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Puerto Rico
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Flag of Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico

Country Profile

Capital City: San Juan (pop. 435 000)

Other Cities: Bayamón (224 000), Carolina (186 000), Ponce (186 000), Caguas (140 502)

Local Time: UTC -4h

Location: Caribbean island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican Republic.
Terrain: Mostly mountains with coastal plain belt in north; mountains precipitous to sea on west coast; sandy beaches along most coastal areas.

Climate: Tropical marine, mild; little seasonal temperature variation, south coast relatively dry; fertile coastal plain belt in north.

Type: Commonwealth
Chief of state: President George W. BUSH
Independence: none (commonwealth associated with the US)
Constitution: ratified 3 March 1952; effective 25 July 1952

Nationality: noun: Puerto Rican(s), adjective: Puerto Rican
Population: 3 800 000
Ethnic Groups: white (mostly Spanish origin) 80.5%, black 8%, Amerindian 0.4%, Asian 0.2%, mixed and other 10.9%
Religions: Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant and other 15%
Languages: Spanish, English (both official)
Literacy: 94.1%


Currency: US Dollar (USD)

Natural resources: Some copper and nickel; potential for onshore and offshore oil.

Agriculture products: Milk (dairy), Poultry, Plantains, Ornamental Plants, Coffee, Beef and Veal, Bananas, Pork, Fighting Cocks, Seeds and Seedlings.

Industries: Pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, food products, tourism.

Exports partners:
USA 90.3%, UK 1.6%, Netherlands 1.4%, Dominican Republic 1.4% (2002 est.)

Imports partners: USA 55.0%, Ireland 23.7%, Japan 5.4% (2002 est.)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Puerto Rico

Government of Puerto Rico Office of the Governor

Senado del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico -- Municipio

National Weather Service - Forecast Office

Map of Puerto Rico

Map of Central America and the Caribbean


Puerto Rico

Background:  Populated for centuries by aboriginal peoples, the island
was claimed by the Spanish Crown in 1493 following 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 and 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 to retain
commonwealth status.

Geography Puerto Rico

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

Geographic coordinates:  18 15 N, 66 30 W

Map references:  Central America and the Caribbean

Area:  total: 9,104 sq km water: 145 sq km land: 8,959 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly less than three times the size of Rhode

Land boundaries:  0 km

Coastline:  501 km

Maritime claims:  exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM

Climate:  tropical marine, mild; little seasonal temperature variation

Terrain:  mostly mountains, with coastal plain belt in north; mountains
precipitous to sea on west coast; sandy beaches along most coastal areas

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m highest point:
Cerro de Punta 1,338 m

Natural resources:  some copper and nickel; potential for onshore and
offshore oil

Land use:  arable land: 4% permanent crops: 5% other: 91% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  400 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:  periodic droughts; hurricanes

Environment - current issues:  erosion; occasional drought causing
water shortages

Geography - note:  important location along the Mona Passage - a key
shipping lane to the Panama Canal; San Juan is one of the biggest and best
natural harbors in the Caribbean; many small rivers and high central
mountains ensure land is well watered; south coast relatively dry;
fertile coastal plain belt in north

People Puerto Rico

Population:  3,957,988 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 23.5% (male 476,726; female 453,782) 15-64
years: 65.8% (male 1,249,850; female 1,353,438) 65 years and over: 10.7%
(male 180,053; female 244,139) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  0.51% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  15.04 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  7.82 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  -2.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.74 male(s)/female total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  9.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   80.66 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  1.9 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  NA%

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  7,397 (1997)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  NA

Nationality:  noun: Puerto Rican(s) (US citizens) adjective: Puerto Rican

Ethnic groups:  white (mostly Spanish origin) 80.5%, black 8%, Amerindian
0.4%, Asian 0.2%, mixed and other 10.9%

Religions:  Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant and other 15%

Languages:  Spanish, English

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 89% male: 90% female: 88% (1980 est.)

