Puerto Rico is facing several demographic challenges, in particular its diminishing population. The main concerns with the island’s diminishing population over the past 15 years have been mostly about the costs associated with the aging of the population that remains. The other side of this however can be seen in how total school enrollment on the island has gone down.
In 2012, there were 606,515 students enrolled in both public and private schools in Puerto Rico. By 2020, this figure dropped to 412,500, a decrease of 32% in just 8 years. This decrease has been even larger when comparing public school enrollment in the same time period.
Enrollment in public schools fell by 160,222, or 35.4% in the same period. The percentage of students enrolled in private schools in Puerto Rico has increased by 3.7 percentage points from 25.4% in 2012 to 29.1% in 2020. This rate is much higher than the same rate for the United States. In 2019, enrollment in public high schools was 94% of total enrollment.
The demographic trends seen in the past 10 years in Puerto Rico are not encouraging. The island could be headed towards a demographic collapse in the future. Steps must be taken to improve quality of life for families on the island as well as provide a better learning environment in public schools.