Statistical information Costa Rica 1996Costa%20Rica

Map of Costa Rica | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Energy | Communication
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Costa Rica in the World

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Costa Rica - Introduction 1996
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Background: Costa Rica declared its independence from Spain in 1821. After a turbulent beginning it inaugurated an era of peaceful democracy in 1889, subsequently interrupted only twice, by a dictatorial interlude in 1917-19 and an armed uprising in 1948. Increasing the role of the private sector while maintaining the government's social safety net and keeping under control the budget deficit, unemployment, and inflation are key current issues.

Costa Rica - Geography 1996
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Location: Middle America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua and Panama

Geographic coordinates

Map reference

Total: 51,100 km²
Land: 50,660 km²
Comparative: slightly smaller than West Virginia
Comparative note: Includes Isla del Coco

Land boundaries: Total 639 km, Nicaragua 309 km, Panama 330 km

Coastline: 1,290 km

Maritime claims
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: Tropical; dry season (December to April; rainy season (May to November)

Terrain: Coastal plains separated by rugged mountains

Extremes lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Extremes highest point: Cerro Chirripo 3,810 m

Natural resources: Hydropower potential
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 6%
Permanent crops: 7%
Permanent pastures: 45%
Forests and woodland: 34%
Other: 8%

Irrigated land: 1,180 km² (1989 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards


Costa Rica - People 1996
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3,463,083 (July 1996 est.)
3,419,114 (July 1995 est.)

Growth rate:
2.06% (1996 est.)
2.24% (1995 est.)

Noun: Costa Rican(s)
Adjective: Costa Rican

Ethnic groups:
White (including mestizo) 96%
Black 2%
Indian 1%
Chinese 1%

LanguagesSpanish (official), English; spoken around Puerto Limon

ReligionsRoman Catholic 95%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years:
35% (male 612,624; female 582,566) (July 1996 est.)
35% (male 617,456; female 585,976) (July 1995 est.)

15-64 years:
61% (male 1,061,703; female 1,038,403) (July 1996 est.)
60% (male 1,036,195; female 1,013,491) (July 1995 est.)

65 years and over:
4% (male 77,773; female 90,014) (July 1996 est.)
5% (male 77,946; female 88,050) (July 1995 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate:
2.06% (1996 est.)
2.24% (1995 est.)

Birth rate:
23.84 births/1000 population (1996 est.)
24.88 births/1000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate:
4.14 deaths/1000 population (1996 est.)
3.47 deaths/1000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate:
0.92 migrant(s)/1000 population (1996 est.)
1.02 migrant(s)/1000 population (1995 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: deforestation, largely a result of the clearing of land for cattle ranching; soil erosion
Current issues Natural hazards: occasional earthquakes, hurricanes along Atlantic coast; frequent flooding of lowlands at onset of rainy season; active volcanoes
International agreements: party to_Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling; signed, but not ratified_Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
All ages:
1.02 male(s)/female (1996 est.) Infant Mortality Rate:13.5 deaths/1000 live births (1996 est.)
10.3 deaths/1000 live births (1995 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 75.72 years (1996 est.); 78.11 years (1995 est.)
Male: 73.31 years (1996 est.); 76.21 years (1995 est)
Female: 78.24 years (1996 est.); 80.1 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate:
2.9 children born/woman (1996 est.)
3.01 children born/woman (1995 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over that can read and write (1995 est.)
Total population: 94.8%
Male: 94.7%
Female: 95%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Costa Rica - Government 1996
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Country name
Conventional long form: Republic of Costa Rica
Conventional short form: Costa Rica
Local long form: Republica de Costa Rica
Local short form: Costa Rica

Government type: Democratic republic

Capital: San Jose

Administrative divisions: 7 provinces (provincias, singular_provincia; Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limon, Puntarenas, San Jose

Dependent areas

Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)

