Costa Rica Population: 4,695,942

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Although explored by the Spanish early in the 16th century, initial attempts at colonizing Costa Rica proved unsuccessful due to a combination of factors, including disease from mosquito-infested swamps, brutal heat, resistance by natives, and pirate raids. It was not until 1563 that a permanent settlement of Cartago was established in the cooler, fertile central highlands. The area remained a colony for some two and a half centuries. In 1821, Costa Rica became one of several Central American provinces that jointly declared their independence from Spain. Two years later it joined the United Provinces of Central America, but this federation disintegrated in 1838, at which time Costa Rica proclaimed its sovereignty and independence. Since the late 19th century, only two brief periods of violence have marred the country's democratic development. In 1949, Costa Rica dissolved its armed forces. Although it still maintains a large agricultural sector, Costa Rica has expanded its economy to include strong technology and tourism industries. The standard of living is relatively high. Land ownership is widespread.

Four volcanoes, two of them active, rise near the capital of San Jose in the center of the country; one of the volcanoes, Irazu, erupted destructively in 1963-65
Location: Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua and Panama
Geographic coordinates: 10 00 N, 84 00 W
Area: total: 51,100 sq km
land: 51,060 sq km
water: 40 sq km

note: includes Isla del Coco

Size comparison: slightly smaller than West Virginia
Land Boundaries: total: 639 km
border countries: Nicaragua 309 km, Panama 330 km
Coastline: 1,290 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
Climate: tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands
Terrain: coastal plains separated by rugged mountains including over 100 volcanic cones, of which several are major volcanoes
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Chirripo 3,810 m
Natural resources: hydropower
Land use: arable land: 4.89%
permanent crops: 6.46%
other: 88.65% (2011)
Irrigated land: 1,031 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards: occasional earthquakes, hurricanes along Atlantic coast; frequent flooding of lowlands at onset of rainy season and landslides; active volcanoes volcanism: Arenal (elev. 1,670 m), which erupted in 2010, is the most active volcano in Costa Rica; a 1968 eruption destroyed the town of Tabacon; Irazu (elev. 3,432 m), situated just east of San Jose, has the potential to spew ash over the capital city as it did between 1963 and 1965; other historically active volcanoes include Miravalles, Poas, Rincon de la Vieja, and Turrialba
Current Environment Issues: deforestation and land use change, largely a result of the clearing of land for cattle ranching and agriculture; soil erosion; coastal marine pollution; fisheries protection; solid waste management; air pollution
International Environment Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
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Nationality: noun: Costa Rican(s)
adjective: Costa Rican
Ethnic groups: white (including mestizo) 94%, black 3%, Amerindian 1%, Chinese 1%, other 1%
Languages: Spanish (official), English
Religions: Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%, other Protestant 0.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%
Population: 4,695,942 (July 2013 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 23.8% (male 571,383/female 546,152)
15-24 years: 17.8% (male 427,047/female 411,110)
25-54 years: 43.6% (male 1,027,179/female 1,018,358)
55-64 years: 8% (male 184,292/female 191,396)
65 years and over: 6.8% (male 147,615/female 171,410) (2013 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 44 %
youth dependency ratio: 33.9 %
elderly dependency ratio: 10.1 %
potential support ratio: 9.9 (2013)
Median age: total: 29.6 years
male: 29.1 years
female: 30 years (2013 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.27% (2013 est.)
Birth rate: 16.25 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Death rate: 4.44 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.85 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 64% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 2.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: SAN JOSE (capital) 1.515 million (2011)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 40 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Infant mortality rate: total: 8.95 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 9.76 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.09 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 78.06 years
male: 75.43 years
female: 80.83 years (2013 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.91 children born/woman (2013 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 82.2% (2010)
Health expenditures: 10.9% of GDP (2010)
Physicians density: 1.32 physicians/1,000 population (2000)
Hospital bed density: 1.2 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 91% of population
total: 97% of population

