Select Page

Demographers identify the causes, challenges of a rapidly aging Puerto Rico

by | Mar 8, 2023 | Bocaítos, Puerto Rico | 0 comments

The Social Science Research Institute’s Population Research Institute at Penn State recently published an article on how the population in Puerto Rico is rapidly aging, talking about the impacts of this phenomenon and the negative impact it will have on the territory.

“I was surprised to find that over the last 10 years, Puerto Rico has nearly doubled its percentage of adults older than age 65 due to the outmigration of over 700,000 working age adults,” said Matos-Moreno. “This shift has massive implications for Puerto Rico, which is still struggling to recover from several hurricanes, earthquakes, and political upheaval.”

Matos-Moreno and other population researchers looked at several studies, including the “Puerto Rican Elderly: Health Conditions Study,” which collected data on social, economic and health conditions from 4,291 older adults in 2002, with follow ups in 2006 and 2019.

The team also looked at several studies that examined the associations between familial separation and mental health, social networks and psychological well-being, and the sociodemographic characteristics of older adults. They found that several factors are negatively impacting this segment of the population, including outmigration, lack of services, and kinlessness. The work was published in The Gerontologist.

“The older adults left behind as a result of outmigration are facing many challenges, including a reduction in government services, poor economy, disruption of social support networks and increased isolation, which can lead to health issues,” said Matos-Moreno. “As a result, Puerto Rico faces significant challenges in improving income security, providing health care services, and assuring the well-being of its aging population.”

This on top of a reduction in population, natural and economic disasters, plus the political powerlessness of the islands of Puerto Rico presents a stark panorama. 



William-Jose Velez Gonzalez

William-Jose Velez Gonzalez

William-José Vélez González is a native from Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and a graduate from Florida International University in biomedical engineering, engineering management, and international relations. A designer with a strong interest in science, policy, and innovation, he previously served as the national executive vice president of the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association. William-José lives in Washington, DC, where he works at the Children's National Research Institute and runs Opsin, a nonprofit design studio dedicated to making design more accessible. You can see him on Love is Blind as Lydia's brother. He is the founder and Editor in Chief of Pasquines.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.