Puerto Rico

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has a population of almost 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 had suffered from a severe and prolonged economic slump from 2006-17 with GDP, population, and employment all on a downward trend. That downturn was punctuated by Hurricane Maria in 2017, followed by the most extensive power outage in U.S. history, which caused a further, but short-lived, drop-off in the economy. Since then, the economy has been growing, interrupted only briefly by a steep drop early in the pandemic. However, the economy bounced back strongly, and as of mid-2022, private-sector employment was at a fifteen-year high. The medical manufacturing cluster remains a key part of the island’s economy, though employment in this industry is well below its peak levels of 2005. Puerto Rico’s tourism sector is still relatively small, but it has been one of the Commonwealth’s strongest job creators in recent years. In addition, a fledgling aerospace industry has emerged around Aguadilla and Arecibo. Wages in Puerto Rico tend to be about half the level of the mainland, and income inequality is considerably higher. However, educational attainment is only modestly lower than on the mainland. The island has made great progress in resolving and rebounding from its extensive fiscal crisis.

Economic and Demographic Trends
Puerto Rico U.S. Virgin Islands* USA
Population1 3,286,000 87,000 331,449,000
Pop growth, 10-year change1 -11.8% -18.1% 7.4%
GDP, billions1 $103 $4 $20,894
Job growth, 5-year change2 -2.0% -8.8% 1.2%
Median household income1 $20,230 $40,408 $67,000
Median home price1 $100,000 $290,558 $250,000
Pop share age 25+ with BA+1 27.2% 22.3% 35.1%

1 2020

2 2021

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; IPUMS USA-University of Minnesota; Government of Puerto Rico Planning Board.

Data retrieved through data.census.gov, Moody's Economy.com, or directly from source.

* Note: Included for comparison.

Figures for Puerto Rico for Median Household Income, Median Home Price, and Educational Attainment are from the 2019 Puerto Rico Community Survey.

Reports & Analysis
Regional Employment Trends (September 8, 2023)
Press Briefing: The Region’s Recovery from the Pandemic Recession (April 13, 2023)
LSE Blog: The Tri-State Region’s Recovery from the Pandemic Recession Three Years On (April 13, 2023)
Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands Hub
2014 Update on the Competitiveness of the Puerto Rico Economy (2014)
2012 Report on the Competitiveness of the Puerto Rico Economy (2012)
Press Briefing: Employment and Housing Conditions in the Second District (Nov 10, 2022)
Jaison Abel's Briefing on Economic Conditions in the Region (Nov 5, 2021)
U.S. Virgin Islands Struggle While Puerto Rico Rebounds (Oct 2, 2019)
Cómo incentivar las inversiones en desarrollo comunitario en Puerto Rico (Jul 30, 2019)
Enhancing Community Development Investments in Puerto Rico (Jul 16, 2019)
President Williams’ Regional Visit to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (Mar, 2019)
Latino-Owned Businesses: Shining a Light on National Trends (released Nov 2018)
Puerto Rico Post-Maria: Twelve Months of Hardship (Sep 28, 2018)
Puerto Rico Small Businesses and the 2017 Hurricanes (Sep 27, 2018)
U.S. Virgin Islands' Economy Hit Hard by Irma and Maria (Jul 9, 2018)
Just Released: Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricanes Irma and Maria (Feb 22, 2018)
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