The Institute of Statistics published this week the Cost of Living Index for the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico. For the record, this index does not analyze the whole island, it only studies the metropolitan area composed of San Juan-Caguas-Carolina (MSA).
For the third quarter of 2018, the cost of living index was 100.6, representing an average cost of living to that of the United States (100). On the other hand, when we inquire into the different categories we see significant discrepancies.
The index is composed of six (6) subcategories:
Supermarket items: This index was 119.7, which means that the cost of grocery items is 19.7% above the average in the United States. This places the island number 15 of 294 other jurisdictions. One of the reasons for the high cost of food on the island is that more than 80% is consumed by the most expensive merchant marine in the world. Additionally, Puerto Rico suffered the damages of Hurricane Maria that increased the demand for products with the same number of offers, thus increasing prices.
Housing: The housing index was 85.4, below the US average, indicating that the cost of housing on the island is lower. After María’s passing, many properties lost value due to the damages that occurred, the lack of electricity to make the best ones and the slowness with the process for both insurers and government payments. The island is located number 151 of 294 jurisdictions.
Public Services: Public services on the island are 58.4% above the island’s average. The index for this category was 158.4, placing Puerto Rico number three (3) of 294 jurisdictions.
In the remaining categories of transportation, health care and other goods, the island is positioned below the United States average, indicating that, in these categories, the cost on the island is below. In particular, the cost of health care, the island is in the last position, with PR being the jurisdiction with the lowest health cost.