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Puerto Rico’s under-18 population down by 50%

Puerto Rico’s population aged 18 and younger has decreased by 3.4%, from 567,614 in 2020 to 545,790 in 2021, according to the most recent survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, released by Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics, the agency’s representative on the island.

The under-18 population comprised 17% of the island’s total population for the year 2021, the data further showed.

“The rate of reduction in the under-18 population continues to be impressive, it continues in free fall,” said Alberto L. Velázquez-Estrada, senior manager of Statistical Projects at the Statistics Institute.

“Just two decades ago (2020 Census) this population exceeded one million people; the new estimate (2021) already indicates that there are about half a million,” he said.

“The repercussions will continue to manifest themselves in those entities that serve this population and, for example, could further complicate the picture of Puerto Rico’s college education sector,” he said.

The data published comprises the period between July 1, 2020, and July 1, 2021 and include estimates of the population by age groups for each municipality, as well as by simple age for Puerto Rico. The information is presented in the agency’s Red State Data Center, which the Statistics Institute compiles.

While the younger population decreases, the island’s older population (65 and older) is gaining ground. The group increased by 2.4%, from 723,165 in 2020 to 740,489 in 2021.

This elderly population comprised 23% of Puerto Rico’s total population in the year 2021, the agencies noted.

The group in between — between 18 and 64 — also dropped by 0.7%, from 1,990,749 in 2020 to 1,977,305 in 2021. This population, also known as the “active” or “independent” population, turned out to be about 60% of Puerto Rico’s total population for the year 2021.

Meanwhile, the median age of the island’s population increased from 43.8 to 44.2 years of age.

As for the geographical distribution of the municipalities for the year 2021, the data shows that the towns with the highest percentages of the under-18 group were Barranquitas and Peñuelas with around 20%, followed by Naguabo and Jayuya with around 19%.

The southwest coast (from Lajas in the south to Aguada in the west) shows a concentration of municipalities with low percentages of the under-18 population of between 14%-16%.

In the metropolitan area, the towns of Guaynabo, Bayamón and San Juan also reflected low percentages (14%-16%) of that younger crowd among their population.

Among the 10 municipalities with the highest percentage of 65+ residents, eight of them are in the western region: Hormigueros, Rincón, San Germán, Lajas, Guánica, Mayagüez, San Sebastián and Sabana Grande.

Regarding the population’s median age, the towns of Hormigueros and Rincón showed the highest median (49.6), indicating that they are the municipalities with the oldest population and the median is close to 50 years of age, the data showed.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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