Government Puerto Rico

Country name:  conventional long form: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
conventional short form: Puerto Rico

Dependency status:  commonwealth associated with the US

Government type:  commonwealth

Capital:  San Juan

Administrative divisions:  none (commonwealth associated with the US);
there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the
US Government, but there are 78 municipalities (municipios, singular -
municipio) at the second order; Adjuntas, Aguada, Aguadilla, Aguas Buenas,
Aibonito, Anasco, Arecibo, Arroyo, Barceloneta, Barranquitas, Bayamon,
Cabo Rojo, Caguas, Camuy, Canovanas, Carolina, Catano, Cayey, Ceiba,
Ciales, Cidra, Coamo, Comerio, Corozal, Culebra, Dorado, Fajardo, Florida,
Guanica, Guayama, Guayanilla, Guaynabo, Gurabo, Hatillo, Hormigueros,
Humacao, Isabela, Jayuya, Juana Diaz, Juncos, Lajas, Lares, Las Marias,
Las Piedras, Loiza, Luquillo, Manati, Maricao, Maunabo, Mayaguez,
Moca, Morovis, Naguabo, Naranjito, Orocovis, Patillas, Penuelas, Ponce,
Quebradillas, Rincon, Rio Grande, Sabana Grande, Salinas, San German,
San Juan, San Lorenzo, San Sebastian, Santa Isabel, Toa Alta, Toa Baja,
Trujillo Alto, Utuado, Vega Alta, Vega Baja, Vieques, Villalba, Yabucoa,

Independence:  none (commonwealth associated with the US)

National holiday:  US Independence Day, 4 July (1776)

Constitution:  ratified 3 March 1952; approved by US Congress 3 July 1952;
effective 25 July 1952

Legal system:  based on Spanish civil code and adapted US state laws

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal; indigenous inhabitants are US
citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections

Executive branch:  chief of state: President George W. BUSH of the US
(since 20 January 2001); Vice President Richard B. CHENEY (since 20
January 2001) election results: Sila M. CALDERON (PPD) elected governor;
percent of vote - 48.6% note: residents of Puerto Rico do not vote for US
president and vice president elections: US president and vice president
elected on the same ticket for four-year terms; governor elected by
popular vote for a four-year term; election last held 7 November 2000
(next to be held 2 November 2004) head of government: Governor Sila
M. CALDERON (since 2 January 2001) cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the
governor with the consent of the legislature

Legislative branch:  bicameral Legislative Assembly consists of the Senate
(28 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year
terms) and the House of Representatives (51 seats; members are directly
elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PPD 19, PNP 8,
PIP 1, other 1; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party -
NA%; seats by party - PPD 30, PNP 20, PIP 1 note: Puerto Rico elects,
by popular vote, a resident commissioner to serve a four-year term as a
nonvoting representative in the US House of Representatives; aside from
not voting on the House floor, he enjoys all the rights of a member of
Congress; elections last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held 2 November
2004); results - percent of vote by party - PPD 49.3%; seats by party
- PPD 1; Anibal ACEVEDO-VILA elected resident commissioner elections:
House of Representatives - last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held
2 November 2004)

Judicial branch:  Supreme Court; Appellate Court; Court of First Instance
composed of two sections: a Superior Court and a Municipal Court (justices
for all these courts appointed by the governor with the consent of
the Senate)

Political parties and leaders:  National Democratic Party [Celeste
BENITEZ]; National Republican Party of Puerto Rico [Luis FERRE];
New Progressive Party or PNP (pro-US statehood) [Carlos PESQUERA];
Popular Democratic Party or PPD (pro-commonwealth) [Sila M. CALDERON];
Puerto Rican Independence Party or PIP (pro-independence) [Ruben BERRIOS

Political pressure groups and leaders:  Armed Forces for National
Liberation or FALN; Armed Forces of Popular Resistance; Boricua Popular
Army (also known as the Macheteros); Volunteers of the Puerto Rican

International organization participation:  Caricom (observer), ECLAC
(associate), FAO (associate), ICFTU, Interpol (subbureau), IOC, WCL,
WFTU, WHO (associate)

Diplomatic representation in the US:  none (commonwealth associated with
the US)

Diplomatic representation from the US:  none (commonwealth associated
with the US)

Flag description:  five equal horizontal bands of red (top and bottom)
alternating with white; a blue isosceles triangle based on the hoist
side bears a large, white, five-pointed star in the center; design
initially influenced by the US flag, but similar to the Cuban flag,
with the colors of the bands and triangle reversed

Economy Puerto Rico

Economy - overview:  Puerto Rico has one of the most dynamic
economies in the Caribbean region. A diverse industrial sector has
surpassed agriculture as the primary locus of economic activity and
income. Encouraged by duty-free access to the US and by tax incentives,
US firms have invested heavily in Puerto Rico since the 1950s. US minimum
wage laws apply. Sugar production has lost out to dairy production and
other livestock products as the main source of income in the agricultural
sector. Tourism has traditionally been an important source of income,
with estimated arrivals of nearly 5 million tourists in 1999. Growth
fell off in 2001, largely due to the slowdown in the US economy.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $43.9 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  2.2% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $11,200 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 1% industry: 45% services: 54%
(1999 est.)

