If the word “Puerto Rico” sounds familiar, there’s a very high chance you might have also heard in the lyrics of the record-breaking song, “Despacito”. The song was filmed and recorded here in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean Sea and has been a territory of the United States since 1898. And as per the facts, No, Puerto Rico is not a state of the USA nor a sovereign nation. However, Puerto Ricans by birth have the right to American citizenship and can move freely between the island and the U.S. mainland.
Moreover, Puerto Rico residents cannot vote in U.S. presidential elections nor can they elect their own senators and representatives to the U.S. Congress. Enough about the political part, the island of Puerto Rico is a sight to behold. Rich in culture, scenery, and important history, it is a world in itself.
The island inhabits nearly 3.2 million people as of 2019. Whether it be the largest Rum distillery or one of the oldest churches in the World, Puerto Rico houses them all. If you’re ever planning or even thinking of moving in or visiting this small world, we got you covered on the Pros and Cons of living in Puerto Rico.
Pros of living in Puerto Rico
1. Spanish Influence
After the Spanish settlement began in Puerto Rico in the early 15th century, the colonization lasted for more than 400 years. This was sure to bring a number of influences in culture. Now, you can see a variety of Spanish Architecture everywhere.
The people natively speak Spanish or Portuguese and some are bilingual and speak English as well. This also means Spanish music festivals are widely popular! If you’re in Puerto Rico, it just might be the best time to learn some Flamenco!
Living in PR is very economic due to various reasons. Taxes are the most obvious one. Puerto Rico is not a US state, but a Commonwealth. So, US federal taxes do not apply to income generated by individuals and corporations. According to Act 20 Puerto Rico (The Export Services). Act 20, 22 in 2012:
- The corporate tax rates go as low as only 4% and
- 100% tax exemption on dividends or profit distributions
- 100% exemption of property taxes for certain export service businesses
3. Tropical Atmosphere
Puerto Rico in general is an island. There are plenty of beaches everywhere; some deserted, some crowded, however, you like it. This brings out more recreational activities and traveling becomes fun with the astonishing temperature in your favor.
The highest temperature is 88 degrees Fahrenheit in July and the lowest is 70 degrees in January. Expect sunshine throughout the year!
Puerto Rico packs the most exquisite tropical dishes in the whole world. The Rum is great. Arroz con gandules is the most basic dish around the island.
You’ll greatly experience a mix of Cuban and Spanish household spices in the food giving you the most divine experience in culinary arts. Due to year-round sunlight, almost any type of tropical or summer crops can be grown, so the possibility becomes endless.
5. Personal Preference
Consider these as amazing facts of living in Puerto Rico. The legal drinking age is only 18. With all the Rum distillery lying around, you can get hammered anytime. We do not encourage unhealthy alcohol consumption! The locals have way too many festivals. The social life is truly mesmerizing. People everywhere are warm and welcoming. The US is easily accessible and people move to other states mostly for educational purposes.
Cons of living in Puerto Rico
1. Spanish here, Spanish there
Note this, the native language of Puerto Rico is Spanish not English. If you decide to live in Puerto Rico, better learn Spanish. You will be constantly looking for someone to translate even the basic thing around. Although there may be English friendly signs and descriptions around, people still prefer Spanish or Portuguese. Even television is broadcasted in Spanish.
The whole tropical thing might sound exciting but many people find it eventually boring and monotonous. Also, since the whole area is an island, expect sea breezes and eventually storms and hurricanes.
San Juan is actually in the list of the top 50 dangerous cities worldwide The windy calamities will tear down seashores, houses, or any stalls around. People generally are acquainted to this but if you’re planning a beach house, consider this a basic risk
3. You are a Citizen but not really
This is for people born in Puerto Rico. The locals hold the right to American citizenship from when they’re born but they can’t cast votes whatsoever. Never has been there a senator from Puerto Rico and never will be unless some groundbreaking laws are passed in the future.
Count every major city but still, no city in Puerto Rico has good basic infrastructures. Groceries and Utilities are expensive. The schooling is not that great, private schools are available but everyone knows how expensive private schools are.
There are traffic problems everywhere. People are reckless drivers themselves. The crime rate is high; 20.3%, 3 times (in 100,000 people) more than the entire US itself. Living in PR means, you will be living in lines for everything as well.
5. The Economic Life
Puerto Rico is more about social life than economics. People will generally move to the US for better education or well-paying jobs. Normally, people move into Puerto Rico as a retirement plan or when they just want a time out. The natives are there but the younger generations have a higher tendency of moving to the states.
Cost of Living in Puerto Rico
If you decide to move into Puerto Rico whether it be for a while or a quick visit, here we got you covered on some basic expenditure comparisons so that you can have a quick idea of how the cost of living is on the island.
Houses in Puerto Rico are way cheaper than the national average of the United States of America. According to Numbeo, a 3 person apartment rent on the island is almost half of the national average: $1066.2 to $2164.09. If you want to own an apartment the comparison to the states is $1536.85 to $3145.375. So, a house anywhere in Puerto Rico will cost you half the price of national average America.
Even if you save a lot on rent or housing, utilities will cost you a lot eventually. Electricity and water bills are almost 20% more expensive than the national average of the United States. Your monthly utility bill will cost anywhere from $200 to $250. Internet bills however are 2% cheaper than in the US.
Puerto Rico is known for its rum in the grocery department. Any local liquor will cost less than half of the basic brand in America whereas, anything imported will cost you a bit more.
The necessities like milk, eggs, fruits, cheese, etc are almost the same as the national average. However, you will have access to some local organic stores and suppliers which will give you healthier products for their own prices. If you’re eating out, coffee is great and the prices are very reasonable.
Buying a car in Puerto Rico is the safest form of transportation. The public transportation either by bus, trains or cabs is way cheaper than the US in terms of per 1km costs. Gas will cost you about 0.76 per liter. Imported cars are scarcely seen and are very expensive.
Anything from haircuts, cigarettes (Marlboro), gyms, etc to child care will cost you way less than any state in the United States. Preschools and Kindergarten are 3 times less expensive than the national average which is about $950 monthly for 1 child.
Fitness clubs will cost you 10% less than the US average. International brands like Levi’s, Zara, etc surprisingly cost 4% less than the national average. According to Numbeo, the average monthly Net Salary (After Tax) is only $1900 which is half of the national average.