urban: 0% of population
rural: 9% of population
total: 3% of population (2010 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 95% of population
rural: 96% of population
total: 95% of population

urban: 5% of population
rural: 4% of population
total: 5% of population (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.3% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 9,800 (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: fewer than 500 (2009 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 23.7% (2008)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 1.1% (2009)
Education expenditures: 6.3% of GDP (2009)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96.3%
male: 96%
female: 96.5% (2011 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 14 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2011)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 16.6%
male: 13.5%
female: 21.6% (2011)
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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: name: San Jose
geographic coordinates: 9 56 N, 84 05 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 7 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limon, Puntarenas, San Jose
Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
National holiday: Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
Constitution: 7 November 1949
Legal system: civil law system based on Spanish civil code; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch: chief of state: President Laura CHINCHILLA Miranda (since 8 May 2010); First Vice President Alfio PIVA Mesen (since 8 May 2010); Second Vice President Luis LIBERMAN Ginsburg (since 8 May 2010); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Laura CHINCHILLA Miranda (since 8 May 2010); First Vice President Alfio PIVA Mesen (since 8 May 2010); Second Vice President Luis LIBERMAN Ginsburg (since 8 May 2010)

cabinet: Cabinet selected by the president (For more information visit the World Leaders website )

elections: president and vice presidents elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a single four-year term; election last held on 7 February 2010 (next to be held in February 2014)

election results: Laura CHINCHILLA Miranda elected president; percent of vote - Laura CHINCHILLA Miranda (PLN) 46.7%; Otton SOLIS (PAC) 25.1%, Otto GUEVARA Guth (ML) 20.8%, other 7.4%
Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa (57 seats; members elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)

elections: last held on 7 February 2010 (next to be held in February 2014)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLN 24, PAC 11, ML 9, PUSC 6, PASE 4, other 3
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of 22 judges organized into 3 cassation chambers each with 5 judges, and the Constitutional Chamber with 7 judges) judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court of Justice judges elected by the National Assembly for 8-year terms with renewal decided by the National Assembly

subordinate courts: appellate courts; first instance and justice of the peace courts; Superior Electoral Tribunal
Political parties and leaders: Accessibility Without Exclusion or PASE [Oscar Andres LOPEZ Arias] Citizen Action Party or PAC [Elizabeth FONSECA] Costa Rican Renovation Party or PRC [Gerardo Justo OROZCO Alvarez] Broad Front (Frente Amplio) or PFA [Jose MERINO del Rio] Libertarian Movement Party or ML [Otto GUEVARA Guth] National Integration Party or PIN [Walter MUNOZ Cespedes] National Liberation Party or PLN [Bernal JIMENEZ] National Restoration Party or PRN Patriotic Alliance [Mariano FIGUERES Olsen] Popular Vanguard [Trino BARRANTES Araya] Social Christian Unity Party or PUSC [Gerardo VARGAS]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Authentic Confederation of Democratic Workers or CATD (Communist Party affiliate) Chamber of Coffee Growers Confederated Union of Workers or CUT (Communist Party affiliate) Costa Rican Confederation of Democratic Workers or CCTD (Liberation Party affiliate) Costa Rican Exporter's Chamber or CADEXCO Costa Rican Solidarity Movement Costa Rican Union of Private Sector Enterprises or UCCAEP Federation of Public Service Workers or FTSP National Association for Economic Development or ANFE National Association of Educators or ANDE National Association of Public and Private Employees or ANEP Rerum Novarum or CTRN (PLN affiliate)
International organization participation: BCIE, CACM, CD, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National symbol(s): clay-colored robin known as Yiguirro
National anthem: name: "Himno Nacional de Costa Rica" (National Anthem of Costa Rica)
lyrics/music: Jose Maria ZELEDON Brenes/Manuel Maria GUTIERREZ

