Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico / Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

General Information:

Capital: San Juan

  • San Juan is also the largest city in Puerto Rico

Official Languages: Spanish and English

Religion: The dominant religion is Roman Catholicism (56%). All municipalities in Puerto Rico have at least one Catholic church.

Government: Devolved presidential constitutional dependency

  • Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States.
  • Puerto Ricans have been US citizens since 1917. However, they do not get to vote for the president of the United States or have a vote in the US Congress. 

Legislature: Legislative Assembly 

  • Upper House: Senate
  • Lower House: House of Representatives

Area: 8,900 km2 of land / 13,800 km total, including water

  • Puerto Rico is an archipelago, and a part of the Greater Antilles along with Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, and the Cayman Islands.
  • Puerto Rico is larger than both Delaware and Rhode Island

Location: Northeastern Caribbean Sea

  • Puerto Rico is about 1000 miles southeast of Miami, Florida.

Population: 3,285,000 (as of 2020 census)


  • GDP: $100 billion (2021 estimate)
  • GDP Per Capita: $32,233
  • Currency: US Dollar (US$)
  • In the mid-20th century, the US government and Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company began the launch of a series of economic projects to develop PR into an industrial economy.
  • The main sectors of the Puerto Rican economy are manufacturing and the service industry.
  • Manufacturing: Pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, electronics
  • Service Industry: Tourism, hospitality

Doing Business:

  • A warm welcoming handshake with direct eye contact is standard in Puerto Rico.
  • Because of Puerto Rican men’s cultural ties to Latino ‘machismo’, women are still underrepresented in leadership positions
  • Their value of family bleeds into Puerto Rican peoples work life, meaning they prefer to do business with those who they know well and can trust with important matters
  • Puerto Ricans enjoy more leisurely lunch and dinner meetings that can seem somewhat informal
  • Be Careful: Puerto Rico’s status as a US territory can be a sensitive and controversial topic - try to avoid this in conversation, unless you’re sure where your colleagues stand on the issue
  • Avoid giving expensive or fancy business gifts. It would be more appropriate to gift something that represents your home country, town, or culture.
  • Interested in doing business in Puerto Rico? Check out the official US Small Business Administration website to learn more: https://www.usa.gov/state-business/puerto-rico 

History & Culture: 

  • Puerto Rico is Spanish for ‘Rich Port’. The commonwealth was first colonized by Spain after the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493 and remained in their possession for the next four centuries.
  • In 1989, as a result of the Spanish-American War, the US acquired Puerto Rico.
  • Although Catholicism is the dominant religion, many in PR do not follow the traditions dogmatically. The Puerto Rican peoples’ religious practices often blend Taino (indigenous to Puerto Rico) and African traditions






April 1, 2022