Nicaragua Population: 6,085,213

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The Pacific coast of Nicaragua was settled as a Spanish colony from Panama in the early 16th century. Independence from Spain was declared in 1821 and the country became an independent republic in 1838. Britain occupied the Caribbean Coast in the first half of the 19th century, but gradually ceded control of the region in subsequent decades. 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 led by Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra to power in 1979. Nicaraguan aid to leftist rebels in El Salvador prompted the US to sponsor anti-Sandinista contra guerrillas through much of the 1980s. After losing free and fair elections in 1990, 1996, and 2001, former Sandinista President Daniel ORTEGA was elected president in 2006, 2011, and most recently in 2016. Municipal, regional, and national-level elections since 2008 have been marred by widespread irregularities. Democratic institutions have weakened under the ORTEGA administration as the president has garnered full control over all branches of government, especially after cracking down on a nationwide antigovernment protest movement in 2018.

    Largest country in Central America; contains the largest freshwater body in Central America, Lago de Nicaragua
Location: Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Costa Rica and Honduras
Geographic coordinates: 13 00 N, 85 00 W
Area: total: 130,370 sq km
land: 119,990 sq km
water: 10,380 sq km

Size comparison: slightly larger than Pennsylvania; slightly smaller than New York state
Land Boundaries: total: 1,253 km border countries (2): Costa Rica 313 km, Honduras 940 km
Coastline: 910 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: natural prolongation
Climate: tropical in lowlands, cooler in highlands
Terrain: extensive Atlantic coastal plains rising to central interior mountains; narrow Pacific coastal plain interrupted by volcanoes
Natural resources: gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, timber, fish
Land use: agricultural land: 42.2% (2011 est.) arable land: 12.5% (2011 est.)
permanent crops: 2.5% (2011 est.) permanent pasture: 27.2% (2011 est.) forest: 25.3% (2011 est.)
other: 32.5% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 1,990 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: destructive earthquakes; volcanoes; landslides; extremely susceptible to hurricanes volcanism: significant volcanic activity; Cerro Negro (728 m), which last erupted in 1999, is one of Nicaragua's most active volcanoes; its lava flows and ash have been known to cause significant damage to farmland and buildings; other historically active volcanoes include Concepcion, Cosiguina, Las Pilas, Masaya, Momotombo, San Cristobal, and Telica
Current Environment Issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution; drought
International Environment Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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Nationality: noun: Nicaraguan(s)
adjective: Nicaraguan
Ethnic groups: mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 69%, white 17%, black 9%, Amerindian 5%
Languages: Spanish (official) 95.3%, Miskito 2.2%, Mestizo of the Caribbean coast 2%, other 0.5% (2005 est.) note: English and indigenous languages found on the Caribbean coast
Religions: Roman Catholic 50%, Evangelical 33.2%, other 2.9%, unspecified 13.2%, none 0.7% (2017 est.)
Population: 6,085,213 (July 2018 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 26.65% (male 827,585 /female 794,086)
15-24 years: 20.67% (male 632,847 /female 624,811)
25-54 years: 41.04% (male 1,186,467 /female 1,310,957)
55-64 years: 6.19% (male 173,674 /female 202,765)
65 years and over: 5.46% (male 147,324 /female 184,697) (2018 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 54.1 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 46.3 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 7.8 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 12.8 (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 26.2 years
male: 25.3 years
female: 27.1 years (2018 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.97% (2018 est.)
Birth rate: 17.5 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate: 5.2 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 58.5% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: 1.45% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population: 1.048 million MANAGUA (capital) (2018)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.86 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2018 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth: 19.2 years (2011/12 est.) note: median age at first birth among women 25-29
Maternal mortality rate: 150 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 17.7 deaths/1,000 live births male: 20.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 15 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 73.7 years male: 71.5 years
female: 76.1 years (2018 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.87 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 80.4% (2011/12)
Physicians density: 1.01 physicians/1,000 population (2018)
Hospital bed density: 0.9 beds/1,000 population (2014)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 99.3% of population
rural: 69.4% of population
total: 87% of population

urban: 0.7% of population
rural: 30.6% of population
total: 13% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 76.5% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 55.7% of population (2015 est.)
total: 67.9% of population (2015 est.)

