Puerto Rico records lowest birth rate since 1888. What are some solutions?

By Mivette Vega

January 8, 2024

Experts warn that Puerto Rico’s accelerated reduction in births does not lead to generational replacement.

In 2023, a dramatic reduction in birth rates was recorded in Puerto Rico, according to data from the island’s Demographic Registry.

The 17,772 births registered represent the lowest birth rate that has ever been recorded since the island started keeping birth records in 1888.

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In 2023 there were 1,391 fewer births than in 2022 and significantly less than in 2013, when 36,580 births were registered.

Experts warn that the accelerated reduction in births does not lead to generational replacement.

For any country to have a generational replacement, the birth rate must be 2.1, however Puerto Rico is below .90.

Demographer Judith Rodríguez, along with other experts, warned that the low birth rate will affect the economic development of the island.

“We already know that we are going to have a shrinking, small, young workforce. That is going to affect the country’s economic development plans,” Rodríguez told El Nuevo Día.

Experts say that the government urgently needs to establish a public policy that reverses this reduction in birth rates.

READ MORE: High energy costs threaten Puerto Rico’s businesses as debt restructuring looms

Some of the proposed solutions are incentivizing people of reproductive age, financial support for extended care taking into account working hours, flexibility in working hours, increasing the number of days of maternity and paternity leave, and improving access to housing with enough spaces to raise children.

“As a society and at the level of public policy, we must emphasize trying to retain and attract people of reproductive age, trying to get them to stay in Puerto Rico, making it as easy as possible for them to have more than one child,” Nabal Bracero, medical director of the organization PROGyn, told El Nuevo Día.

 

Author

  • Mivette Vega

    Mivette Vega is a seasoned journalist and multimedia reporter whose stories center the Latino community. She is passionate about justice, equality, environmental matters, and animals. She is a Salvadorrican—Salvadorian that grew up in Puerto Rico—that has lived in San Juan, Venice, Italy, and Miami.

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