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The World Factbook 2002

         
  Costa Rica  
Flag of Costa Rica
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  Introduction
  Geography
  People
  Government
  Economy
  Communications
  Transportation
  Military
  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.


This page was last updated on 1 January 2002


Map of Costa Rica

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    Costa Rica
Background:
Definition Field Listing
Costa Rica is a Central American success story: since the late 19th century, only two brief periods of violence have marred its democratic development. Although still a largely agricultural country, it has expanded its economy to include strong technology and tourism sectors. The standard of living is relatively high. Land ownership is widespread.
   Geography    Costa Rica
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Middle America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua and Panama
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
10 00 N, 84 00 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Central America and the Caribbean
Area:
Definition Field Listing
total: 51,100 sq km
note: includes Isla del Coco
water: 440 sq km
land: 50,660 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly smaller than West Virginia
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 639 km
border countries: Nicaragua 309 km, Panama 330 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
1,290 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
coastal plains separated by rugged mountains
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Chirripo 3,810 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
hydropower
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 4%
permanent crops: 6%
other: 90% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
1,260 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
occasional earthquakes, hurricanes along Atlantic coast; frequent flooding of lowlands at onset of rainy season and landslides; active volcanoes
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
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
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
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
   People    Costa Rica
Population:
Definition Field Listing
3,834,934 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 30.8% (male 603,270; female 575,766)
15-64 years: 63.9% (male 1,239,618; female 1,211,641)
65 years and over: 5.3% (male 95,182; female 109,457) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.61% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing
19.83 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing
4.31 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.52 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
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: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing
10.87 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing
total population: 76.22 years
female: 78.89 years (2002 est.)
male: 73.68 years
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.42 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.54% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing
12,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing
750 (1999 est.)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Costa Rican(s)
adjective: Costa Rican
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
white (including mestizo) 94%, black 3%, Amerindian 1%, Chinese 1%, other 1%
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, other Protestant 0.7%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
Spanish (official), English spoken around Puerto Limon
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.5%
male: 95.5%
female: 95.5% (1999 est.)
   Government    Costa Rica
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Republic of Costa Rica
conventional short form: Costa Rica
local short form: Costa Rica
local long form: Republica de Costa Rica
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
democratic republic
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
San Jose
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
7 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limon, Puntarenas, San Jose
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
15 September 1821 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
7 November 1949
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on Spanish civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Abel PACHECO (since 8 May 2002); First Vice President Lineth SABORIO (since NA May 2002); Second Vice President Luis FISHMAN (since NA May 2002); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Abel PACHECO (since 8 May 2002); First Vice President Lineth SABORIO (since NA May 2002); Second Vice President Luis FISHMAN (since NA May 2002); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet selected by the president
elections: president and vice presidents elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 3 February 2002; run-off election held 7 April 2002 (next to be held NA February 2006)
election results: Abel PACHECO elected president; percent of vote - Abel PACHECO (PUSC) 58%; Rolando ARAYA (PLN) 42%
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa (57 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 3 February 2002 (next to be held 3 February 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PUSC 19, PLN 17, PAC 14, PML 6, PRC 1
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (22 justices are elected for eight-year terms by the Legislative Assembly)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Agricultural Labor Action or PALA [Carlos Alberto SOLIS Blanco]; Citizen Action Party or PAC [Otton SOLIS]; Costa Rican Renovation Party or PRC [Justo OROZCO]; Democratic Force Party or PFD [Jose M. NUNEZ]; Libertarian Movement Party or PML [Otto GUEVARA Guth]; National Christian Alliance Party or ANC [Alejandro MADRIGAL]; National Independent Party or PNI [Jorge GONZALEZ Marten]; National Integration Party or PIN [Walter MUNOZ Cespedes]; National Liberation Party or PLN [Sonia PICADO]; Social Christian Unity Party or PUSC [Luis Manuel CHACON]
note: mainly a two-party system - PUSC and PLN - until the 3 February 2002 election in which the PAC captured a significant percentage, forcing a run-off in April 2002
