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Latino Daily News

Saturday September 4, 2010

Puerto Rican Women Changing the Future of the Island

Women’s new role in Puerto Rico is being held responsible for the fact that fewer Puerto Ricans are getting married and family size is dwindling.
Every region on the island reports fewer births with the largest decline occurring in greater San Juan where births are down 16% over the past 6 years.

Experts believe that both the decrease in number of marriages and the decline in births is explained by the changing role of women in Puerto Rico. There is also a new trend in Puerto Rico of increasing “informal unions”. These unions are unofficial and not recorded in any official statistics.

“The woman works more and is much better educated, which encourages her to delay getting married until after 30,” demographer Raul Figueroa said.

Economic conditions on the island have also had a role in these declining numbers. The recession now in its fourth year makes families consider more carefully how many children they can afford to have. Between 2000 and 2007 migration records show that 190,000 Puerto Ricans left the island. These are typically young professionals, which affect both the marriage and birth rates.

In addition, 80% of the students attending university in Puerto Rico are female. This often requires women to postpone getting married and having children to complete their education. This is a very new phenomenon in Puerto Rico.

This years US Census is expected to see a decrease of 52,000 inhabitants on the island, leaving the population at approximately 3.75 Million.