U.S. Virgin Islands

Situated just east of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands are a U.S. territory with a population of around 100,000 that includes the islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John. The economy of the U.S. Virgin Islands has been sluggish, partly owing to the closure in 2012 of the Hovensa oil refinery, which had been a large and important employer. Tourism has long been the major industry on the tropical islands. Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 hit the islands and the local economy hard—particularly the tourism sector. Like Puerto Rico, the islands are under fiscal stress. 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
Population2 103,000     3,337,000 325,719,000
Pop growth, 10-year change2 -4.4%     -11.8% 8.1%
GDP, billions2 $4     $104 $18,510
Job growth, 5-year change1 -7.2%     -7.2% 9.3%
Median household income3 $31,000     $20,000 $57,000
Median home price2 n/a     $100,000 $200,000
Pop share age 25+ with BA+ 17.0%     25.3% 31.3%


1 2017

2 2016

3 2013

* Note: Included for comparison

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis; World Bank; University of the Virgin Islands. Data retrieved through American FactFinder, Moody's Economy.com, or directly from source.

Notes: Median household income is from the American Community Survey 2013 1-Year Estimate. Educational attainment figures are from 2013 for the U.S. Virgin Islands and from 2016 for Puerto Rico and the USA.

Reports & Analysis
U.S. Virgin Islands Economic Indicators (a new feature with detailed data and timely updates)
Labor Markets in the Region Are Exceptionally Tight (Dec 4, 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 9, 2018)
Just Released: Economic Press Briefing Focuses on Regional Wage Inequality (Aug 10, 2017)