Almost everyone in Puerto Rico thinks conditions in the territory are “bad,” according to a scientific poll published yesterday.
Life there is so bad that 33% of those surveyed said that it is likely they will move to the States soon.
Ninety-three percent of the people interviewed characterized the territory’s situation as “bad”; 53% of these as “very bad.”
Eighty-eight percent of those who identified with Puerto Rico’s “Commonwealth” party were among those choosing “bad” to describe conditions in Puerto Rico. Although the party continues to promote a new governing arrangement for the territory that successive Federal officials have said is impossible, its second choice – its only real choice — is the status quo, which has resulted in the situation that even almost all of its supporters say is “bad.”
Crime is the most widely-held concern, having been cited by 91% of poll recipients, but economic matters ran a close second … third, fourth, and fifth.
The lack of jobs was given as a major problem by 85% — not surprising since the territory has lost a fifth of its jobs during the past seven and a half years.
Increased water and power costs was a top complaint of 80% — with Puerto Rico’s “Commonwealth” party administration having recently raised the price of water 60%.
Seventy-five percent gave the economy in general as a major problem.
The price of gasoline was cited by 65% — after the insular government significantly increased the tax on fuel.
Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said that their personal financial situation was worse than it was a year ago. Thirty-eight percent said it was the same.
And most people do not believe that the situation will improve. Only 37% said that the economy would be better in four years — and 28% felt that it would “never” be better in the territory.
Seventy-eight percent doubt that “Commonwealth” party Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla’s campaign pledge that 50,000 more jobs would be created during his first 18 months in office will be fulfilled. Only 13% thought that the goal would be met.
Ten months into the 18, Puerto Rico needs about 65,000 more jobs to reach the 50,000 more jobs goal; about 15,000 jobs have been lost already this year.
More people thought that the goal will not be reached because of what Garcia has done … or not done … than do not blame him. Thirty-three percent attribute not reaching the goal to Garcia’s management of the territory’s affairs and 11% to his policies.
Only 38% said the 50,000 jobs would not be created because of the economy. And 45% held the Governor responsible for the economy.
Of the 33% who said that it is likely they will move to a State during the next couple of years, 17% said moving is “very likely” and 16% said it is “quite likely.”
Younger people are more likely to move than older ones. Forty-three percent of interviewees between 18 and 34 years of age said that it is likely that they will move to a State; only 16% of those 65 and older said that it is likely they will move.
Sixty-eight percent of those who said that it is likely that they will move to a State gave the better economy of the States as a reason. Fifty-five percent cited the better quality of life in general in a State.
With Puerto Rico’s population currently estimated at about 3.6 million people, the prospect of 33% — 1.2 million people — moving to the States during the next couple of years underscores why Puerto Rico’s situation is a matter of national concern and not just a local problem.
The problems of Puerto Rico — mostly rooted in its territory status — have caused millions of people born there to move to the States already. About 1.5 million citizens of the States personally moved from the territory. Additionally, there are nearly five million people of Puerto Rican heritage in the States, counting people descended from individuals who have moved.
The poll was conducted for El Nuevo Dia newspaper.