Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

October 2011: The New Demographic Landscape

Puerto Rico enters unchartered territory

For the first time in modern Puerto Rico, its total population declined from 3.8 million in 2000 to 3.7 million in 2010. The ageing population of 65 and over accounted for 15% of the total population in 2010 compared with 11% in 2000. By 2020, it could rise to 17%. This process is not unique to the island. The global population is going thru the same graying process but the consequences may be different among countries. The impact of this demographic transformation poses questions regarding the fiscal ability of each country to accommodate its aging population. Given that 45% of the population in 2010 was below poverty level, it is fair to ask if PR will need to raise taxes, cut spending, or borrow? What is the trade-off between fiscal sustainability and income adequacy? These changes will impact housing, education, entertainment, social services, health, trade, and more. Is PR ready?