household income2 $20,000 $31,000 $57,000
Median home price2 $100,000 n/a $200,000
Pop share age 25+ with BA+2 25.3% 17.0% 31.3%

1 2017

2 2016
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; IPUMS USA-University of Minnesota; Government of Puerto Rico. Data retrieved through American FactFinder, Moody's Economy.com, or directly from source.