U.S. Virgin Islands

Situated just east of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands are a U.S. territory that includes the islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John. Its population fell by a striking 18 percent over the last decade to 87,000 in 2021—the lowest level since the 1970s. Its economy has been weakened by a series of blows—the closure in 2012 of the Hovensa oil refinery, a major employer; Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, which caused extensive damage and disruptions; and the pandemic in 2020, which devastated its key tourism industry, which is highly dependent on cruise ship visits. Like Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands have been under fiscal stress, but unlike its neighbor to the west, this territory has not resolved the issue. While the U.S. Virgin Islands have not defaulted on debt payments, public debt is high and market access for borrowing is limited.

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

1 2020

2 2021

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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

* Note: Included for comparison.

Reports & Analysis
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)
Regional Employment Trends (March 10, 2023)
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)
Growth Has Slowed across the Region (Dec 17, 2019)
U.S. Virgin Islands Struggle While Puerto Rico Rebounds (Oct 2, 2019)
President Williams’ Regional Visit to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (Mar, 2019)
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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