urban: 23.5% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 44.3% of population (2015 est.)
total: 32.1% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.2% (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 9,000 (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: <500 (2017 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 23.7% (2016)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 4.6% (2012)
Education expenditures: 4.3% of GDP (2017)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)
total population: 82.8%
male: 82.4%
female: 83.2% (2015 est.) Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 8.5% male: 6.4% female: 12.9% (2014 est.)
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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
etymology: Nicarao was the name of the largest indigenous settlement at the time of Spanish arrival; conquistador Gil GONZALEZ Davila, who explored the area (1622-23), combined the name of the community with the Spanish word "agua" (water), referring to the two large lakes in the west of the country (Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua)
Government type: presidential republic
Capital: name: Managua
geographic coordinates: 12 08 N, 86 15 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: may derive from the indigenous Nahuatl term "mana-ahuac," which translates as "adjacent to the water" or a site "surrounded by water"; the city is situated on the southwestern shore of Lake Managua
Administrative divisions: 15 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 2 autonomous regions* (regiones autonomistas, singular - region autonoma); Boaco, Carazo, Chinandega, Chontales, Costa Caribe Norte*, Costa Caribe Sur*, Esteli, Granada, Jinotega, Leon, Madriz, Managua, Masaya, Matagalpa, Nueva Segovia, Rio San Juan, Rivas
Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
National holiday: Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
Constitution: history: several previous; latest adopted 19 November 1986, effective 9 January 1987 amendments: proposed by the president of the republic or supported by at least half the National Assembly membership; passage requires approval by 60% of the membership of the next elected Assembly and promulgation by the president of the republic; amended several times, last in 2014 (2018)
Legal system: civil law system; Supreme Court may review administrative acts
Suffrage: 16 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Jose Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra (since 10 January 2007); Vice President Rosario MURILLO Zambrana (since 10 January 2017); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Jose Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra (since 10 January 2007); Vice President Rosario MURILLO Zambrana (since 10 January 2017)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on the same ballot by simple majority popular vote for a 5-year term (no term limits as of 2014); election last held on 6 November 2016 (next to be held by November 2021)

election results: Jose Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra reelected president; percent of vote - Jose Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra (FSLN) 72.4%, Maximino RODRIGUEZ (PLC) 15%, Jose del Carmen ALVARADO (PLI) 4.5%, Saturnino CERRATO Hodgson (ALN) 4.3%, other 3.7%
Legislative branch: description: unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (92 seats; 70 members in multi-seat constituencies and 20 members in a single nationwide constituency directly elected by proportional representation vote; 2 seats reserved for the previous president and the runner-up candidate in the previous presidential election; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 6 November 2016 (next to be held by November 2021)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FSLN 71, PLC 14, ALN 2, PLI 2, APRE 1, PC 1, YATAMA 1; composition - men 50, women 42, percent of women 45.7%
Judicial branch: highest courts: Supreme Court or Corte Suprema de Justicia (consists of 16 judges organized into administrative, civil, criminal, and constitutional chambers) judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges elected by the National Assembly to serve 5-year staggered terms

subordinate courts: Appeals Court; first instance civil, criminal, and labor courts; military courts are independent of the Supreme Court
Political parties and leaders: Alliance for the Republic or APRE [Carlos CANALES] Conservative Party or PC [Alfredo CESAR] Independent Liberal Party or PLI [Jose del Carmen ALVARADO] Liberal Constitutionalist Party or PLC [Maria Haydee OSUNA] Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance or ALN [Alejandro MEJIA Ferreti] Sandinista National Liberation Front or FSLN [Jose Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra] Sandinista Renovation Movement or MRS [Suyen BARAHONA] Sons of Mother Earth or YATAMA [Brooklyn RIVERA]
International organization participation: BCIE, CACM, CD, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, Petrocaribe, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National symbol(s): turquoise-browed motmot (bird);
national colors: blue, white
National anthem: name: "Salve a ti, Nicaragua" (Hail to Thee, Nicaragua)
lyrics/music: Salomon Ibarra MAYORGA/traditional, arranged by Luis Abraham DELGADILLO

