Statistical information Suriname 1996Suriname

Map of Suriname | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Energy | Communication
Military | Transportation | Transnational Issues | Year:  | More stats

Suriname in the World
Suriname in the World

Thrifty Traveler

Suriname - Introduction 1996
top of page

Background: Independence from the Netherlands was granted in 1975. Five years later the civilian government was replaced by a military regime that soon declared a socialist republic. It continued to rule through a succession of nominally civilian administrations until 1987 when international pressure finally brought about a democratic election.

Suriname - Geography 1996
top of page

Location: Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between French Guiana and Guyana

Geographic coordinates

Map reference

Total: 163,270 km²
Land: 161,470 km²
Comparative: slightly larger than Georgia

Land boundaries: Total 1,707 km, Brazil 597 km, French Guiana 510 km, Guyana 600 km

Coastline: 386 km

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

Climate: Tropical; moderated by trade winds

Terrain: Mostly rolling hills; narrow coastal plain with swamps
Lowest point: unnamed location in the coastal plain -2 m
Highest point: Wilhelmina Gebergte 1,286 m


Natural resources:
Hydropower potential
Iron ore
And small amounts of nickel

Land use

Land use
Arable land: NEGL%
Permanent crops: 0%
Permanent pastures: 0%
Forests and woodland: 97%
Other: 3%

Irrigated land: 590 km² (1989 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards


Suriname - People 1996
top of page

436,418 (July 1996 est.)
429,544 (July 1995 est.)

Growth rate:
1.6% (1996 est.)
1.58% (1995 est.)

Noun: Surinamer(s)
Adjective: Surinamese

Ethnic groups:
Hindustani (also known locally as "East" Indians; their ancestors emigrated from northern India in the latter part of the 19th century) 37%
Creole (mixed European and African ancestry) 31%
Javanese 15.3%
"Bush Black" (also known as "Bush Creole" whose ancestors were brought to the country in the 17th and 18th centuries as slaves) 10.3%
Amerindian 2.6%
Chinese 1.7%
Europeans 1%
Other 1.1%

Languages: Dutch (official), English (widely spoken), Sranang Tongo (Surinamese, sometimes called Taki-Taki, is native language of Creoles and much of the younger population and is lingua franca among others), Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese

Hindu 27.4%
Muslim 19.6%
Roman Catholic 22.8%
Protestant 25.2% (predominantly Moravian), indigenous beliefs 5%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years:
34% (male 74,959; female 71,500) (July 1996 est.)
34% (male 74,330; female 70,845) (July 1995 est.)

15-64 years:
62% (male 136,287; female 132,407) (July 1996 est.)
61% (male 133,693; female 130,153) (July 1995 est.)

65 years and over:
4% (male 9,930; female 11,335) (July 1996 est.)
5% (male 9,626; female 10,897) (July 1995 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate:
1.6% (1996 est.)
1.58% (1995 est.)

Birth rate:
24.15 births/1000 population (1996 est.)
24.72 births/1000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate:
5.84 deaths/1000 population (1996 est.)
5.91 deaths/1000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate:
-2.36 migrant(s)/1000 population (1996 est.)
-3 migrant(s)/1000 population (1995 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: deforestation as foreign producers obtain timber concessions
Current issues Natural hazards: NA
International agreements: party to_Endangered Species, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ship Pollution, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified_Biodiversity, Climate Change, Law of the Sea
International agreements note: Mostly tropical rain forest; great diversity of flora and fauna which for the most part is not threatened because of the lack of development; relatively small population most of which lives along the coast

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
All ages:
1.03 male(s)/female (1996 est.) Infant Mortality Rate:29.3 deaths/1000 live births (1996 est.)
30.2 deaths/1000 live births (1995 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 70.04 years (1996 est.); 69.76 years (1995 est.)
Male: 67.51 years (1996 est.); 67.24 years (1995 est.)
Female: 72.7 years (1996 est.); 72.41 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate:
2.68 children born/woman (1996 est.)
2.73 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: 93%
Male: 95.1%
Female: 91%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Suriname - Government 1996
top of page

Country name
Conventional long form: Republic of Suriname
Conventional short form: Suriname
Local long form: Republiek Suriname
Local short form: Suriname
Former: Netherlands Guiana, Dutch Guiana

Government type: Republic

Capital: Paramaribo

Administrative divisions: 10 districts (distrikten, singular_distrikt; Brokopondo, Commewijne, Coronie, Marowijne, Nickerie, Para, Paramaribo, Saramacca, Sipaliwini, Wanica

