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Facts About Puerto Rico Statehood
As a state, Puerto Rico would have the 25th highest population of any state and would send six or seven
Congressmen to Washington as well as two Senators.
The House is limited to 435 Members, so a state of Puerto Rico would cost at least six states one Congressman
each.
Language
Fully 90% of Puerto Rico's high school graduates do not speak English well.
As a state, Puerto Rico could make Spanish its only official language (as it did in 1990) and require the rest of
the United States to adapt to them. That could cost $2-3 billion each year in language translation costs alone
based on the costs Quebec imposes on Canada.
Income
Puerto Rico's per capita income of $8,509 is less than one third of the US average, and about one half that of
Mississippi, the poorest state.
The average monthly per capita income in Puerto Rico would be $709 per month.
Social Security Disability payments are at least $790 per month.
Rank of a state of Puerto Rico as a state among states based on population: 25th
Rank of Puerto Rico currently if included among states based on persons receiving disability income: 16th
In Puerto Rico, 50% of families have incomes of less than $10,000.
In the United States, 67% of families have incomes of $25,000 or more.
Earned Income Credit: maximum benefit of $3,556 applies to workers earning between $8,900 and $11,610.
Amount of expected income to the U.S. Treasury from individuals in Puerto Rico because of the Earned Income
Credit: $0.
Percentage of Puerto Ricans on the island who receive food stamps in 1989: 43.5%
Amount of expected increase in welfare payments annually to Puerto Rico as a state: $3 billion.
Crime
United States Murder Rate (1996): 7.4 per 100,000.
New York City Murder Rate (1996): 12.0 per 100,000.
Puerto Rico Murder Rate (1996): 25.0 per 100,000.
Rank of Puerto Rico if included among states based on 1996 murder rates: 6th.
Employment Patterns in Puerto Rico
The government sector in Puerto Rico generates approximately 380,000 jobs, or 33% of total employment.
Percentage of the economy of Puerto Rico from manufacturing: 42%.
Percentage of the economy of Puerto Rico from tourism: About 6%.
Total employment in Puerto Rico provided by 936 corporations: 11%.
Tax benefit a 936 corporation receives per employee per year: about $24,000.
Average employee salary in a 936 corporation per year: $22,000.
A 1990 Congressional Budget Office study concluded that, under statehood, Puerto Rico would suffer a
permanent decrease in GNP of ten to fifteen percent by the year 2000 accompanied by a direct loss of between
50,000 and 100,000 private sector jobs.
The 1990 CBO study estimated that statehood would cost the US government over $9 billion in additional
federal spending during the first four years of statehood, much of it to compensate for the loss of jobs in the
private sector.
Puerto Rico's operating budget: $6 billion.
Puerto Rico's national debt: $20 billion.
Sources: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing Testimony on Puerto Rico Statehood, May
19, 1998; FBI Uniform Crime Reports, September 28, 1997; Social Security Administration; U.S. Census (1990
data); Commissioner of Official Languages Annual Report (1997) [Canada]; New York Times.
Last modified: January 19, 2001