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Report: Storm-hit Puerto Rico lost 130K people in past year

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The U.S. Census Bureau says Puerto Rico lost 130,000 inhabitants between July 2017 and 2018, a period that includes Hurricane Maria.

Officials said Wednesday that the U.S. territory’s population now stands at 3.2 million people, a nearly 14 percent drop over the past decade and a nearly 4 percent reduction in just one year.

Puerto Rico already was losing people prior to the September 2017 blow from Maria. The island has been struggling through a 12-year recession, and the hurricane prompted tens of thousands of people to head for the mainland. The Category 4 storm destroyed the island’s power grid and caused more than an estimated $100 billion in damage.

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