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Census: 42.7% of Puerto Rico’s population ‘highly’ socially vulnerable

The agency used the most recent numbers available, released in 2022.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released its Community Resilience Estimates for Equity in Puerto Rico, which found, among other results, that about 42.7% of the island’s estimated 3.2 million population is “socially vulnerable” to hurricanes or hazardous events.

Social vulnerability is measured based on 10 indicators taken from the Puerto Rico Community Survey: poverty status, disability status, number of caregivers in the households, unit-level crowding, vehicle access, broadband internet, employment, education, age and health insurance.

The agency used the most recent numbers available — for 2022 — that confirmed that 42.2% of Puerto Rico’s population lives below the poverty line. While 33.5% of the population reported being employed full-time, year-round, 6.4% confirmed having no health insurance coverage, according to the online calculator.

The findings showed that 14% of Puerto Rico residents have no vehicle available to them, while households with 1.51 or more occupants per room represent 0.5% of the overall population. Of the island’s estimated 1.6 million homes, 1.3% lack plumbing facilities, the federal agency stated.

The results also show that 79.5% of Puerto Rico’s population has a high school degree or higher, 2.6% are civilian veterans, 22.3% live with a disability and 7.5% are female heads of household with children, with no spouse or partner present.

The island remains mostly urban, with just 8.1% of the population living in rural areas.

“The Community Resilience Estimates (CRE) for Puerto Rico provide … a metric for a community’s capacity to withstand and recover from external stressors or disasters — such as hurricanes or hazardous events,” the agency stated.

While the Census stated that the CRE for Puerto Rico interactive mapping tool now includes National Risk Index data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which estimates an area’s likelihood of experiencing different types of natural disasters (e.g., landslides, coastal flooding) and external stressors, when the map for Puerto Rico is clicked, it shows there is “insufficient data,” so no information is available.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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