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  • [Country flag of Puerto Rico]

    Puerto Rico

    [Country map of Puerto Rico]

    (commonwealth associated with the US)

    Geography

    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
    land: 8,959 sq km
    water: 145 sq km

    Area - 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

    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%
    permanent pastures: 26%
    forests and woodland: 16%
    other: 49% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: 390 sq km (1993 est.)

    Natural hazards: periodic droughts

    Environment - 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

    Environment - international agreements:
    party to: NA
    signed, but not ratified: NA

    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

    Population: 3,828,506 (July 1997 est.)

    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.)

    Population growth rate: 0.93% (1997 est.)

    Birth rate: 17.21 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)

    Death rate: 7.87 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)

    Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1997 est.)

    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.)

    Infant mortality rate: 11.2 deaths/1,000 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.)

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

    Ethnic groups: Hispanic

    Religions: Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant denominations 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

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

    Data code: RQ

    Dependency status: commonwealth associated with the US

    Government type: commonwealth

    National 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

    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

    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: National Republican Party of Puerto Rico, Luis FERRE; Popular Democratic Party (PPD), Hector ACEVEDO; New Progressive Party (PNP), Pedro ROSSELLO; Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), Ruben BERRIOS Martinez; Puerto Rican Communist Party (PCP), leader(s) unknown

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

    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)

    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 based on the US flag

    Economy

    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.

    GDP: purchasing power parity - $31.6 billion (1996 est.)

    GDP - real growth rate: 3% (1996 est.)

    GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $8,200 (1996 est.)

    GDP - composition by sector:
    agriculture: NA%
    industry: NA%
    services: NA%

    Inflation rate - consumer price index: 5.1% (1996 est.)

    Labor force:
    total: 1.3 million (1996)
    by occupation: government 22%, manufacturing 17%, trade 20%, construction 6%, communications and transportation 5%, other 30% (1993)

    Unemployment rate: 14% (FY95/96 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues : $5.1 billion
    expenditures: $5.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY94/95)

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

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

    Electricity - capacity: 4.47 million kW (1994)

    Electricity - production: 16.82 billion kWh (1994)

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

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

    Exports:
    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.)

    Imports:
    total value: $19.1 billion (c.i.f. 1996)
    commodities: chemicals, clothing, food, fish, petroleum products
    partners : US 62% (1995 est.)

    Debt - external: $NA

    Economic aid: none

    Currency: 1 US dollar (US$) = 100 cents

    Exchange rates: US currency is used

    Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June

    Communications

    Telephones: 1,166,231 (1992 est.)

    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

    Radio broadcast stations: AM 50, FM 63, shortwave 0

    Radios: 2.565 million (1992 est.)

    Television broadcast stations: 9
    note: cable television available with US programs (1990 est.)

    Televisions: 952,000 (1992 est.)

    Transportation

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

    Highways:
    total: 14,100 km
    paved : 14,100 km
    unpaved: 0 km (1995 est.

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

    Merchant marine: none

    Airports: 22 (1996 est.)

    Airports - with paved runways:
    total: 20
    over 3,047 m: 3
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
    914 to 1,523 m: 7
    under 914 m : 7 (1996 est.)

    Airports - with unpaved runways:
    total: 2
    914 to 1,523 m: 2 (1996 est.)

    Military

    Military branches: paramilitary National Guard, Police Force

    Military - note: defense is the responsibility of the US

    Transnational Issues

    Disputes - international: none