Welcome to Puerto Rico!


Puerto Rico Fast Facts


Description and Geography

Capital: San Juan

Official Languages: Spanish and English

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

Climate:
The climate is Tropical Marine with average temperatures year round, near 80 °F (26.7 °C) in lower elevations and 70 °F (21.1 °C) in the mountains.

Time Zone: Atlantic Standard (AST).

Sunrise/Sunset Average: 6:54 am to 6:21 pm

National Holiday: November 19 (The Discovery of Puerto Rico date).

National Hymn (Anthem): "La Borinqueña"

Total Area: 9,104 sq km (3,508 sq mi)

Limits: To the west by Haití and the Dominican Republic, separated by the Mona Passage, to the east by the Virgin Islands, to the north by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Caribbean Sea.

Land boundaries: 0 km

Borders: Puerto Rico is under the U.S. customs jurisdiction. Borders are open between P.R. and the U.S., allowing for free movement of people and merchandise.

Coastline: 501 km

Maritime claims:
Exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
Territorial sea: 12 NM




People

Population: 3,978,702 (July 2010 est.)

Population density: 1,163 density per sq mi/449 persons per sq km (2009 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.27% (2010 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 19.8% (male 402,473/female 384,655)
15-64 years: 66.1% (male 1,260,191/female 1,361,359)
65 years and over: 14.1% (male 239,957/female 317,578) (2010 est.)
Median age:
total: 36.8 years
male: 35 years
female: 38.5 years (2010 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Nationality: Noun Puerto Rican(s). Adjective Puerto Rican.

Primary Ethnicity: Hispanic

Ethnic composition: white (mostly Spanish origin) 80.5%, black 8%, Amerindian 0.4%, Asian 0.2%, mixed and other 10.9%.

Literacy Rate:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.1%
male: 93.9%
female: 94.4% (2002 est.)

Religion:
The Constitution guarantees freedom for all faiths. The major religions are: Catholic (85%), Protestants (8%), non religious (2.3%), and others (3%).


History

Taíno Indians who inhabited the territory, called the island Boriken or Borinquen which means: "the great land of the valiant and noble Lord" or "land of the great lords". On November 19, 1493 Christopher Columbus discovered the island in his second voyage to the New World. Originally the newcomers called the island San Juan Bautista, for St. John the Baptist and the town Puerto Rico because of its obvious excellent potentialities. It was not until later that the two names were switched. Thanks in part to the enthusiasm of ambitious Juan Ponce de León, quickly became Spain's most important military outpost in the Caribbean.
On December 10, 1898, the Treaty of Paris is signed, treaty concluding the Spanish-American War. Spain renounced all claim to Cuba, ceded Guam and Puerto Rico and its dependent islets to United States, and transferred sovereignty over the Phillipines to the United States for $20,000,000.
On March 2, 1917, United States granted Puerto Ricans U.S. statutory citizenship.


Economy

Puerto Rico has one of the most dynamic economies in the Caribbean region. Puerto Rico is a major producer of manufactured goods, high-technology equipment and pharmaceutics.

Currency: United States dollar (USD)

Gross National Income (GNI per capita) (formerly GNP per capita): $47.4 billion
per capita: $12,239 (2003)

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - purchasing power parity - $75.82 billion (2006 est.)

GDP per capita: purchasing power parity - $19,300 (2006 est.)

Gross Domestic Product: real growth rate - 0.5% (2006 est.)

Population Below Poverty Level: 45.4% (2006 U.S. Census)

Inflation Rate (consumer prices): 6.5% (2003 est.)

Taxes: Puerto Rico has a 5.5% sales tax. Municipalities have the option of imposing an additional sales tax of up to 1.5%.

Labor Force: 1.479 million (2007)

Unemployment Rate: 16.0% (Aug 2011)

Export Commodities: chemicals, electronics, apparel, canned tuna, rum, beverage concentrates, medical equipment.

Export Partners: US 90.3%, UK 1.6%, Netherlands 1.4%, Dominican Republic 1.4% (2002 est.)

Imports Commodities: chemicals, machinery and equipment, clothing, food, fish, petroleum products

Imports Partners: US 55.0%, Ireland 23.7%, Japan 5.4% (2002 est.)

