What Being a United States Commonwealth Instead of a State Means to the People of Puerto Rico

In a truly informative piece for Vox, foreign video editor Christina Thornell very succinctly explains the history of Puerto Rico, how it became a commonwealth of the United States, how that status differs from that of a state, what governmental representation a commonwealth has and what the future holds for the American citizens of Puerto Rico.

Nearly half of Americans don’t know that Puerto Ricans are US citizens. But they are, and have been since 1917. As residents of the US Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans have US passports, can travel freely throughout the country and can serve in the military. But that doesn’t mean the US citizens who live in Puerto Rico get the same rights and benefits as US citizens stateside.