OFFICIAL NAME: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
CAPITAL: San Juan
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Self-Governing Commonwealth in association
with the U.S.A.
AREA: 9,014 Sq Km (3,515 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 3,856,500
LOCATION AND GEOGRAPHY: Puerto Rico is smallest and most easterly
island of the Greater Antilles. It is bound by the Atlantic
Ocean to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south. Around
80% of the island's land area is mountainous and hilly.
The central mountain chain or Cordillera Central that runs
east to west, divides the country into distinct north and
south regions. The country's highest point, Cerro de Punta,
lies in the Cordillera Central and the only low lying areas
are the narrow coastal plains and some inland valleys. There
are over 1,000 small streams including 45 rivers that flow
to the sea, although all are shallow and non-navigable.
Major Cities (pop. est.); San Juan 426,800, Ponce 159,200,
Caguas 92,400, Mayaguez 83,000, Arecibo 49,500 (1990). Land
Use; forested 20%, pastures 38%, agricultural-cultivated
14%, other 28% (1992).
CLIMATE: Puerto Rico has a tropical climate at lower elevations
and a subtropical at higher elevations. Both temperatures and rainfall
are affected by the NE trade winds. Humidity is relatively high in summer
and most rainfall occurs between May and December. Average annual precipitation
varies from 1,550 mm (161 inches) in the north to 910 mm (36 inches) in
the south. Average temperature ranges in San Juan are from 27 degrees Celsius
(81 degrees Fahrenheit) in July to 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit)
PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are Whites who account
for 80% of the population and are predominantly of Spanish or mixed Spanish
descent. The remainder are Blacks of African descent.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 392 persons per sq km
(1,015 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 71.2% urban, 28.8% rural
(1990). Sex Distribution; 48.4% male, 51.6% female (1990). Life Expectancy
at Birth; 71.5 years male, 78.4 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 27%
under 15, 25% 15 to 29, 21% 30 to 44, 14% 45 to 59, 9% 60 to 74, 4% 75
and over (1990). Birth Rate; 18.3 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 6.9 per
1,000 (1990). Increase Rate; 11.4 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate;
13.0 per 1,000 live births (1991).
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with 85% of the population Roman
Catholic while 10% are Protestant.
LANGUAGES: The official languages are Spanish, which is spoken
by the majority of the population, and English which is also widely understood.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: incomplete primary
47.8%, incomplete secondary 12.7%, secondary 21.1%, higher 18.4% (1987).
Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over 1,948,151 or 89.1% (1980).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1991: In 1947 the US Congress amended
the Jones Act to permit Puerto Ricans to elect their own Governor and in
1949 Luis Munoz Marin was inaugurated as the first elected Governor of
Puerto Rico. In 1952 Puerto Rico was granted a new constitution and became
a Commonwealth in association with the USA. In 1967 a plebiscite resulted
in the majority of Puerto Ricans favoring a continuation of the Commonwealth
versus a statehood or independence. In 1968 Luis A. Ferre was elected Governor
and was replaced by Rafael Hernandez Colon after elections in 1972. In
1976 Carlos Romero Barcelo was elected Governor and was reelected in 1980.
In 1984 Hernandez was re-elected as Governor and again in 1988. In Mar.
1991 Gov. Hernandez authorized a law which made Spanish the island's only
official language, whereas, Spanish and English had been the official languages
for 89 years.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the US Dollar (USD) divided
into 100 Cents.
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $25,317,000,000 (1993).
Public Debt; USD $15,257,500,000 (1994). Imports; USD $16,654,200,000 (1994).
Exports; USD $21,752,600,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; USD $1,736,600,000
(1994). Balance of Trade; USD $5,098,000,000 (1994). Economically Active
Population; 1,203,000 or 32.9% of total population (1994). Unemployed;
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partner is the USA.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Copper Ore, Cotton, Fish, Fruit, Hydroelectricity,
Limestone, Livestock, Marble, Phosphates, Quartz, Sugar Cane, Tobacco,
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Bottling, Clay and Glass Products,
Electrical and Electronic Products, Fishing, Metal Products, Mining, Rum
and Beer Distilling, Textiles, Tourism.
MAIN EXPORTS: Chemicals, Computers, Electrical Machinery, Food Products.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 96 km (60 mi) (1988), passenger-km
N/A., cargo ton-km N/A. Roads; length 9,351 km (5,810 mi) (1986). Vehicles;
cars 1,300,906 (1989), trucks and buses 191,483 (1989). Merchant Marine;
N/A. Air Transport; N/A.
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 3 with a total circulation
of 506,900 (1993). Radio; receivers 2,480,000 (1994). Television; receivers
830,000 (1994). Telephones; units 1,365,520 (1992).
MILITARY: 3,518 (1992) total active US duty personnel.