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
Population1 107,000     3,194,000 328,240,000
Pop growth, 10-year change1 -1.6%     -15.0% 7.0%
GDP, billions1 $4     $105 $21,433
Job growth, 5-year change1 -2.0%     -3.1% 8.6%
Median household income1 n/a     $20,230 $65,000
Median home price1 n/a     $100,000 $200,000
Pop share age 25+ with BA+1 n/a     27.2% 33.1%

1 2019

* Note: Included for comparison

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis; World Bank. Data retrieved through data.census.gov, Moody's Economy.com, or directly from source.

Notes: USVI population figure is from the World Bank and the GDP figure for USVI is from 2018. Recent data on household income, educational attainment, and home prices are not available for USVI.

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)
U.S. Virgin Islands Economic Indicators (detailed data and timely updates)
Regional Employment Trends (May 23, 2022)
Press Briefing on the Regional Economic Recovery (Dec 17, 2021)
Jaison Abel's Briefing on Economic Conditions in the Region (Nov 5, 2021)
Tracking the Spread of COVID-19 in the Region (Aug 27, 2020)
Jason Bram's Briefing on Regional Economic Conditions During the Pandemic (July 14, 2020)
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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