Higher Education in Puerto Rico

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Amanda Morris
Consumer Behavior
10 December 2012
Higher Education in Puerto Rico

Amanda Morris
Consumer Behavior
10 December 2012

Higher Education in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is an interesting country when looking in comparison with the United States. They have been largely influenced by the US in culture, economics, and education. Because they have had aspirations of becoming the 51st state, they have historically tried to mainstream their culture in tandem with cultural trends in the mainland US. The interesting thing about that is that Puerto Rican people are fiercely proud of their cultural identity, and their heritage. They refer to themselves as Puerto Rican, even when they are second and third generation United States’ citizens. They have fought to keep Spanish in their schools instead of strict English. They hold themselves to even higher standards of education in many aspects. This leads to some interesting nuances in Puerto Rican education and the choices people make when it comes to choosing a college. This paper seeks to briefly examine how consumer behavior relates to higher education in Puerto Rico. Economics play a large factor, as well as strong involvement from the government, and US cultural influences in how and why secondary education choices are made for the people of Puerto Rico.

To being with, when thinking about Puerto Rico, one must first look to what makes the country unique. A good starting place would be its basic facts regarding its demographics. Puerto Rico is one of the most densely populated islands in the world with just over 1000 people per square mile (Rivera). This statistic also makes them more densely populated than anywhere in the United States as well. Most of their population lives within an urban setting at 71% (US Census Bureau), which makes sense when considering how densely populated the small island is. The average family size is three to four people. The average household income is roughly $27,000 which is about half of what the average mainland US household nets at $58,000 (Rodriguez Dominguez). This leads to about 41% of the population living below the poverty line. They are primarily white with Spanish origin, however there are also a small percentage of blacks, Asians, and Amerindians (Rivera). They have a rich ethnic history because of the origins of their country. The country’s literacy rate is at 94%, which means that nearly everyone over the age of 15 years old can read and write. This is an impressive feat when you consider that in the US illiteracy rates in high poverty areas, at 43%, are significantly higher than high-income areas, at 4% (US Department of Education).

The structure of the government in Puerto Rico is definitely an interesting one. They are considered a self-governing commonwealth of the United States. This means they consider our President Obama to be their chief of state, but they elect their own governor to be the head of their island government. They also have a Senate and a House of Representatives. They have a cabinet appointed by the Governor and ratified by the legislature. They also have their own justice system, the Supreme Court. The commonwealth is divided into 78 municipalities, instead of counties like most states (Rivera). The capital city of Puerto Rico is San Juan, and this is where their primary governmental buildings are housed (Rivera). Due to their commonwealth status, they enjoy many benefits of the United States. The people of Puerto Rico enjoy dual citizenship. They are allowed to enter the US freely, and do not need a work visa, or green card, to be employed here. They are allowed to participate in the US Armed Forces, Social Security, federal welfare, and enjoy the protections of the United States in international affairs. They also have the US Postal Service, and follow the US Constitution. Despite these many similarities, there are a few differences. The people of Puerto...
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