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Many countries use the word “dollar” to refer to their currency. There are Australian dollars, Canadian dollars, and Fijian dollars, among others. From Brunei to Zimbabwe, you can find dollars.

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While the bills may have the same name, dollars from different countries aren’t worth the same amount. A dollar in Belize is worth half as much as a U.S. dollar. Ten U.S. dollars are worth more than one thousand Jamaican dollars.

Since Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, the U.S. Dollar is Puerto Rico’s currency. There is no need to worry about exchange rates when one travels between Puerto Rico and the States.

Website PuertoRico.com offers this explanation. “Puerto Rico’s monetary unit is the United States Dollar (USD) as it is a commonwealth country of the United States of America.”

PuertoRico.com is right about Puerto Rico’s currency but wrong about Puerto Rico itself, by the way. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, and not a country. It is also not “a commonwealth.” Commonwealth is a word in the territorial government’s official name, just as it is in the official names of four States and another territory. It is not a political status.

Between 1902 and 1913, there were a few tries at a special territorial dollar for Puerto Rico, including bilingual currency, which might have been the first of its kind. Since 1913, Puerto Rico has just used the same dollars used throughout the United States.

In Puerto Rico, it is common to hear the U.S. dollar called “peso” or “dolar.”

Although the currency is the same in Puerto Rico and the States, the territory and the rest of the nation are in separate worlds economically.

Territory status means economic inequality.

The per capita income in Puerto Rico has been stuck at one third that of the country as a whole, and half that of the State with the lowest income level.

The average individual of Puerto Rican origin in a State earns twice as much a resident of the territory.

The people of Puerto Rico pay more than twice as much for electricity as people pay in the continental United States.

Etc.

The truth about the economic situation in Puerto Rico under territory status is simple; it doesn’t require a high finance calculation.

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Puerto Rico’s territory status is not good for its economy – U.S. Statehood would benefit Puerto Rico economically, just as it did Hawaii and Alaska. Tell your legislator that it’s time to move forward on statehood.