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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Slight decrease in poverty reflected in latest census data

Alberto Velázquez-Estrada, senior manager of statistical projects at the Institute of Statistics

By John McPhaul

Alberto Velázquez-Estrada, the senior manager of statistical projects at the Institute of Statistics, said Thursday that the United States Census Bureau published the most recent data from the Puerto Rico Community Survey, reflecting a decrease in families living below the poverty line.

In the report, among all families in Puerto Rico, the percentage of families below the poverty line decreased slightly from 41.8 percent to 39.8 percent, which in Velázquez-Estrada’s opinion represents a statistically significant difference.

“The reduction in the percentage of families in poverty in Puerto Rico could be the effect of the following changes between periods: a slight increase in family income, as indicated by the median, and a decrease in family size,” Velázquez-Estrada said. “Both aspects are considered in the computation of the poverty thresholds for families and individuals.”

Velázquez-Estrada said the statistics refer to information collected over a five-year period, from 2016 to 2020. The new publication provides data on demographic, social, economic and housing characteristics for Puerto Rico and its municipalities, as well as for specific geographic levels such as neighborhoods and census tracts. As part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s State Data Center network in Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics presents various results of interest:

1. In a comparison of the previous five-year period 2011-2015, compared to the most recent period 2016-2020, the estimates indicate that:

* At the municipal level, some 60 municipalities showed a similar decrease in terms of the characteristics of families in poverty.

* It should be noted that in only 16 of the 60 municipalities were the differences statistically significant.

* The municipalities of Culebra, Barranquitas, Maunabo, Morovis and Peñuelas showed the greatest decrease in this characteristic. The difference in the municipality of Culebra was not statistically significant.

* The municipality of Fajardo did not reflect change (41.4 percent) between both periods.

* Vieques, Hormigueros, Cidra, Hatillo and Lajas showed an increase in the percentage of families in poverty, but the differences were not statistically significant.

2. In addition, at the Puerto Rico level during the 2016-2020 period, among the social characteristics it was estimated that:

* A total of 81,254 grandparents live with their grandchildren, and of these, 36.1 percent are responsible for them.

* Regarding the presence of computers and internet access in homes in Puerto Rico (1,205,749), 72.6 percent have a computer and 64.3 percent have some broadband internet subscription.

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