Puerto Rico 1997Puerto%20Rico

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Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico 


Puerto Rico - Introduction 1997
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Background: Discovered by Columbus in 1493 the island was ceded by Spain to the US in 1898 following the Spanish-American War. A popularly elected governor has served since 1948. In plebiscites held in 1967 and 1993 voters chose to retain commonwealth status.

Puerto Rico - Geography 1997
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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 referenceCentral America and the Caribbean

Total: 9,104 km²
Land: 8,959 km²
Water: 145 km²
Comparative: slightly less than three times the size of Rhode Island

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

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

Natural resources: some copper and nickel, potential for onshore and offshore oil
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 4%
Permanent crops: 5%
Permanent pastures: 26%
Forests and woodland: 16%
Other: 49% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 390 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: periodic droughts

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

Puerto Rico - People 1997
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Population: 3,828,506 (July 1997 est.)
Growth rate: 0.93% (1997 est.)

Noun: Puerto Rican(s) (US citizens)
Adjective: Puerto Rican

Ethnic groups: Hispanic

Languages: Spanish, English

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

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 25% (male 485,782; female 463,226)
15-64 years: 65% (male 1,192,306; female 1,298,256)
65 years and over: 10% (male 170,170; female 218,766) (July 1997 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 0.93% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 17.21 births/1000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 7.87 deaths/1000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1000 population (1997 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: the recent drought has caused water levels in reservoirs to drop and prompted water rationing for more than one-half of the population

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 11.2 deaths/1000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 74.49 years
Male: 70.04 years
Female: 79.22 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.08 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 89%
Male: 90%
Female: 88% (1980 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Puerto Rico - Government 1997
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Country name
Conventional long form: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Conventional short form: Puerto Rico

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

Dependent areas

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

International law organization participation


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 of the US William Jefferson CLINTON (since 20 January 1993); Vice President Albert GORE, Jr. (since 20 January 1993)
Head of government: Governor Pedro ROSSELLO (since 2 January 1993)
Cabinet: NA
Elections: governor of Puerto Rico elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held 5 November 1996 (next to be held NA November 2000)
Election results: Pedro ROSSELLO reelected governor of Puerto Rico; percent of vote - NA

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 (54 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
Elections: Senate - last held 5 November 1996 (next to be held 7 November 2000); House of Representatives - last held 5 November 1996 (next to be held 7 November 2000)
Election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PNP 19, PPD 8, PIP 1; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PNP 37, PPD 16, PIP 1
Note: Puerto Rico elects one representative to the US House of Representatives; elections last held 5 November 1996 (next to be held 7 November 2000); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PNP 1 (Carlos Romero BARCELO)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, justices appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate; Superior Courts, justices appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate; Municipal Courts, justices appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate

Political parties and leaders

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

Diplomatic representation
In the us: none (commonwealth associated with the US)
From the us: none (commonwealth associated with the US)

Flag descriptionflag of Puerto%20Rico: 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 based on the US flag

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Puerto Rico - Economy 1997
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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 for the island, with estimated arrivals of nearly 3.9 million tourists in 1993.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 3% (1996 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: NA%
Industry: NA%
Services: NA%

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

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

Industrial production growth rate: 5% (1994 est.)

Labor force
Total: 1.3 million (1996)
By occupation government: 22%
By occupation manufacturing: 17%
By occupation trade: 20%
By occupation construction: 6%
By occupation communicationsandtransportation: 5%
By occupation other: 30% (1993)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 14% (FY95/96 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $5.1 billion
Expenditures: $5.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $N/A (FY94/95)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Total value: $22.9 billion (f.o.b. 1996)
Commodities: pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, canned tuna, rum, beverage concentrates, medical equipment
Partners: US 88% (1995 est.)

Total value: $19.1 billion (c.i.f. 1996)
Commodities: chemicals, clothing, food, fish, petroleum products
Partners: US 62% (1995 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $NA

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: US currency is used

Puerto Rico - Energy 1997
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 16.82 billion kWh (1994)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 4,231 kWh (1995 est.)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Puerto Rico - Communication 1997
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: modern system, integrated with that of the US by high-capacity submarine cable and Intelsat with high-speed data capability
Domestic: digital telephone system with about 1 million lines (1990 est.); cellular telephone service
International: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat; submarine cable to US

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Puerto Rico - Military 1997
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Military expenditures

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Puerto Rico - Transportation 1997
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 22 (1996 est.)
With paved runways total: 20
With paved runways over 3047 m: 3
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 3
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 7
With paved runways under 914 m: 7 (1996 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 2
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 2 (1996 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 20
Over 3047 m: 3
15-24 to 2437 m: 3
914 to 1523 m: 7
Under 914 m: 7 (1996 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 2
914 to 1523 m: 2 (1996 est.)



Total: 96 km
Narrow gauge: 96 km 1.000-m gauge, rural, narrow-gauge system for hauling sugarcane; no passenger service



Merchant marine: none

Ports and terminals

Puerto Rico - Transnational issues 1997
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Disputes international: none

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs

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