Population below poverty line:  NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  5.7% (2000 est.)

Labor force:  1.3 million (2000)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 3%, industry 20%, services 77%
(2000 est.)

Unemployment rate:  9.5% (2000)

Budget:  revenues: $6.7 billion expenditures: $9.6 billion, including
capital expenditures of $NA (FY99/00)

Industries:  pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, food products; tourism

Industrial production growth rate:  NA%

Electricity - production:  20.497 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 99.22% hydro: 0.78%
other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  19.062 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  sugarcane, coffee, pineapples, plantains,
bananas; livestock products, chickens

Exports:  $38.5 billion (f.o.b., 2000)

Exports - commodities:  pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, canned
tuna, rum, beverage concentrates, medical equipment

Exports - partners:  US 88% (2000)

Imports:  $27 billion (c.i.f., 2000)

Imports - commodities:  chemicals, machinery and equipment, clothing,
food, fish, petroleum products

Imports - partners:  US 60% (2000)

Debt - external:  $NA

Economic aid - recipient:  $NA

Currency:  US dollar (USD)

Currency code:  USD

Exchange rates:  the US dollar is used

Fiscal year:  1 July - 30 June

Communications Puerto Rico

Telephones - main lines in use:  1.322 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  169,265 (1996)

Telephone system:  general assessment: modern system, integrated with that
of the US by high-capacity submarine cable and Intelsat with high-speed
data capability domestic: digital telephone system; cellular telephone
service international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat; submarine
cable to US

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 72, FM 17, shortwave 0 (1998)

Radios:  2.7 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  18 (plus three stations of the US Armed
Forces Radio and Television Service) (1997)

Televisions:  1.021 million (1997)

Internet country code:  .pr

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  76 (2000)

Internet users:  200,000 (2000)

Transportation Puerto Rico

Railways:  total: 96 km narrow gauge: 96 km 1.000-m gauge, note: rural,
narrow-gauge system for hauling sugarcane; no passenger service (2001)

Highways:  total: 14,400 km paved: 14,400 km unpaved: 0 km (1996)

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  Guanica, Guayanilla, Guayama, Playa de Ponce, San Juan

Merchant marine:  total: 1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 19,046
GRT/22,582 DWT ships by type: container 1 (2002 est.)

Airports:  30 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 19 over 3,047 m: 3 1,524 to 2,437
m: 3 914 to 1,523 m: 8 under 914 m: 5 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 11 914 to 1,523 m: 2 under 914 m:
9 (2001)

Military Puerto Rico

Military branches:  no regular indigenous military forces; paramilitary
National Guard, Police Force

Military - note:  defense is the responsibility of the US

Transnational Issues Puerto Rico

Disputes - international:  none

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

La Estrella de Puerto Rico

El Nuevo Dia

Primera Hora

Yahoo! News Full Coverage-Puerto Rico News

Arts & Culture
A Collector's Vision of Puerto Rico

El Museo del Barrio

Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular

Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña

Museo de Arte de Ponce

Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico

El cuarto del Quenepón

Business & Economy
ABPR - Asociacion de Bancos de Puerto Rico

Banco Popular de Puerto Rico

Cámara de Comercio de PR

Puerto Rico Convention Bureau

Directorio de Puerto Rico Comercial y Profesional

Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association

Products of Puerto Rico

Café Rico
Destination Puerto Rico - Travel and Tour Guides
Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association

Escape to Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Internet Photo Gallery

Puerto Rico Online Magazine

Sol Boricua

Welcome to Puerto Rico

Historical Photographs of Puerto Rico, 1898-1940

San Juan
San Juan Ciudad Capital

San Juan

Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico

Universidad de Puerto Rico

Universidad del Sagrado Corazón

Science and Research
Arecibo Observatory

National Hurricane Center / Tropical Prediction Center - NHC/TPC

Puerto Rico History

Puerto Rico at the Dawn of the Modern Age

Timeline of the History of Puerto Rico

WWW-VL History: Puerto Rico

Taino Turabo Aymaco Tribe of Puerto Rico

The Jatibonicu Taino Tribal Nation of Boriken

The United Confederation Of Taino People (UCTP)

Puerto Rican Issues
Puerto Rico Herald


Vieques Libre

Biblioteca Virtual de Puerto Rico


Directory of Resources for Research on Puerto Rico


Newsgroup of Puerto Rico





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