Puerto Rico

Economics, Political, and Trade Overview

Source: Feb 10, 2022 Economist Intelligence Unit

Puerto Rico - In Short.

Overview of Puerto Rico

Populated for centuries by aboriginal peoples, the island was claimed by the Spanish Crown in 1493 following Christopher COLUMBUS’ second voyage to the Americas. In 1898, after 400 years of colonial rule that saw the indigenous population nearly exterminated and African slave labor introduced, Puerto Rico was ceded to the US as a result of the Spanish-American War. Puerto Ricans were granted US citizenship in 1917. Popularly elected governors have served since 1948. In 1952, a constitution was enacted providing for internal self-government. In plebiscites held in 1967, 1993, and 1998, voters chose not to alter the existing political status with the US, but the results of a 2012 vote left open the possibility of American statehood. Economic recession on the island has led to a net population loss since about 2005, as large numbers of residents moved to the US mainland. The trend has accelerated since 2010; in 2014, Puerto Rico experienced a net population loss to the mainland of 64,000, more than double the net loss of 26,000 in 2010. Hurricane Maria struck the island on 20 September 2017 causing catastrophic damage, including destruction of the electrical grid that had been cripled by Hurricane Irma just two weeks before. It was the worst storm to hit the island in eight decades, and damage is estimated in the tens of billions of dollars. A referendum held in late 2020 showed a narrow preference for American statehood.
Country Full Name
Puerto Rico
Country Code
Latin America & Caribbean
Income Group
High income
Currency Unit
Land Area
Net National Income Per Capita
GDP per Capita (PPP)

2020 GDP Growth Rate (Current USD)

2020 GDP Per Capita (Current USD)

2020 Urbanization Rate (%)

2020 Total Fertility Rate (Birth Per Woman)

Doing Business Score (100= Most Friendly)

Puerto Rico - Economic

Economy of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico had one of the most dynamic economies in the Caribbean region until 2006; however, growth has been negative for each of the last 11 years. The downturn coincided with the phaseout of tax preferences that had led US firms to invest heavily in the Commonwealth since the 1950s, and a steep rise in the price of oil, which generates most of the island’s electricity.Diminished job opportunities prompted a sharp rise in outmigration, as many Puerto Ricans sought jobs on the US mainland. Unemployment reached 16% in 2011, but declined to 11.5% in December 2017. US minimum wage laws apply in Puerto Rico, hampering job expansion. Per capita income is about two-thirds that of the US mainland.The industrial sector greatly exceeds agriculture as the locus of economic activity and income. Tourism has traditionally been an important source of income with estimated arrivals of more than 3.6 million tourists in 2008. Puerto Rico’s merchandise trade surplus is exceptionally strong, with exports nearly 50% greater than imports, and its current account surplus about 10% of GDP.Closing the budget deficit while restoring economic growth and employment remain the central concerns of the government. The gap between revenues and expenditures amounted to 0.6% of GDP in 2016, although analysts believe that not all expenditures have been accounted for in the budget and a better accounting of costs would yield an overall deficit of roughly 5% of GDP. Public debt remained steady at 92.5% of GDP in 2017, about $17,000 per person, or nearly three times the per capita debt of the State of Connecticut, the highest in the US. Much of that debt was issued by state-run schools and public corporations, including water and electric utilities. In June 2015, Governor Alejandro GARCIA Padilla announced that the island could not pay back at least $73 billion in debt and that it would seek a deal with its creditors.Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico square on in September 2017, causing electrical power outages to 90% of the territory, as well as extensive loss of housing and infrastructure and contamination of potable water. Despite massive efforts, more than 40% of the territory remained without electricity as of yearend 2017. As a result of the destruction, many Puerto Ricans have emigrated to the US mainland.

Unemployment Rate

Inflation Rate

Puerto Rico - GDP Composition

GDP Composiiton & Value Added of Puerto Rico

Last Updated: Jan, 2021, Updated For 2020.

Puerto Rico - GDP, Value Added

Demographics of Puerto Rico

population clusters tend to be found along the coast, the largest of these is found in and around San Juan; an exception to this is a sizeable population located in the interior of the island immediately south of the capital around Caguas; most of the interior, particularly in the western half of the island, is dominated by the Cordillera Central mountains, where population density is low
Geographic Location

Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican Republic


White 75.8%, Black/African American 12.4%, other 8.5% (includes American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, other Pacific Islander, and others), mixed 3.3% (2010 est.)note: 99% of the population is Latino


Spanish, Englishmajor-language


Roman Catholic 56%, Protestant 33% (largely Pentecostal), other 2%, atheist 1%, none 7% (2014 est.)

Dependency & Expectancy of Puerto Rico

Last Updated: Jan, 2021

Dependency Ratio


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Puerto Rico - Social Media Briefing

Puerto Rico - Social Media & Social Commerce

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Politics & Policies of Puerto Rico

2021 Policies Overview

Updated Coming in March 2021 after our team finish summarizing countries policy.

International Organizations

AOSIS (observer), Caricom (observer), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, UNWTO (associate), UPU, WFTU (NGOs)

Import of Puerto Rico

Export of Puerto Rico

Import Destination

Export Destination