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People Are Asking about Puerto Rico

At Yahoo Answers, visitors can do the virtual equivalent of hollering questions down the hallway, hoping that someone will know the answer.

Here are the questions people have about Puerto Rico:

Do you believe that Puerto Rico should become the 51st state?
What do you think are the pros and cons of Puerto Rico becoming a state of the USA?
So puerto rico is actually a state now?

The answer to the final question is no, Puerto Rico is still a territory of the United States. This was a shock to some people who had read that Puerto Rico had voted for statehood, but the answers were correct: Puerto Rico is not yet a state.

On the pros and cons of Statehood, there were a variety of answers.


  • The economic advantages of statehood were on the top of people’s minds. Having the advantages of statehood as a recipient of federal funds was often mentioned. Being able to compete on the world stage as a State of the U.S. rather than as a small Caribbean country in fiscal distress was another clear advantage.
  • The opportunity to vote in presidential elections and to have full representation in the House and Senate was another important benefit.
  • The chance to participate fully in the rights and responsibility of statehood was another pro.


  • The loss of participation in Miss Universe and the Olympics was a popular concern.
  • Having to pay federal income taxes was seen as a negative result of Statehood.
  • There was fear that Puerto Rico would lose their language and culture.

There were some more eccentric ideas about the pros and cons, such as the fear that adding Puerto Rico as a 51st state would skew the demographic data in the U.S. and make it look as though the poverty rate is increasing, or the hope that Puerto Rico as a State would improve the U.S. basketball scores. However, those listed above were the most common ideas.

The list of positive outcomes of Statehood are hard to argue against. We know that Puerto Rico loses out on a lot of benefits because of the territorial status. It is a matter of law that Puerto Rico would gain a significant voice in the U.S. legislature as a State. We know that previous territories, even as recently as the 20th century, were greatly benefited by Statehood from an economic perspective. The benefits are clear.

The negatives are less clear. Both the Miss Universe pageant and the Olympics Committee have stated that Puerto Rico could continue to compete in those contests. And of course the United States could speak against either of those competitions, as both France and the UK have spoken up in the past about their possessions, and Puerto Rico would lose its ability to compete as other possessions have.

More Puerto Ricans would have to file federal income tax returns, but it is not at all clear that this would lead to higher taxes. As on the mainland, many people in Puerto Rico would not have to pay any taxes, and many would receive money in the form of an Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit, for which Puerto Rico is not now eligible.

As for the loss of Puerto Rican culture, more people of Puerto Rican heritage now live on the mainland than on the Island. There is no reason to think that Statehood would dilute Puerto Rico’s special character.

Crowdsourcing questions can produce answers that rely less on facts and more on feelings. Another sign of this: the ads for immigration assistance that pop up if you look for information about Puerto Rico on Yahoo Answers:


3 thoughts on “People Are Asking about Puerto Rico”

  1. That a PR born teacher enjoying equality in the states opposes statehood is no surprise.
    The Independence movement, having no support in PR is dedicated to raising their children fully proficient in english, send them to prestigious US universities to take up teaching and media carreers in order to indoctrinate future young generations.

    Most Teachers in the US who were born in PR are pro independence. They are hipocryte “armchair sofa nationalists”.

  2. I didn’t have to read the article to know that a major con for most people would be no olympic or miss universe participation. I understand why people feel that way, but IMHO it’s not a big con. Sports sovereignty or miss universe sovereignty does not help the day to day life of the average citizen.

    Saying that, there’s simply no way PR would continue to participate independently in the olympics or miss universe. I read the articles where it was said that PR’s participation would continue, but I just don’t see it. You don’t see the state of DE being independently represented in the olympics or miss universe, what would make PR so special, since it would be a state? Does the US break up for international sports competition and have 50+ foreign competitors? The US is not the only country with states or provinces, can other countries do the same? The only exception I see to this is the UK, which competes under Great Britain at the olympic games, but separately in other events, such as the FIFA world cup (so england, scottland, ireland, wales) compete. However, the UK is set up differently and each of the above is its own country, not a state or province.

    I think this ‘con’ is utterly ridiculous by people who are only looking at sports/miss universe soverignty, but not day to day equality and better economy. Again, I understand why this would concern people – and PR would definitely lose its foreign sports/miss universe privileges – but the end result would be better for the puerto ricans in the island.

  3. I think we should to the other way, and have all 51 states compete in the Miss Universe pageant, but maybe PR should just fold into the US Olympic team. It would make the US team better.

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