Puerto Rico

Country Summary



Populated for centuries by aboriginal peoples, the island was claimed by the Spanish Crown in 1493 following Christopher COLUMBUS' second voyage to the Americas. Puerto Rico was ceded to the US as a result of the Spanish-American War. Puerto Ricans were granted US citizenship in 1917. For decades plebiscites showed that voters chose not to alter the existing political status with the US, but a 2020 vote showed a narrow preference for American statehood.



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


tropical marine, mild; little seasonal temperature variation

Natural resources

some copper and nickel; potential for onshore and offshore oil

People and Society


3,057,311 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

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.)


Spanish, English


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

Population growth rate

-1.29% (2023 est.)


Government type

unincorporated organized territory of the US with local self-government; republican form of territorial government with separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches; note - reference Puerto Rican Federal Relations Act, 2 March 1917, as amended by Public Law 600, 3 July 1950


name: San Juan

Executive branch

chief of state: President Joseph R. BIDEN Jr. (since 20 January 2021); Vice President Kamala D. HARRIS (since 20 January 2021)
head of government: Governor Pedro PIERLUISI (since 2 January 2021)

Legislative branch

bicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa consists of:
Senate or Senado (30 seats statutory, 27 current; 16 members directly elected in 8 2-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 11 at-large members directly elected by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms)
House of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (51 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms)


Economic overview

US Caribbean island territorial economy; hit hard by COVID-19 and hurricanes; declining labor force and job growth after a decade of continuous recession; capital-based industry and tourism; high poverty; energy import-dependent

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$106.5 billion (2021 est.)
$106.28 billion (2020 est.)
$111.117 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$32,600 (2021 est.)
$32,400 (2020 est.)
$34,800 (2019 est.)

Agricultural products

milk, plantains, bananas, poultry, tomatoes, mangoes/guavas, eggs, oranges, gourds, papayas


pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, food products, tourism


$73.17 billion (2017 est.)
$73.2 billion (2016 est.)

Exports - partners

Italy 15%, Netherlands 15%, Belgium 9%, Japan 8%, Germany 8%, Austria 8%, Spain 7%, China 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

packaged medicines, medical cultures/vaccines, hormones, orthopedic and medical appliances, sulfur compounds (2019)


$49.01 billion (2017 est.)
$48.86 billion (2016 est.)

Imports - partners

Ireland 38%, Singapore 9%, Switzerland 8%, South Korea 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

nitrogen compounds, sulfur compounds, refined petroleum, medical cultures/vaccines, cars (2019)

Page last updated: Monday, September 11, 2023