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*
USA
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

* Note: Included for comparison

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.

Reports & Analysis
Puerto Rico Economic Indicators (detailed data and timely updates)
NEW: Early Benchmarked Employment Data
Enhancing Community Development Investments in Puerto Rico (Jul 16, 2019)
President Williams’ Regional Visit to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (May 23, 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)
Labor Markets in the Region Are Exceptionally Tight (Dec 4, 2018)
Investing in America's Workforce—Puerto Rico (2017)
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)
Just Released: Economic Press Briefing Focuses on Regional Wage Inequality (Aug 10, 2017)