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Puerto Rico

Learn About Puerto Rico

Get Educated About Puerto Rico

Summary

Comprised of over 2 million people, Puerto Rico is the largest U.S. territory and was acquired from Spain.1 This territory is in many ways an extension of the mainland United States with the same governing bodies and benefits, but Puerto Ricans often have lower standards of living and much higher poverty rates. However, the island boasts diverse ecosystems which are in need of protection due to rapid population growth and industrialization.2 1 http://everything-everywhere.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-territories-of-the-united-states/
2 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos/aq.html

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Puerto Rico Demographics

Causes in Puerto Rico

Learn more about specific causes in Puerto Rico that you can get involved in.

Environment
Family
Human Rights
Education
Poverty
Religion
Clean Water
Economy
Government
Health
Children
Animals

Environment

Education is compulsory for children aged 6-17, and all of the primary and secondary schools are administered by the U.S. Department of Education. Private institutions, licensing, and academic testing standards are overseen by local education departments.1 Children are instructed in Spanish. Students can chose to attend local institutions of higher education or universities in the United States.

Family

Much of the population has a mixed background coming mainly from indigenous groups with large populations from Africa, Asia, France, and Denmark.1 The typical family has an average of two children.2

Human Rights

In Puerto Rico, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.1 There are special programs set up to provide services for victims of abuse. In 2017, the United Nations issued a report regarding the degradation of housing, working conditions, security, and citizen participation in government because of Puerto Rico’s crippling national debt.2

Education

Puerto Rico is located in the tropical region of the Caribbean Ocean. The island is at risk of losing land because of rising ocean water levels, and it has already lost coral reef areas because of pollution.1 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Division of Environmental Quality have embarked on multi-year protection projects to monitor pollution levels, prevent erosion, clean up contaminated areas, and replant native species to preserve the biodiversity.2

Poverty

Poverty is a pressing issue and significantly more prevalent than in the United States. 48% of Puerto Ricans live below the poverty line.1

Religion

Over 90% of people in the territories identify as Christians, mainly Roman Catholics.1 Although this is the most common religion, many combine their Christian beliefs with traditional religious practices as well.

Clean Water

In 2015, 69% of Puerto Ricans used water from structures that violated federal health standards like contamination levels.1 The United States’ Environment Protection Agency offers special grants to improve or build new drinking water infrastructures, but they still struggle to meet water standards due to poor monitoring.2

Economy

Puerto Rico has seen a decrease in tourism and investments which has caused their economy to struggle in recent years.1 In 2017, Puerto Rico declared bankruptcy with $70 billion in debts; for years, the island’s government has had to take out loans just to provide basic services.2

Government

Puerto Rico has a representative in Congress that can vote in committee.1 They have their own local governments and tax system that consists of a chief governor, legislative body, and local court system. Puerto Ricans are considered citizens of the United States at birth.2

Health

Puerto Rico has their own Department of Public Health administered by local officials with direction from the U.S. mainland. There is one hospital located in the capital city with smaller health facilities scattered throughout the land.1 Puerto Rico faces many health concerns that are common in developing nations like malnutrition and infectious tropical diseases. In 2016, Zika was a serious health concern mostly in pregnant women.2

Children

Youth comprise approximately 20% of Puerto Rico’s population.1 There are many organized youth sport and extracurricular opportunities organized through the local government and funded by the United States Department of Education. Nearly all public and privately funded grants available to youth in the mainland U.S. for studies and enrichment programs are also available for those living in Puerto Rico.

Animals

Puerto Rico has a diverse array of animal life with many species found only on one specific island.1 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has initiated sea turtle monitoring services in Puerto Rico to maintain the number of sea turtles and protect their eggs during mating season.2 Unique to the island, the Puerto Rican Parrot is at risk for extinction, and many local agencies and scientists have been monitoring their population and attempting to sustain their environment for decades, but the population is still only around 50 birds.3
Puerto Rico

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