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Puerto Rico population increases for 1st time since 2005

December 30, 2019 GMT

SAN JUAN (AP) — For the first time in almost 15 years, the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico experienced a slight increase in population, according to federal statistics released on Monday.

The island of 3.2 million people welcomed 340 new inhabitants this past year, an increase of 0.01 percent, said the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics. Officials said that while total net migration was 7,733 people, the island’s population is still smaller than what it was a decade ago.

Since 2005, Puerto Rico has seen its population drop as people migrated to the U.S. mainland amid a 13-year recession. That migration intensified after Hurricane Maria hit in 2017, with Puerto Rico losing up to an estimated 4 percent of its population in the aftermath of the Category 4 storm, officials said.