Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Puerto Rico population in 2050: 2 million, fiscal board demographer says

By on August 20, 2018

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico’s population, which is currently about 3.1 million, will continue to decline over the next 30 years and is estimated to be about three million by 2024, 2.5 million by 2036 and two million by the year 2050.

The estimates were used by the Financial Oversight and Management Board to prepare the commonwealth fiscal plan that was certified June 29. The models were prepared by demographer Lyman Stone, who explained his forecasts to reporters Monday.

However, Caribbean Business found that, in its fiscal plan, the oversight panel projected the population will drop to three million in fiscal year 2020 and to 2.99 million by fiscal 2022.

Stone said he applied methodologies used by the U.S. Census Bureau and different studies and data obtained from the Puerto Rican Community Survey, as well as passenger traffic data from theTransportation Department. He did not explain how the population is affected by the 13.3% decline in gross national product estimated for this year in the commonwealth’s fiscal plan, nor by death, birth rates or net migration.

The demographer forecast there will be fewer than two births per woman until 2053, at which point the number could rise slightly. The lowest number of births is expected in 2020. Life expectancy is expected to increase to 85 years in coming years.

A chart Stone presented during the webinar he conducted Monday forecast a low migration inflow, that however will rise to about 1.1% in 2019 and remain a steady 2% until 2059. While a participant noted that 30,000 people returned to the island after having left in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Stone said Census Bureau data did not include in their statistics individuals who, for instance, left in November and returned in February.

Regarding island outmigration patterns, Stone said he reviewed different sources, including passenger traffic and school enrollment data, as well as the Puerto Rican Community Survey and the Census. The range of outmigration from all of the sources varied from 3% to 9%.

A chart titled “Puerto Rico’s Out-Migration” shows that the rate is close to 6% until 2019 but then drops to about 2% in 2021 and remains steady. In the past five years, the population has trended backward by 1% to 2%.

“We have noticed in other crises…a lot of migration goes forward so you get a situation; outflows could have happened in 2021 and now happen in 2020,” he said.

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