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Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is an island located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican Republic. It is a commonwealth of the United States, and its residents are U.S. citizens.

Puerto Rico has a landmass of 8,959 square kilometers. The estimated population is 3,263,584, with a rural population of 136,992 (USDA-ERS, 2021). According to 2021 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 98.7% of the population is Hispanic or Latino, 60.0% of the total population are white, 11.3% are African American, 0.2% are Asian, and 0.2% are American Indian and Alaska Native.

The ERS reports, based on 2020 ACS data, that the poverty rate in rural Puerto Rico is 60.0%, compared with 47.7% in urban areas of the island. 25.7% of the rural population has not completed high school, while 22.3% of the urban population lacks a high school diploma according to 2016-2020 ACS data reported by ERS. The unemployment rate in rural areas is 10.4% compared to an urban rate of 8.1% (USDA-ERS, 2021).

Puerto Rico faces both the health concerns of developing nations in treating malnutrition and infectious diseases, as well as the chronic health problems faced by developed nations, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

For additional resources and information, see Atlantic Territory and Commonwealth.

Data Sources
Health in the Americas: Puerto Rico (PAHO); U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts; USDA Economic Research Service: State Fact Sheets


Last Reviewed: 1/2/2019