Puerto Rico

Map of Puerto Rico


flag of Puerto Rico


Status: Commonwealth

Governor: Aníbal Acevedo Vilá (2005)

Capital: San Juan

Land area: 3,515 sq mi (9,104 sq km)

Population (2004 est.): 3,897,960 (growth rate: 0.5%); birth rate: 14.1/1000; infant mortality rate: 8.4/1000; life expectancy: 77.5; density per sq mi: 1,109. Currency: U.S. dollar

Languages: Spanish and English (both official)

Ethnicity/race: Almost entirely Hispanic

Religions: Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant denominations and other 15%

Literacy rate: 94% (2001)

Natural resources: some copper and nickel; potential for onshore and offshore oil. Exports: $46.22 billion (f.o.b., 2002): chemicals, electronics, apparel, canned tuna, rum, beverage concentrates, medical equipment. Imports: $26.46 billion (c.i.f., 2002): chemicals, machinery and equipment, clothing, food, fish, petroleum products. Major trading partner: U.S., UK, Dominican Republic, Ireland, Japan.



The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is located in the Caribbean Sea, about 1,000 mi east-southeast of Miami, Fla. A possession of the United States, it consists of the island of Puerto Rico plus the adjacent islets of Vieques, Culebra, and Mona. Puerto Rico has a mountainous, tropical ecosystem with very little flat land and few mineral resources.

Puerto Rico's governor is elected directly for a four-year term.

Under the Commonwealth formula, residents of Puerto Rico lack voting representation in Congress and do not participate in presidential elections. As U.S. citizens, Puerto Ricans are subject to military service and most federal laws. Residents of the Commonwealth pay no federal income tax on locally generated earnings, but Puerto Rico government income-tax rates are set at a level that closely parallels federal-plus-state levies on the mainland.

Symbolism of Flag

The white star stands for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico while the three sides of the equilateral triangle together represent the three branches of the Republican government (executive, legislative and judicial branches). The three red strips symbolize the blood that feeds those parts of the government. The two white stripes symbolizing the rights of man and the freedom of the individual, are a perpetual reminder of the need for vigilance of a democratic government is to be preserved.