About Puerto Rico

Introduction    Puerto Rico
Definition Field Listing
Populated for centuries by aboriginal peoples, the island was claimed by the Spanish Crown in 1493 following Columbus' second voyage to the Americas. In 1898, after 400 years of colonial rule that saw the indigenous population nearly exterminated and African slave labor introduced, Puerto Rico was ceded to the US as a result of the Spanish-American War. Puerto Ricans were granted US citizenship in 1917 and popularly elected governors have served since 1948. In 1952, a constitution was enacted providing for internal self-government. In plebiscites held in 1967, 1993, and 1998 voters chose to retain commonwealth status.
   Geography    Puerto Rico
Definition Field Listing
Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican Republic

People    Puerto Rico
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3,885,877 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
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0-14 years: 22.9% (male 454,908; female 434,555)
15-64 years: 65.2% (male 1,212,764; female 1,322,356)
65 years and over: 11.9% (male 200,669; female 260,625) (2003 est.)

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

Economy    Puerto Rico
Economy - overview:
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Puerto Rico has one of the most dynamic economies in the Caribbean region. A diverse industrial sector has far 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, with estimated arrivals of nearly 5 million tourists in 1999. Growth fell off in 2001-02, largely due to the slowdown in the US economy.
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purchasing power parity - $43.01 billion (2002 est.)
Communications    Puerto Rico
Telephones - main lines in use:
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1.322 million (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
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169,265 (1996)
Telephone system:
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general assessment: modern system, integrated with that of the US by high-capacity submarine cable and Intelsat with high-speed data capability
domestic: digital telephone system; cellular telephone service
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat; submarine cable to US
Radio broadcast stations:
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AM 72, FM 17, shortwave 0 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
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18 (plus three stations of the US Armed Forces Radio and Television Service) (1997)
Internet country code:
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Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
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76 (2000)
Internet users:
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600,000 (2002)
   Transportation    Puerto Rico
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total: 96 km
narrow gauge: 96 km 1.000-m gauge (2002)
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total: 14,400 km
paved: 14,400 km
unpaved: 0 km (1999 est.)
Information obtained from CIA 2003 www.cia.gov.