note: adopted 1949; the anthem's music was originally written for an 1853 welcome ceremony for diplomatic missions from the United States and United Kingdom; the lyrics were added in 1903
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Shanon Muni FIGUERES Boggs
chancery: 2114 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 480-2200
FAX: [1] (202) 265-4795
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York consulate(s): Austin
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Anne Slaughter ANDREW
embassy: Calle 120 Avenida O, Pavas, San Jose
mailing address: APO AA 34020
telephone: [506] 2519-2000
FAX: [506] 2519-2305
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Prior to the global economic crisis, Costa Rica enjoyed stable economic growth. The economy contracted 1.3% in 2009 but resumed growth at about 4.5% per year in 2010-12. While the traditional agricultural exports of bananas, coffee, sugar, and beef are still the backbone of commodity export trade, a variety of industrial and specialized agricultural products have broadened export trade in recent years. High value-added goods and services, including microchips, have further bolstered exports. Tourism continues to bring in foreign exchange, as Costa Rica's impressive biodiversity makes it a key destination for ecotourism. Foreign investors remain attracted by the country's political stability and relatively high education levels, as well as the incentives offered in the free-trade zones; and Costa Rica has attracted one of the highest levels of foreign direct investment per capita in Latin America. However, many business impediments remain, such as high levels of bureaucracy, legal uncertainty due to overlapping and at times conflicting responsibilities between agencies, difficulty of enforcing contracts, and weak investor protection. Poverty has remained around 20-25% for nearly 20 years, and the strong social safety net that had been put into place by the government has eroded due to increased financial constraints on government expenditures. Unlike the rest of Central America, Costa Rica is not highly dependent on remittances as they only represent about 2% of GDP. Immigration from Nicaragua has increasingly become a concern for the government. The estimated 300,000-500,000 Nicaraguans in Costa Rica legally and illegally are an important source of mostly unskilled labor but also place heavy demands on the social welfare system. The US-Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) entered into force on 1 January 2009 after significant delays within the Costa Rican legislature. CAFTA-DR has increased foreign direct investment in key sectors of the economy, including the insurance and telecommunications sectors recently opened to private investors. President CHINCHILLA was not able to gain legislative approval for fiscal reform, her top priority, though she continued to pursue fiscal reform in 2012. President CHINCHILLA and the PLN were successful in passing a tax on corporations to fund an increase for security services.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $59.79 billion (2012 est.) $56.94 billion (2011 est.) $54.65 billion (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $45.13 billion (2012 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 5% (2012 est.) 4.2% (2011 est.) 4.7% (2010 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $12,800 (2012 est.) $12,300 (2011 est.) $12,000 (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars
Gross national saving: 15.7% of GDP (2012 est.) 16.3% of GDP (2011 est.) 17.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 65.1%
government consumption: 17.9%
investment in fixed capital: 20.2%
investment in inventories: 1%
exports of goods and services: 37.7%
imports of goods and services: -41.8% (2012 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 65.1%
government consumption: 17.9%
investment in fixed capital: 20.2%
investment in inventories: 1%
exports of goods and services: 37.7%
imports of goods and services: -41.8% (2012 est.)
Agriculture - products: bananas, pineapples, coffee, melons, ornamental plants, sugar, corn, rice, beans, potatoes; beef, poultry, dairy; timber
Industries: microprocessors, food processing, medical equipment, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products
Industrial production growth rate: 6% (2012 est.)
Labor force: 2.182 million note: this official estimate excludes Nicaraguans living in Costa Rica (2012 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 14%
industry: 22%
services: 64% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate: 7.8% (2012 est.) 6.5% (2011 est.)
Population below poverty line: 24.8% (2011 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.2%
highest 10%: 39.5% (2009 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 50.3 (2009) 45.9 (1997)
Budget: revenues: $6.506 billion
expenditures: $8.501 billion (2012 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 14.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
Public debt: 51.9% of GDP (2012 est.) 46.5% of GDP (2011 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.5% (2012 est.) 4.9% (2011 est.)
Current account balance: -$2.556 billion (2012 est.) -$2.2 billion (2011 est.)
Exports: $11.44 billion (2012 est.) $10.38 billion (2011 est.)
Exports - commodities: bananas, pineapples, coffee, melons, ornamental plants, sugar; beef; seafood; electronic components, medical equipment
Exports - partners: US 30.7%, China 13.2%, Netherlands 10.4%, UK 9%, Mexico 9% (2012)
Imports: $16.75 billion (2012 est.) $15.53 billion (2011 est.)
Imports - commodities: raw materials, consumer goods, capital equipment, petroleum, construction materials
Imports - partners: US 46.2%, Mexico 6.4%, Japan 6.1%, China 5.8% (2012)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $6.857 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $4.756 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Debt - external: $13.8 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $10.29 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $18.61 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $16.34 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $1.131 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $704.3 million (31 December 2011 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $1.443 billion (31 December 2011) $1.445 billion (31 December 2010) $1.452 billion (31 December 2009)
Exchange rates: Costa Rican colones (CRC) per US dollar - 502.9 (2012 est.) 505.66 (2011 est.) 525.83 (2010 est.) 573.29 (2009) 530.41 (2008)
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Electricity - production: 9.47 billion kWh (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 95
Electricity - consumption: 8.53 billion kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity - exports: 38 million kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity - imports: 62 million kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 2.49 million kW (2009 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 24.8% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 61.5% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 13.7% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 7,361 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 12,090 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 50,200 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 737.1 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 39,200 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2012 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 6.411 million Mt (2010 est.)
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Telephones in use: 1.234 million (2011)
country comparison to the world: 68
Cellular Phones in use: 4.358 million (2011)
Telephone system: general assessment: good domestic telephone service in terms of breadth of coverage; under the terms of CAFTA-DR, the state-run telecommunications monopoly is scheduled to be opened to competition from domestic and international firms, but has been slow to open to competition

