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At a Glance: Puerto Rico

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Puerto Rico, located about 1,000 miles southeast of Florida, extends 111 miles from east to west and 40 miles from north to south. The island was ceded to the United States from Spain in 1898 as a result of the Spanish-American War.

Island residents have been U.S. citizens since 1917. Puerto Rico's commonwealth form of government was established in 1952, and it has its own political parties--formed largely around the issue of the island's political status. Currently, the pro-statehood New Progressive Party controls the governor's seat and the legislature.

Puerto Rico's 1,547 public schools are administered by the commonwealth's department of education, which operates much like a large school district and has a budget of $1.75 billion, of which nearly a third comes from the U.S. government.

Population: 3.8 million

Puerto Ricans living on the U.S. mainland: 2.7 million

U.S. cities with the largest concentrations of Puerto Ricans: New York; Chicago; Philadelphia; Newark, N.J.; Hartford, Conn.

Percent of residents above age 5 able to speak English easily: 23

Percent who are able to speak English with difficulty: 24
Percent who are unable to speak English: 51

K-12 public school enrollment: 620,000
K-12 private school enrollment: 170,000

Average per-pupil expenditure (public schools): $2,705
U.S. average: $6,060
Average teacher salary (public schools): $18,000
U.S. average: $37,643

SOURCES: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Education Commission of the States, Puerto Rico Department of Education, Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, Council for American Private Education, National Puerto Rican Coalition, American Federation of Teachers.

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