Statistical information Nicaragua 1996Nicaragua

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

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Nicaragua - Introduction 1996
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Background: Settled as a colony of Spain in the 1520s Nicaragua gained its independence in 1821. Violent opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption spread to all classes by 1978 and resulted in a short-lived civil war that brought the Marxist Sandinista guerrillas to power in 1979. Nicaraguan aid to leftist rebels in El Salvador caused the US to sponsor anti-Sandinista contra guerrillas through much of the 1980s. Free elections in 1990 and again in 1996 saw the Sandinistas defeated. The country has slowly rebuilt its economy during the 1990s.

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

Geographic coordinates

Map reference

Total: 129,494 km²
Land: 120,254 km²
Comparative: slightly larger than New York State

Land boundaries: Total 1,231 km, Costa Rica 309 km, Honduras 922 km

Coastline: 910 km

Maritime claims
Contiguous zone: 25-nm security zone
Continental shelf: natural prolongation
Territorial sea: 200 nm

Climate: Tropical in lowlands, cooler in highlands

Terrain: Extensive Atlantic coastal plains rising to central interior mountains; narrow Pacific coastal plain interrupted by volcanoes

Extremes lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Extremes highest point: Mogoton 2,438 m

Natural resources:

Land use

Land use
Arable land: 9%
Permanent crops: 1%
Permanent pastures: 43%
Forests and woodland: 35%
Other: 12%

Irrigated land: 850 km² (1989 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards


Nicaragua - People 1996
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4,272,352 (July 1996 est.)
4,206,353 (July 1995 est.)

Growth rate:
2.67% (1996 est.)
2.61% (1995 est.)

Noun: Nicaraguan(s)
Adjective: Nicaraguan

Ethnic groups:
Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and Caucasian) 69%
White 17%
Black 9%
Indian 5%

LanguagesSpanish (official)
Note: English- and Indian-speaking minorities on Atlantic coast

Roman Catholic 95%
Protestant 5%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years:
44% (male 951,254; female 938,599) (July 1996 est.)
44% (male 930,594; female 921,356) (July 1995 est.)

15-64 years:
53% (male 1,105,069; female 1,164,144) (July 1996 est.)
53% (male 1,097,811; female 1,146,485) (July 1995 est.)

65 years and over:
3% (male 49,027; female 64,259) (July 1996 est.)
3% (male 47,500; female 62,607) (July 1995 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate:
2.67% (1996 est.)
2.61% (1995 est.)

Birth rate:
33.83 births/1000 population (1996 est.)
33.73 births/1000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate:
6.01 deaths/1000 population (1996 est.)
6.45 deaths/1000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate:
-1.17 migrant(s)/1000 population (1996 est.)
-1.19 migrant(s)/1000 population (1995 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution
Current issues Natural hazards: destructive earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, and occasionally severe hurricanes
International agreements: party to_Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling; signed, but not ratified_Desertification, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
All ages:
0.97 male(s)/female (1996 est.) Infant Mortality Rate:45.8 deaths/1000 live births (1996 est.)
50.3 deaths/1000 live births (1995 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 65.72 years (1996 est.); 64.54 years (1995 est.)
Male: 63.41 years (1996 est.); 61.67 years (1995 est.)
Female: 68.13 years (1996 est.); 67.53 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate:
4.03 children born/woman (1996 est.)
4.17 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: 65.7%
Male: 64.6%
Female: 66.6%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

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

Government type: Republic

Capital: Managua

Administrative divisions: 15 departments (departamentos, singular_departamento), 2 autonomous regions* (regions autonomista, singular_region autonomista; Boaco, Carazo, Chinandega, Chontales, Esteli, Granada, Jinotega, Leon, Madriz, Managua, Masaya, Matagalpa, Nueva Segovia, Atlantica Norte*, Atlantica Sur*, Rio San Juan, Rivas

Dependent areas

Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)

National holiday: Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

Constitution: 9 January 1987

Legal system: Civil law system; Supreme Court may review administrative acts

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 16 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state and head of government: President Violeta Barrios de CHAMORRO (since 25 April 1990) was elected for a six-year term (amended to a five-year term in July 1995) by universal suffrage; Vice President Julia MENA Rivera (since 22 October 1995) replaced Virgilio GODOY, who resigned to run for the presidency in 1996 as required by law; election last held 25 February 1990 (next to be held 20 October 1996); results_Violeta Barrios de CHAMORRO (UNO) 54.7%, Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra (FSLN) 40.8%, other 4.5%
Cabinet: Cabinet