note: although only officially adopted in 1971, the music was approved in 1918 and the lyrics in 1939; the tune, originally from Spain, was used as an anthem for Nicaragua from the 1830s until 1876
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Francisco Obadiah CAMPBELL Hooker (since 28 June 2010)
chancery: 1627 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 939-6570, 6573
FAX: [1] (202) 939-6545
consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Kevin K. SULLIVAN (since 18 December 2018)
embassy: Kilometer 5.5 Carretera Sur, Managua
mailing address: American Embassy Managua, APO AA 34021
telephone: [505] 2252-7100, 2252-7888; 2252-7100 or 8767-7100 (after hours)
FAX: [505] 2252-7250
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Nicaragua, the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest in the Western Hemisphere, has widespread underemployment and poverty. GDP growth of 4.5% in 2017 was insufficient to make a significant difference. Textiles and agriculture combined account for nearly 50% of Nicaragua's exports. Beef, coffee, and gold are Nicaragua’s top three export commodities. The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement has been in effect since April 2006 and has expanded export opportunities for many Nicaraguan agricultural and manufactured goods. In 2013, the government granted a 50-year concession with the option for an additional 50 years to a newly formed Chinese-run company to finance and build an inter-oceanic canal and related projects, at an estimated cost of $50 billion. The canal construction has not started.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $36.4 billion (2017 est.) $34.71 billion (2016 est.) $33.17 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): $13.81 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.9% (2017 est.) 4.7% (2016 est.) 4.8% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $5,900 (2017 est.) $5,600 (2016 est.) $5,500 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving: 24% of GDP (2017 est.) 23.2% of GDP (2016 est.) 23.6% of GDP (2015 est.) GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 69.9% (2017 est.) government consumption: 15.3% (2017 est.) investment in fixed capital: 28.1% (2017 est.) investment in inventories: 1.7% (2017 est.) exports of goods and services: 41.2% (2017 est.) imports of goods and services: -55.4% (2017 est.) GDP - composition, by sector of origin: agriculture: 15.5% (2017 est.) industry: 24.4% (2017 est.) services: 60% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products: coffee, bananas, sugarcane, rice, corn, tobacco, cotton, sesame, soya, beans, beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products, shrimp, lobsters, peanuts
Industries: food processing, chemicals, machinery and metal products, knit and woven apparel, petroleum refining and distribution, beverages, footwear, wood, electric wire harness manufacturing, mining
Industrial production growth rate: 3.5% (2017 est.)
Labor force: 3.046 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 31%
industry: 18%
services: 50% (2011 est.)
Unemployment rate: 6.4% (2017 est.) 6.2% (2016 est.) note: underemployment was 46.5% in 2008
Population below poverty line: 29.6% (2015 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.8%
highest 10%: 47.1% (2014)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 47.1 (2014) 45.8 (2009)
Budget: revenues: 3.871 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 4.15 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 28% (of GDP) (2017 est.) Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): -2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt: 33.3% of GDP (2017 est.) 31.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: official data; data cover general government debt and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by Government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities, as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as retirement, medical care, and unemployment, debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions; Nicaragua rebased its GDP figures in 2012, which reduced the figures for debt as a percentage of GDP
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.9% (2017 est.) 3.5% (2016 est.)
Current account balance: -$694 million (2017 est.) -$989 million (2016 est.)
Exports: $3.819 billion (2017 est.) $3.772 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities: coffee, beef, gold, sugar, peanuts, shrimp and lobster, tobacco, cigars, automobile wiring harnesses, textiles, apparel
Exports - partners: US 44.2%, El Salvador 6.4%, Venezuela 5.5%, Costa Rica 5.5% (2017)
Imports: $6.613 billion (2017 est.) $6.384 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities: consumer goods, machinery and equipment, raw materials, petroleum products
Imports - partners: US 20.8%, China 14.3%, Mexico 11.1%, Costa Rica 7.9%, Guatemala 7%, El Salvador 5.6% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $2.758 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $2.448 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external: $11.31 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $10.87 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $1.568 billion (31 December 2016) $1.209 billion (31 December 2015) $995 million (31 December 2014)
Exchange rates: cordobas (NIO) per US dollar - 30.11 (2017 est.) 28.678 (2016 est.) 28.678 (2015 est.) 27.257 (2014 est.) 26.01 (2013 est.)
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Electricity - production: 4.454 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 3.59 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports: 17.87 million kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports: 205 million kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 1.551 million kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 56% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 9% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 35% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 16,180 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 14,720 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 37,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 460 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 20,120 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2015 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 5.405 million Mt (2017 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total subscriptions: 8,179,876
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 136 (2017 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: system being upgraded by foreign investment; nearly all installed telecommunications capacity now uses digital technology, owing to investments since privatization of the formerly state-owned telecommunications company; lowest fixed-line teledensity and mobile penetration in Central America; a Russian state corporation is operating in the area; LTE service in 60 towns and cities (2018)

