NEW YORK (Reuters) - Puerto Rico's populations loss, primarily to the U.S. mainland, is being led by younger and less educated sections of the population and boosting the proportion of the college educated among those who remain, according to a blog post by the New York Federal Reserve on Monday.
Researchers at the New York Fed play down concerns over a "brain drain" and say Puerto Rico must do more to provide jobs for lower skilled workers to stem population loss and the erosion of its tax base.
The Fed warned that the pressures of migration and an aging population "can create a cycle of economic decay and further population losses that can be difficult to break."
The New York Fed used U.S. census data to show that the share of those leaving the island between 2011 and 2013 who were high school dropouts or had only a high school diploma was higher than for the island overall.
During the same time, the proportion of college graduates and those with some college education leaving the island was less than for the island as a whole. That, combined with the exodus of the less educated, drove up the overall proportion of college educated residents.
Out migration from the island of 3.6 million has accelerated over the last decade as Puerto Rico's economy struggles with little or no growth. In 2004, Puerto Rico's population was 3.8 million, a decline of 5 percent over the last 10 years.
As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico's economy is monitored by the second Federal Reserve district, which includes New York and part of New Jersey.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy. Editing by Andre Grenon)