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Puerto Rico


Puerto Rico has been described as a political paradox – a US territory in the Caribbean since 1898, with local self-government and its own distinct personality. Outsourcing rates are higher than in the rest of Latin America but benefits include Puerto Rico’s close proximity to the United States mainland and cultural compatibility. 

Boricuas is the name given to the island by indigenous Taínos who inhabited Puerto Rico for hundreds of years before the Spanish arrived in 1493. Puerto Rico is now under the same protections and Federal regulations as the rest of the US, sharing the same currency, banking system, and financial controls. Revenue in the IT outsourcing market is projected to reach US$235.80m in 2024, driven by the increasing demand for cloud computing and cybersecurity services, with Puerto Rico leading the way in a move towards fintech, insurtech, and blockchain technology. Another key factor driving growth is the favorable tax incentives offered to businesses, including a 4% corporate tax rate and a 0% tax rate on capital gains.

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Overall rating, based on the maturity of the tech sector, socio-political conditions, and on-the-ground research by Accelerance.

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Talent Pool & Education

The US Government aims to reinvent Puerto Rico as a knowledge-based economy, using tax incentives to court international technology companies and investors to establish or expand operations on the island. Helping to keep the marketplace well supplied is the Mayagüez Campus of the University of Puerto Rico, considered one of the best engineering schools in the US, with more than 20,000 STEM graduates emerging each year. At the university’s ARL Lab, research is focused on applying artificial intelligence to biomedical sciences.

In late 2023, the Government approved funding for a multi-million dollar broadband infrastructure project. Key elements include a submarine cable to connect Puerto Rico with the Dominican Republic and the US Virgin Islands, the building of multi-purpose technology centers, and the construction of 5G infrastructure. Progress is already well underway to connect all of Puerto Rico’s municipalities with high-speed fiber optic cable to make its telecommunications networks more resilient. 

The United States Economic Development Administration has designated the PRBio Tech Hub, a consortium led by the Puerto Rico Science and Technology and Research Trust, as one of 31 inaugural tech hubs nationwide that show potential for rapid growth in key technology sectors. It has also been awarded a Tech Hubs Strategy Development Grant to strengthen its capacity to manufacture, commercialize, and deploy critical technologies.


Due to Puerto Rico’s status as a US colony, both Spanish and English are the official languages of Puerto Rico. Although Spanish is dominant, more than half of the population can speak, read, and understand English, at least on a basic level. English is also taught in schools and widely spoken in the tourism and business communities.

Software developers in Puerto Rico
Economic Outlook

Puerto Rico has made great progress in resolving and rebounding from its extensive fiscal crisis, according to a report by the Federal Bank of New York. After officially exiting bankruptcy in 2022, the economy is starting to rebound and is on track to grow by 1.8% in 2024. Unemployment is at a historic low of less than 6% and in 2023, Puerto Rico had its first year of positive net migration since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal aid from the US has guided reconstruction efforts after back-to-back natural disasters, with two hurricanes closely followed by destructive earthquakes. However, Puerto Ricans remain frustrated by the state of their battered infrastructure, particularly the territory’s notoriously unreliable power system, which results in frequent blackouts. The Government has proposed solutions to promote investment in renewable energy, improve service quality, and trim the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s debt obligations. 

Known as the “medicine cabinet of the United States”, Puerto Rico is home to many of the world’s top-grossing pharmaceutical companies. While the medical manufacturing cluster remains a key part of the island's economy, employment in the construction sector has one of the fastest rates of growth. Tourism has also been a strong job creator in recent years. Wages in Puerto Rico tend to be about half the level of the mainland and income inequality is considerably higher, but educational attainment is only modestly lower.

Political Conditions

Puerto Rico’s Governor Pedro Pierluisi of the New Progressive Party supports a move to statehood and is expected to run for a second term in office at the next election in November 2024. Commentators say the battle for the governor’s chair will loom over every discussion on the political and economic future among the more than 3.2 million Americans living in the territory, which has been under US control for 125 years.

In an intriguing turn of events, the Governor’s main rival, Jenniffer González-Colón, is a former running mate from the same party. Currently, the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico (a non-voting member of the United States House of Representatives), González-Colón is a Republican who supported Donald Trump, while Pierluisi caucused with Democrats during his own eight years as resident commissioner.

The Puerto Rico Status Act authorizes the island territory’s residents to hold a federally-binding referendum to choose among three options: statehood, independence, or sovereignty in free association with the United States. Puerto Ricans have voted in six referendums on their political status since 1967, with the past three showing majority support for statehood. 

A coalition of senators, House members, and prominent Puerto Rican politicians is now pressing Congress to pass legislation that would set a vote. “It’s been more than 100 years since Puerto Rican residents became US citizens … well over 300,000 Puerto Ricans have served in our nation’s military,” Martin Heinrich, the sponsor of the Senate bill, has said. “I think we should all agree that Americans living in Puerto Rico deserve an overdue permanent and democratic answer on their political status.”