domestic: point-to-point and point-to-multi-point microwave, fiber-optic, and coaxial cable link rural areas; Internet service is available

international: country code - 506; landing points for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1), MAYA-1, and the Pan American Crossing submarine cables that provide links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; connected to Central American Microwave System; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2011)
Broadcast media: multiple privately owned TV stations and 1 publicly owned TV station; cable network services are widely available; more than 100 privately owned radio stations and a public radio network (2007)
Internet country code: .cr
Internet hosts: 147,258 (2012)
Internet users: 1.485 million (2009)
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Airports: 161 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 35
Airports (paved runways): total 47

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 27
under 914 m: 16 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 114

914 to 1,523 m: 18
under 914 m: 96 (2013)
Pipelines: refined products 662 km (2013)
Railways: total 278 km

narrow gauge: 278 km 1.067-m gauge

note: none of the railway network is in use (2008)
Roadways: total 39,018 km
paved: 10,133 km
unpaved: 28,885 km (2010)
Waterways: 730 km (seasonally navigable by small craft) (2011)
Merchant marine: total 1

by type: passenger/cargo 1 (2010)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean) Puerto Limon; Pacific Ocean - Caldera
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Military branches: no regular military forces; Ministry of Public Security, Government, and Police (2011)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 1,255,798
females age 16-49: 1,230,202 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 1,058,419
females age 16-49: 1,037,053 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 42,201
female: 40,444 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures: 0.8% of GDP note: includes public security and police expenditures (2012)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: the ICJ had given Costa Rica until January 2008 to reply and Nicaragua until July 2008 to rejoin before rendering its decision on the navigation, security, and commercial rights of Costa Rican vessels on the Rio San Juan over which Nicaragua retains sovereignty
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 10,305 (Colombia) (2012)
Illicit drugs: transshipment country for cocaine and heroin from South America; illicit production of cannabis in remote areas; domestic cocaine consumption, particularly crack cocaine, is rising; significant consumption of amphetamines; seizures of smuggled cash in Costa Rica and at the main border crossing to enter Costa Rica from Nicaragua have risen in recent years (2008)
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   Source: CIA - The World Factbook


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