Puerto Rico Population 2019
The latest available figures put Puerto Rico’s population at 3,706,690. This is based on a US Census Bureau estimate from July 2011. At the time of writing in 2014, the estimated population is 3.68 million.
Puerto Rico Area and Population Density
If Puerto Rico were a full state in the United States (remember, it is actually a Commonwealth), this would make it the 29th largest state in the US, sandwiched between Oklahoma and Connecticut. It is, by some considerable distance, the largest US territory - the next largest being Guam with a population of 159,358.
The densely populated island of Puerto Rico is located in the Caribbean sea with a landscape of mountains, waterfalls and rainforest covering 3,515 square miles (9,104 square kilometers) of area, which would rank it 169th in the world in terms of size. As of 2019, the population was 3,654,474, giving it a population density of 1,040 people per square mile (401 people per square kilometer), which ranks 24th in the world in this regard.
Largest Cities in Puerto Rico
An impressive 94% of the people living in Puerto Rico reside in or around a major metropolitan area. The largest city in Puerto Rico is San Juan, the island’s capital. It had a population of 347,052 as of 2016, which would rank it as the 46th largest city in the USA. Puerto Rico is one of the most densely populated areas of the United States and, as a result, there are quite a few other fairly large towns and cities on the island. The second-largest city is Bayamon, which has 179,565 people and would be the 103rd largest city in America. Other major cities include Carolina (154,489), Ponce (140,859) and Caguas (129,604).
Puerto Rico Demographics
The people of Puerto Rico are mostly from a combination of backgrounds including European colonization, slavery, Amerindian settlement, and economic migration. It is common to find Puerto Rican people in all parts of the United States. In terms of race, 75.8% of the population identifies as white, 12.4% of people are African American or black, and the remaining 8.5% of people are a combination of American Indian, Alaskan natives, Pacific Islanders, and mixes of all of the aforementioned. The two official languages in Puerto Rico are Spanish and English. The largest age group is people 25-54, which make up 37.99% of the population, and the median age in the country is 42.2 years old. The ratio of males to females is 1.06, meaning that there are slightly more males.
Puerto Rico Religion, Economy and Politics
Officially Puerto Rico is a religiously free commonwealth, but the majority of its population are Roman Catholic with 85% of its people claiming the faith. Roman Catholics in Puerto Rico have many everyday objects scattered through their lives that have religious affiliation such as rosaries and carvings of the Virgin Mary. Christianity also makes up an additional 8% of the population with the Protestant church. The remaining population is a combination of people without religion, spiritual people that practice Santeria from Cuba, and Jews, and Muslims. Although the Jewish community is small, it is made up of three different forms: Orthodox, Reform, and Conservative.
2006 changes in the United States tax system that took investment money out of the Caribbean coincided with a sharp downturn in the Puerto Rican economy. Unemployment has been increasing as a result and many citizens are leaving the island for the US mainland in hope for better opportunities. Manufacturing is the largest sector in Puerto Rico, producing pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, and electronics. The real estate and tourism industries are also very strong. Hurricane Maria in 2017 caused power outages over 90% of the area, in addition to destroying countless homes and causing widespread water contamination. Months after the destruction, roughly 40% were still living in these conditions due to lack of funding and aid.
Puerto Rico Population History
Christopher Columbus claimed the land that is now Puerto Rico as Spain's in 1493, and the Spanish began to settle the area roughly 15 years later. In 1898, Puerto Rico was ceded to the United States under the Treaty of Paris and the US brought a civil government to the area and maintained strict control over the island. Puerto Ricans were granted in 1917 by the Jones Act, and by 1947 they were beginning to be allowed to self-govern. A landslide killed 129 people in 1985, and Hurricane George ravaged the area in 1998.
In 2005 a fugitive rebel leader that was pro-independence, Filberto Ojeda Pios, was killed by US federal agents, and the way the US treated innocent civilians caused unrest on the island. In 2017 Puerto Rico was forced to declare bankruptcy after being unable to repay debts. Later that year, two hurricanes pounded the island killing several thousand, a fact that was contested by the Donald Trump, the standing President, after failing to send relief efforts in a timely manor.
Puerto Rico Population Growth
The figures above show that the population of Puerto Rico has begun to decline after a long period of steady and fairly rapid growth (as can be seen in this table).
The last full US census results, from 2010, showed that there were 3,725,789 people in Puerto Rico, so the population decrease was 19,099 in a single year. The previous census, conducted in 2000, showed that at that point, Puerto Rico had 3,808,610 people, so as well as losing just over 100,000 people in a decade, it appears as though the rate of population reduction is actually increasing.
There are a number of reasons for this decline including lower birth rates and lower death rates as the island becomes more prosperous. Increased emigration to the continental United States is also a factor, as people move to improve their economic prospects and sometimes – because Puerto Rico is a densely populated territory – to improve quality of life in other ways.
Puerto Rico Population Projections
The negative growth rate of the population of Puerto Rico is expected to continue in the coming years as people continue to leave the country in substantial numbers and the birth rate remains low. Current projections go out to the year 2050 and believe that the net migration will regularly be at least -10,000 annually and the birth rate will remain below the worldwide average, staying close to 1.51. If this proves to be true, the annual growth rate will likely be close to -0.62% by 2050 and the population of Puerto Rico will be roughly 3,650,608 in 2020, 3,592,748 in 2030, 3,474,434 in 2040, and 3,281,904 in 2050.
Components of Population Change
|One birth every 24 minutes|
|One death every 18 minutes|
|One net migrant every 7 minutes|
|Net loss of one person every 6 minutes|