Legislative branch: Unicameral National Assembly (Asamblea Nacional):Elections last held 25 February 1990 (next to be held NA October 1996; results_UNO coalition 53.9%, Sandinista bloc 40.8%, PSC 1.6%, MUR 1.0%; seats_(92 total) UNO coalition 53 (Center Group 9, UDC 6, PSD 5, APC 5, PLC 5, PLI 4, PND 3, PAN 3, PNC 3, MDN 2, PCdeN 2, independents 6) and Sandinista bloc 39 (MRS 16, BUS-Sandinista 9, FSLN 8, Sandinista Group of Reflection 4, FSLN-independents 2)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema), judges elected for a six-year term (amended to a seven-year term in July 1995) by the National Assembly

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: 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, OAS, OPANAL, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation

Flag descriptionflag of Nicaragua: Three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, and blue with the national coat of arms centered in the white band; the coat of arms features a triangle encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA on the top and AMERICA CENTRAL on the bottom; similar to the flag of El Salvador, which features a round emblem encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE EL SALVADOR EN LA AMERICA CENTRAL centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Honduras, which has five blue stars arranged in an X pattern centered in the white band

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Nicaragua - Economy 1996
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Economy overview: The Nicaraguan economy, devastated during the 1980s by economic mismanagement and civil war, is beginning to rebound. Since March 1991, when President CHAMORRO launched an ambitious economic stabilization program, Nicaragua has had considerable success in reducing inflation and obtaining substantial economic aid from abroad. Annual inflation fell from more than 750% in 1991 to less than 5% in 1992. After rising again to an estimated 20% in 1993, the annual inflation rate was 11.7% in 1994 and 11.4% in 1995. While economic growth was flat in 1992 and negative in 1993, the 1995 growth rate is about 4%, thanks to surges in most export categories. Recent legislation (November 1995) authorizing the privatization of the TELCOR telecommunications company and resolving the issue of property confiscated by the previous Sandinista government may reassure potential investors. The government's efforts to liberalize trade include a December 1995 decision to stop requiring exporters to bring their foreign exchange earnings into Nicaragua. On the debt front, the Nicaraguan Government launched a successful debt buyback program in 1995, purchasing 73% of its $1.373 billion commercial debt inherited from previous governments. Progress also occurred on reducing bilateral debt in November 1995 as Nicaragua reached an agreement with Germany, reducing Nicaragua's $616 million debt to the former GDR by 80%. Debt reduction agreements with Paris Club creditors and rescheduling with the US also took place. Unemployment remains a pressing problem, however, with roughly half the country's population unemployed or underemployed.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate:
4.2% (1995 est.)
3.2% (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: Crops account for about 15% of GDP; export crops_coffee, bananas, sugarcane, cotton; food crops_rice, corn, cassava, citrus fruit, beans; also produces a variety of animal products_beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products; normally self-sufficient in food

Food processing
Metal products
Petroleum refining and distribution

Industrial production growth rate: Growth rate 1.4% (1994 est.), -0.8% (1993 est.), accounts for 26% of GDP

Labor force: 1.086 million
By occupation Services: 43%
By occupation Agriculture: 44%
By occupation Industry: 13% (1986)
Labor force

Unemployment rate:
20% substantial underemployment (1995 est.)
21.8%; underemployment 50% (1993)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $389 million (1996 est.); $375 million (1992)
Expenditures: $551 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1996 est.); $410 million (1992), including capital expenditures of $115 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. $525.5 million (f.o.b., 1995 est.)
$329 million (f.o.b., 1994 est.)


Central America

Total value:
$870 million (c.i.f., 1995 est.)
$786 million (c.i.f., 1994 est.)

Consumer goods
Machinery and equipment
Petroleum products

Central America

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external:
$11.7 billion (1994)
$11 billion (1993)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates

Nicaragua - Energy 1996
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 1.6 billion kWh

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 376 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

Nicaragua - Communication 1996
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: 66,810 telephones (1993 est.); low-capacity radio relay and wire system being expanded; connection into Central American Microwave System
Local: NA
Intercity: wire and radio relay
International: 1 Intersputnik and 1 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth station

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Nicaragua - Military 1996
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $28.1 million, NA% of GDP (1996; $32 million, 1.7% of GDP (1994), 8.1% of government budget

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Nicaragua - Transportation 1996
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 148
With paved runways over 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 1
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 32 (1995 est.)
With paved runways under 914 m: 107

Airports with paved runways
Over 3047 m: 1
2438 to 3047 m: 1
15-24 to 2437 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 32 (1995 est.)
Under 914 m: 107

Airports with unpaved runways


Pipelines: Crude oil 56 km



Waterways: 2,220 km, including 2 large lakes

Merchant marine: None

Ports and terminals

Nicaragua - Transnational issues 1996
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: Transshipment point for cocaine destined for the U.S.


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