Dependent areas

Independence: 25 November 1975 (from Netherlands)

National holiday: Independence Day, 25 November (1975)

Constitution: Ratified 30 September 1987

Legal system: NA

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state and head of government: President Ronald R. VENETIAAN (since 16 September 1991); Prime Minister Jules R. AJODHIA (since 16 September 1991); election last held 6 September 1991 (next to be held NA May 1996); results_elected by the National Assembly_Ronald VENETIAAN (NF) 80% (645 votes), Jules WIJDENBOSCH (NDP) 14% (115 votes), Hans PRADE (DA '91) 6% (49 votes)
Cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers; appointed by the president from members of the National Assembly
Note: Commander in Chief of the National Army maintains significant power

Legislative branch: Unicameral National Assembly (Assemblee Nationale):Elections last held 25 May 1991 (next to be held NA May 1996; results_percent of vote by party NA; seats_(51 total) NF 30, NDP 10, DA '91 9, independents 2

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: ACP, Caricom, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIH, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation

Flag descriptionflag of Suriname: Five horizontal bands of green (top, double width), white, red (quadruple width), white, and green (double width; there is a large yellow five-pointed star centered in the red band

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Suriname - Economy 1996
top of page

Economy overview: The economy is dominated by the bauxite industry, which accounts for upwards of 15% of GDP and more than 65% of export earnings. Following a dismal year in 1994 which saw the value of the Surinamese currency plummet by about 80%, inflation rise to more than 600%, and national output fall for the fifth consecutive year, nearly all economic indicators improved in 1995. The VENETIAAN government unified the exchange rate and the currency gained some of its lost value. In addition, inflation fell to double digits and tax revenues increased sufficiently to nearly erase the budget deficit. The release of substantial development aid from the Netherlands_which had been held up due to the government's failure to initiate economic reforms_also helped buoy the economy. Suriname's economic prospects for the medium term will depend on continued implementation of needed economic restructuring; the outcome of the national elections in May 1996 will be an important factor in determining future government policy.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate:
0.7% (1995 est.)
-0.8% (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 21.6% of GDP and 25% of export earnings; paddy rice planted on 85% of arable land: and represents 60% of total farm output; other products_bananas, palm kernels, coconuts, plantains, peanuts, beef, chicken; shrimp and forestry products of increasing importance; self-sufficient in most foods

Bauxite mining
Alumina and aluminum production
Food processing

Industrial production growth rate: Growth rate 3.5% (1992 est.), accounts for 18% of GDP

Labor force: 98,240
By occupation industry: NA%
By occupation services: NA%
Labor force

Unemployment rate: NA

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $300 million
Expenditures: $700 million, including capital expenditures of $70 million (1994 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. $293.6 million (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
$443.3 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)

Shrimp and fish

Norway 33%
Netherlands 26%
U.S. 13%
Japan 6%
Brazil 6%
U.K. 3% (1992)

Total value:
$194.3 million (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
$520.5 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)

Capital equipment
Consumer goods

U.S. 42%
Netherlands 22%
Trinidad and Tobago 10%
Brazil 5% (1992)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $180 million (March 1993 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Surinamese guilders, gulden, or florins (Sf.) per US$1_402.32 (December 1995), 442.23 (1995), 134.12 (1994; parallel rate:412 (December 1995), 510 (December 1994), 109 (January 1994)
Note: beginning July 1994, the central bank midpoint exchange rate was unified and became market determined

Suriname - Energy 1996
top of page

Electricity access

Electricity production: 1.4 billion kWh

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 3,123 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

Suriname - Communication 1996
top of page

Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: 43,522 telephones (1992 est.); international facilities good
Local: NA
Intercity: microwave radio relay network
International: 2 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth stations

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Suriname - Military 1996
top of page

Military expenditures

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Suriname - Transportation 1996
top of page

National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 38
With paved runways over 3047 m: 1
With paved runways under 914 m: 31
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 6 (1995 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Over 3047 m: 1
Under 914 m: 31
914 to 1523 m: 6 (1995 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways





Waterways: 1,200 km; most important means of transport; oceangoing vessels with drafts ranging up to 7 m can navigate many of the principal waterways

Merchant marine
Total: 2 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,421 GRT/2,990 DWT
Ships by type: cargo 1, container 1

Ports and terminals

Suriname - Transnational issues 1996
top of page

Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: Transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the U.S. and Europe


You found a piece of the puzzle

Please click here to complete it