Puerto Rico is the most populous and in many ways most prominent of five major U.S. territories. (The other four are the U.S. Virgin Islands, located east of Puerto Rico in the Atlantic Ocean; and American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam in the Pacific.) Puerto Rico is both deeply integrated into American society and insulated from it. On one hand, the American flag has flown over San Juan, the capital, for more than 100 years. Those born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens. Many live and work on the mainland and serve in the military. On the other hand, residents of Puerto Rico lack full voting representation in Congress, do not pay federal income taxes on income earned on the island, do not have the same eligibility for some federal programs as those in the states, do not vote in presidential elections (although they may do so in party primaries), and enjoy a culture and predominant Spanish language that some argue more closely resembles Latin America than most of the 50 states.
Date of Report: June 17, 2015
Order Number: IF10241
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