The Center for Puerto Rican Studies, at Hunter College of the City University of New York released a report confirming a steep decline in the enrollment of children of school age in schools in Puerto Rico.
Enrollment between 2006 and 2018 declined 44 percent, from 544,138 students in 2006 to 306,652 students at the beginning of the 2018 school year.
The report, entitled “Population Decline and School Closure in Puerto Rico,” is part of a series of reports based on analysis of empirical data that Centro has been conducting since the onset of the economic crisis on the island.
The reports represent contributions of the Puerto Rican diaspora for development alternatives that may assist in the reconstruction of Puerto Rico.
The report is divided in four sections: 1) a general overview of demographic and migration trends in Puerto Rico, and their impact on the child-age population; 2) enrollment data for both the public and private school sectors between 2006 and 2018; 3) the location of schools that were open or closed for the 2018-2019 school year; and 4) public policy recommendations.
“The fact is that Puerto Rico is experiencing deep demographic changes that adversely affect its economic and its development,” said professor Edwin Meléndez, director of the Center.
“As a consequence, it is undeniable that the capacity of the government to provide services to the people will be affected. The decline of the working-age population may lead to economic disadvantages for the island, including a reduction in government allocations targeting children,” he said.
Meléndez explained that demographically the child-age population as well as the working-age population will continue to decline, while the older age groups will grow, the study showed.