Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

November 2011: The Detroitization of Puerto Rico Cities

On the plummeting population in the largest cities

Once the Mecca of the world automobile industry, a bustling city with nearly two million people, Detroit is now the symbol of decadence, exodus and shrinking population in the US. The latest Census 2010 added bad news to Puerto Rico. It seems the Detroit illness has crossed the sea and spread to the largest cities in the Island. San Juan, Ponce, Mayagüez, once the iconic cities Puerto Rico, are rapidly turning into ghost towns, filled with abandoned, distressed and dilapidated buildings. Hence, they have the dubious honor of leading the demographic contraction in Puerto Rico. In this issue, we review the disheartening figures from the latest Census 2010 and attempt to identify the reasons behind the Detroitization of PR’s largest cities.