Tourism:
Receipts from visitors: U.S. $1,826,100,000 (1995)
Expenditures by national abroad: U.S. $833,000,000 (1995)
Tourist Receipts: U.S. $1,736,600,000 (1994)


Goverment

Puerto Rico is a self-governing commonwealth in association with the United States. The chief of state is the President of the United States of America. The head of government is an elected Governor. There are two legislative chambers: the House of Representatives, 51 seats, and the Senate, 27 seats.

Chief of State: President Barack H. Obama (since 20 January 2009); Vice President Joseph R. Biden (since 20 January 2009)

Head of Government: Governor Luis Fortuño (since 2 January 2009)

Major political parties are: Popular Democratic Party (PPD), New Progressive Party (PNP) and Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP).

Digraph: PR/QR

Type: Commonwealth associated with the US.

Constitution: ratified 3 March 1952; approved by U.S. Congress 3 July 1952; effective 25 July 1952.

Administrative divisions: None (Commonwealth associated with the U.S.); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the U.S. Government, but there are 78 municipalities. Municipalities are further subdivided into barrios, and those into sectors. Other territories include: Mona, Monito, Desecheo, and Caja de Muertos.

Political Division: 8 senatorial districts, 40 representative districts, 78 municipalities.

Voter Participation: 79% (2008)


Culture

Puerto Rican culture is somewhat complex, - others will call it colorful. Culture is a series of visual manifestations and interactions with the environment that make a region and/or a group of people different from the rest of the world.

Lets consider that the people of Puerto Rico represent a cultural and racial mix. During the early 18-century, the Spaniard in order to populate the country took Taino Indian women as brides. Later on as labor was needed to maintain crops and build roads, African slaves were imported, followed by the importation of Chinese immigrants, then continued with the arrival of Italians, French, German, and even Lebanese people. American expatriates came to the island after 1898. Long after Spain had lost control of Puerto Rico, Spanish immigrants continued to arrive on the island. The most significant new immigrant population arrived in the 1960s, when thousands of Cubans fled from Fidel Castro's Communist state. The latest arrivals to Puerto Rico have come from the economically depressed Dominican Republic.


Tourist Information

Most popular city destinations: San Juan, Ponce, Mayagüez, Bayamón, Fajardo, San Germán Cayey, and Caguas.

Customs and Immigration: There are no passports or visas necessary for United States citizens. Citizens of other countries have the same requirements as for entering the USA.

Communications and Internet: Phone cards or calling cards and IDD service are readily available. Long-distance services from AT&T, MCI, and Sprint make calling home relatively convenient and let you avoid hotel surcharges.

Airmail to Western Europe takes up to a week.

The San Juan Star (English-language newspaper), El Vocero de Puerto Rico and El Nuevo Día.

To connect to the Internet visitors must call their service provider in the USA or Europe, and pay the long distance rates, or establish a temporary account with a local service provider.

Health and Medical Facilities: Health standards in Puerto Rico are generally comparable with those of the United States, its medical facilities are among the finest in the Caribbean. There are physicians and hospitals in all cities. "Departamento de Salud" (Department of Health), (787) 766-1616.

Electricity: The electrical current in Puerto Rico is 110 volts/60 cycles, exactly the same as in the continental U.S. and Canada.

Accommodations: Puerto Rico offers a huge variety of lodgings that will appeal to a multiplicity of personalities and pocketbooks.

Casinos: They are located in many hotels around the Island. Proper dressing should be observed by men and women. People under 18 are not allowed.

Courtesy and dress: Light and loose cotton clothing is the best bet year-round for Puerto Rico's warm tropical climate.

Banking hours: 9am to 3:30pm.

Relative Costs:
Budget meal: US $3-15
Moderate restaurant meal: US $15-30
Top-end restaurant meal: US $30 and up
Budget room: US $40-75
Moderate hotel: US $75-200
Top-end hotel: US $200 and up

Transportation: You can get to Puerto Rico by air, or by sea. Once you arrive on the Island, there's a full menu of choices for getting around. You can rent a car or use their public transportation system.

Driving: Driving is on the right-hand side of the road. All the same rules as any part of the United States, except that the signs are in Spanish, the distance markers in kilometers and the gas sold in liters.

Liquor laws: You must be 18 years old to purchase liquor in stores or buy drinks in hotels, bars, and restaurants.

Helplines and Agencies



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