National holiday: Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

Constitution: 9 November 1949

Legal system: Based on Spanish civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch
Chief of state and head of government: President Miquel Angel RODRIGUEZ (since 1 februari 1998); election last held 1 February 1998 (next to be held February 2002); results_Jose Miguel MORALES 45.13%, Miquel Angel RODRIGUEZ (PUSC party) 47.4%
8 may 1994 1 februari 1998: President Jose Maria FIGUERES Olsen
Cabinet: Cabinet; selected by the president

Legislative branch: Unicameral Legislative Assembly (Asamblea Legislativa):Elections last held 6 February 1994 (next to be held February 1998; results_percent of vote by party NA; seats_(61 total) PLN 28, PUSC 29, minority parties 4

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema)

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: AG (observer), BCIE, CACM, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation

Flag descriptionflag of Costa%20Rica: Five horizontal bands of blue (top), white, red (double width), white, and blue, with the coat of arms in a white disk on the hoist side of the red band

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Costa Rica - Economy 1996
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Economy overview: Costa Rica's basically stable and progressive economy depends especially on tourism and the export of bananas, coffee, and other agricultural products. Recent trends have been disappointing. Economic growth slipped from 4.3% in 1994 to 2.5% in 1995, the lowest rate of growth since 1991's 2.1%. Inflation rose dramatically to 22.5% from 13.5% in 1994, well above the government's own projection of 18%. Unemployment rose from 4.0% in 1994 to 5.2% in 1995, and substantial underemployment continues. These economic woes are likely to be exacerbated in 1996 by a standby arrangement reached with the IMF on 29 November 1995. To restore fiscal balance, the government agreed to curb inflation, reduce the fiscal deficit, increase domestic savings, and improve public sector efficiency while increasing the role of the private sector. Costa Rica signed a free trade agreement with Mexico in 1994.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate:
2.5% (1995 est.)
4.3% (1994 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: Accounts for 19% of GDP and 70% of exports; cash commodities_coffee, beef, bananas, sugar; other food crops include corn, rice, beans, potatoes; normally self-sufficient in food except for grain; depletion of forest resources resulting in lower timber output

Food processing
Textiles and clothing
Construction materials
Plastic products

Industrial production growth rate: Growth rate 10.5% (1992; accounts for 22% of GDP

Labor force: 868,300
By occupation Industry and commerce: 35.1%
By occupation Government and services: 33%
By occupation Agriculture: 27%
By occupation Other: 4.9% (1985 est.)
Labor force

Unemployment rate:
5.2% (1995 est.); much underemployment
4% (1993); much underemployment

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $1.1 billion
Expenditures: $1.34 billion, including capital expenditures of $110 million (1991 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: Calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

total value. $2.4 billion (f.o.b., 1995 est.)
$2.1 billion (f.o.b., 1993)


El Salvador

Total value:
$3 billion (c.i.f., 1995 est.)
$2.9 billion (c.i.f., 1993)

Raw materials
Consumer goods
Capital equipment


Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external:
$4 billion (1995 est.)
$3.2 billion (1991)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates

Costa Rica - Energy 1996
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 4.1 billion kWh

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 1,164 kWh (1993)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Costa Rica - Communication 1996
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: 281,042 telephones (1983 est.); very good domestic telephone service
Local: NA
Intercity: NA
International: connection into Central American Microwave System; 1 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth station

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Costa Rica - Military 1996
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $55 million, 2.0% of GDP (1995; $22 million, 0.5% of GDP (1989)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Costa Rica - Transportation 1996
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 145
2438 to 3047 m: 2
15-24 to 2437 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 29 (1995 est.)
Under 914 m: 97

Airports with paved runways

Airports with unpaved runways


Pipelines: Petroleum products 176 km



Waterways: About 730 km, seasonally navigable

Merchant marine: None

Ports and terminals

Costa Rica - Transnational issues 1996
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: Transshipment country for cocaine and heroin from South America; illicit production of cannabis on small, scattered plots

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