Puerto Rico at a Glance

Capitol Building, San Juan, P.R

The island

  • Located in the northern Caribbean 1,050 miles of Miami
  • Encompassing 3,492 square miles. It is similar in size to Connecticut
  • Its 3.8 million population equals Arizona and Kentucky
  • The capital city, San Juan, has nearly 500,000 residents
  • Metropolitan San Juan boasts a population of over 1.6 million
  • Temperatures average 75F in Winter, 81F in Summer


  • Local self-governing territory under the US constitution
  • Divided into executive, legislative and judicial branches
  • General elections are held every four years
  • Federal courts and agencies operate in Puerto Rico in the same manner as the 50 states


  • Puerto Ricans have been statutory US citizens since 1917
  • They have no voting representation in Congress and can't vote for the president
  • They receive lower levels of federal benefits but don't pay federal income taxes
  • Their future US citizenship and nationality is not guaranteed


  • English and Spanish have been official languages since 1902
  • English is taught from first through twelfth grade
  • 50% of all Puerto Ricans over the age of 5 speak English and Spanish
  • 85% of Post -Secondary school students speak English and Spanish
  • Federal courts and agencies use English
  • Local governmental affairs are conducted in English and Spanish
  • English is the language of Commerce


  • 100 year tradition of cultural integration with mainland society
  • Island has a Latin American and Caribbean historical and cultural heritage stemming from 400 years of Spanish rule
  • 99% of the population is Christian, 80% are Catholic


  • 86% of the student population is enrolled in public schools
  • The balance attend private schools
  • One of the world's highest post-secondary enrollments with students attending 29 private and 6 public institutions
  • There are also 16 vocational and technological training institutes

Voter Participation

  • Over 80% of eligible voters cast ballots in the island's 1996 general elections


  • Political party alignment follows status preference
  • The Commonwealth party (PPD) and the Statehood Party (PNP) have alternated the governorship since 1968
  • The Independence Party (PIP) has never won a gubernatorial election and received about 4% of the vote in 1996
  • Pro Statehood PNP Governor Rossello was re-elected with 51.8% of the vote, the first time a governor received a majority since 1968
  • Republicans and Democrats are members of all parties


  • Manufacturing (41.5%), service (38.2%) and government (10.4%) lead the economy
  • The currency is the U.S. dollar
  • The gross domestic product was $42.4 B in 1995
  • The gross national product was $28.4 B in 1995
  • The average family income is $26,266.00 (1999).


  • Total exports/imports surpassed $38 B in 1994
  • Puerto Rico had a $4.6 B trade surplus that year
  • The island is one of the leading world customers for U.S. consumer products and industrial material, $12.1 B worth
  • Puerto Rican exports to the U.S. exceeded $21.1 B in 1995


  • Puerto Ricans do not need U.S. passports or visas to travel to or live on the mainland
  • 2.5M Americans of Puerto Rican descent reside on the U.S. mainland
  • There are no customs duties on products shipped to or from the U.S. mainland


  • Puerto Ricans have served in the U.S. armed forces since1917
  • Over 200,000 have fought in all U.S. wars since WWI
  • More than 2,000 have made the supreme sacrifice
  • Four were awarded the congressional medal of honor
  • Roosevelt Roads Naval Base is a U.S. Defense cornerstone
  • Ft. Buchanon is the tactical home of the U.S. Army's Southern Command


  • San Juan is one of the world's 20 busiest container ports
  • It is also among the world's leading cruise ship ports
  • Munoz Marin International Airport is among the top 33 U.S. passenger airports and 21st in cargo handling

Puerto Rico Websites

Puerto Rico
by Magaly Rivera.

The Voice of the People: Referendum Results by Manuel Alvarez

Historic Letter from Congress to the Local Legislature on the 1993 Plebiscite process: Response Letter to Resolution 62 - February 29, 1996

[Puerto Rico 51]

John Hernández's Puerto Rico Webpage

Agoré Telematica's Puerto Rico Webpage

Puerto Rican Web Pages on Yahoo

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