Puerto Rico’s aging population; an investment opportunity?

The government of Puerto Rico inaugurated today an investment of $17.5 million for the Felipe Sánchez Osorio public housing project, aimed at the elderly population. The project counts with over 153 residences and 157 parking spaces, 89 of those are designed for the disabled to have proper access as well as the 39 residences that comply with the Federal Law for Persons with Disabilities.

Public policy is slowly adjusting to the new economic reality. As it is commonly known, Puerto Rico’s population is going through changes due to the economic crisis. Puerto Rico’s population is aging; in year 2000, 11.2% of the population was 65 years old or older, in 2016 it turned to 18.9% while people younger than 18 decreased from 28.6% to 20.4%.

In 2000, the median age in PR was 32.1 years and in the USA 35.3 years. Now, the median age in PR is 40.8 years and, in the USA, it is 37.6 years. According to the AARP estimates the population 50 years and older may compose 47% of the population in 2040. The AARP report “Economic Impact of the Longevity Economy” found that this population group contributed $ 25.4 billion to the economy of Puerto Rico, and it generated 371,000 jobs, equivalent to 41% of all jobs.

The report adds that the income generated by the employees of this group amounted to $ 14.3 billion (41%) of the total and contributed with $ 2.3 billion in contributions in tax revenues to the central government and municipalities. Expands the AARP report chapter of Puerto Rico, that the demand for goods and services of this population group is $ 20.7 billion, which represents close of one third of consumer spending in 2015. In fact, 45% of households receive Social Security.

Migration also plays an important role in the aging population; the migrant profile estimates the median age of the migrant to be 28.8 years old. In a term of ten years (2006-2015) 445,000 people emigrated to the U.S. and after hurricane María the net migration is estimated to be 45,000 from October to January 2017.

The loss of population equals to approximately $1.40 billion to $6.0 billion in consumption losses and deepens economic crisis. According to an article in the NY Times, Puerto Rican incomes may lower by 21% over the next 15 years, the mean household income is currently $31,262 while migrants from Puerto Rico to the United States reflected an increase in median income for the third consecutive year; from 2015 to 2016 it increased from $ 13,446 to $ 15,128.