domestic: since privatization, access to fixed-line and mobile-cellular services has improved; fixed-line teledensity roughly 6 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone subscribership has increased to 136 per 100 persons (2018)

international: country code - 505; the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) fiber-optic submarine cable provides connectivity to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth stations - 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region) and 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Broadcast media: multiple terrestrial TV stations, supplemented by cable TV in most urban areas; nearly all are government-owned or affiliated; more than 300 radio stations, both government-affiliated and privately owned (2019)
Internet country code: .ni
Internet users: total: 1,466,152
percent of population: 24.6% (July 2016 est.)
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Airports: 147 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 12
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2017)
under 914 m: 4 (2017)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 135
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 15 (2013)
under 914 m: 119 (2013)
Pipelines: 54 km oil (2013)
Roadways: total 23,897 km
(2014) paved: 3,346 km (2014)
unpaved: 20,551 km (2014)
Waterways: 2,220 km (navigable waterways as well as the use of the large Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua; rivers serve only the sparsely populated eastern part of the country) (2011)
Merchant marine: total 5

by type: general cargo 1, oil tanker 1, other 3 (2018)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Bluefields, Corinto
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Military branches: National Army of Nicaragua (Ejercito Nacional de Nicaragua, ENN; includes Navy, Air Force) (2019)
Military service age and obligation: 18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; tour of duty 18-36 months; requires Nicaraguan nationality and 6th-grade education (2012)
Military expenditures: 0.61% of GDP (2017) 0.55% of GDP (2016) 0.78% of GDP (2015) 0.69% of GDP (2014) 0.68% of GDP (2013)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: the 1992 ICJ ruling for El Salvador and Honduras advised a tripartite resolution to establish a maritime boundary in the Gulf of Fonseca, which considers Honduran access to the Pacific; Nicaragua and Costa Rica regularly file border dispute cases over the delimitations of the San Juan River and the northern tip of Calero Island to the ICJ; there is an ongoing case in the ICJ to determine Pacific and Atlantic ocean maritime borders as well as land borders; in 2009, the ICJ ruled that Costa Rican vessels carrying out police activities could not use the river, but official Costa Rican vessels providing essential services to riverside inhabitants and Costa Rican tourists could travel freely on the river; in 2011, the ICJ provisionally ruled that both countries must remove personnel from the disputed area; in 2013, the ICJ rejected Nicaragua's 2012 suit to halt Costa Rica's construction of a highway paralleling the river on the grounds of irreparable environmental damage; in 2013, the ICJ, regarding the disputed territory, ordered that Nicaragua should refrain from dredging or canal construction and refill and repair damage caused by trenches connecting the river to the Caribbean and upheld its 2010 ruling that Nicaragua must remove all personnel; in early 2014, Costa Rica brought Nicaragua to the ICJ over offshore oil concessions in the disputed region; Nicaragua filed a case against Colombia in 2013 over the delimitation of the Continental shelf beyond the 200 nautical miles from the Nicaraguan coast, as well as over the alleged violation by Colombia of Nicaraguan maritime space in the Caribbean Sea
Illicit drugs: transshipment point for cocaine destined for the US and transshipment point for arms-for-drugs dealing
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   Source: CIA - The World Factbook


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