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U.S. Census: Puerto Rico median household income drops 2%

By on December 6, 2018

SAN JUAN – In a period of five years, the median household income has dropped 2% in Puerto Rico, to $23,793, U.S. Census data show.

The data compared the 2013-2017 period to the 2008-2012 period. At the municipal level, 44 towns experienced a decline, 13 of which saw a statistically significant change, with a confidence level of 90%, the Census said.

The six municipalities that showed the greatest decline in median income were Adjuntas, Guánica, Cidra, Loíza, Guayama and Ceiba. On the other hand, six towns saw higher incomes. These were Culebra, Villalba, Morovis, Barceloneta, Vega Baja and Coamo.

A Puerto Rico Planning Board report this week found that Hurricane Maria had a $43 billion impact on the economy. The report used questionnaires and information obtained from different agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The Census Bureau’s 2013-2017 American Community Survey (ACS) five-year estimates include statistics for social, economic, housing and demographic characteristics. Because it is a survey based on a sample of the population rather than the entire population, the ACS produces estimates.

The survey also examined the proliferation of internet subscriptions on the island. Guaynabo, Carolina and Bayamón were the municipalities with the highest percentage of homes with the service, or 70%. Some cell service providers are planning to implement 5G internet next year.

Outside the metropolitan area, 60% to 69% of homes in the towns of Juana Díaz and Villalba have internet, but less than 50% of the homes in 38 municipalities have a connection. These towns are located in the central and southwestern parts of the island.

With regards to households with one or more computer devices (laptop, desktop, tablets), the geographical distribution indicates that the highest percentages (60% -78%) are concentrated in the metropolitan area and coastal municipalities from Dorado toward the east to Humacao.

The numbers include the municipalities with the same characteristics as Aguadilla, Moca, Añasco, Mayagüez and Hormigueros in the west as well as Morovis, Jayuya and Villalba in the center. For Puerto Rico, it is estimated that around 62% of households have a computer device.

The American Community Survey is the United States’ “largest source of small area estimates for socio-economic and demographic characteristics. Information from the survey generates data that help determine how more than $675 billion in federal and state funds are distributed each year,” said Victoria Velkoff, associate director for demographic programs.

Some other highlights from the report include that, when comparing the 2013-2017 period to the 2008-2012 period, median household income increased in 16.6 percent of all U.S. counties (521 counties) between the 2008-2012 period and the 2013-2017 period while poverty declined in 14 percent of all counties 441 counties). Alternatively, when comparing the same time periods, median household income declined in 222 counties (7.1 percent) and poverty rates increased in 264 counties (8.4 percent).

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