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
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); Federation of Public Service Workers or FTSP; National Association for Economic Development or ANFE; National Association of Educators or ANDE; Rerum Novarum or CTRN (PLN affiliate) [Gilbert Brown]
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
BCIE, CACM, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Jaime DAREMBLUM Rosenstein
chancery: 2114 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Francisco, St. Paul, and Tampa
consulate(s): Austin
FAX: [1] (202) 265-4795
telephone: [1] (202) 234-2945
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador John J. DANILOVICH
embassy: Calle 120 Avenida O, Pavas, San Jose
mailing address: APO AA 34020
telephone: [506] 220-3939
FAX: [506] 220-2305
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
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
   Economy    Costa Rica
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Costa Rica's basically stable economy depends on tourism, agriculture, and electronics exports. Poverty has been substantially reduced over the past 15 years, and a strong social safety net has been put into place. Foreign investors remain attracted by the country's political stability and high education levels, and tourism continues to bring in foreign exchange. However, traditional export sectors have not kept pace. Low coffee prices and an overabundance of bananas have hurt the agricultural sector. The government continues to grapple with its large deficit and massive internal debt and with the need to modernize the state-owned electricity and telecommunications sector.
GDP:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $31.9 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.3% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $8,500 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 11%
industry: 37%
services: 52% (2000)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
20.6% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 1.7%
highest 10%: 34.6% (2001)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
45.9 (1997)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing
12.1% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing
1.9 million (1999)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 20%, industry 22%, services 58% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing
5.2% (2000 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $1.91 billion
expenditures: $2.35 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
microprocessors, food processing, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
-2.1% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing
6.887 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 1.15%
hydro: 82.56%
other: 16.29% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
5.895 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
532 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
22 million kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
coffee, pineapples, bananas, sugar, corn, rice, beans, potatoes; beef; timber
Exports:
Definition Field Listing
$5 billion (2001)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
coffee, bananas, sugar; pineapples; textiles, electronic components, medical equipment
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 51.8%, EU 20%, Central America 10.6%, Puerto Rico 2.8%, Mexico 1.7% (2000)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing
$6.5 billion (2001)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
raw materials, consumer goods, capital equipment, petroleum
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 53.2%, EU 10.3%, Mexico 6.2%, Venezuela 5.3%, Central America 4.9% (2000)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing
$4.6 billion (2001 est.)
Currency:
Definition Field Listing
Costa Rican colon (CRC)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
CRC
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Costa Rican colones per US dollar - 343.08 (January 2002), 328.87 (2001), 308.19 (2000), 285.68 (1999), 257.23 (1998), 232.60 (1997)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Costa Rica
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing
450,000 (1998)
note: 584,000 installed in 1997, but only about 450,000 were in use in 1998
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing
143,000 (2000)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: very good domestic telephone service
domestic: point-to-point and point-to-multi-point microwave, fiber-optic, and coaxial cable link rural areas; Internet service is available
international: connected to Central American Microwave System; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); two submarine cables (1999)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 50, FM 43, shortwave 19 (1998)
Radios:
Definition Field Listing
980,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
6 (plus 11 repeaters) (1997)
Televisions:
Definition Field Listing
525,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.cr
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
3 (of which only one is legal) (2000)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing
250,000 (2001)
   Transportation    Costa Rica
Railways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 950 km
narrow gauge: 950 km 1.067-m gauge (260 km electrified) (2000 est.)
Highways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 37,273 km
paved: 7,827 km
unpaved: 29,446 km (1998 est.)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing
730 km (seasonally navigable)
Pipelines:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum products 176 km
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Caldera, Golfito, Moin, Puerto Limon, Puerto Quepos, Puntarenas
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,716 GRT/NA DWT
ships by type: passenger 1 (2002 est.)
Airports:
Definition Field Listing
152 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 29
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 19
under 914 m: 7 (2001)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 123
914 to 1,523 m: 28
under 914 m: 95 (2001)
   Military    Costa Rica
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
no regular indigenous military forces; Air Section, Ministry of Public Forces (Fuerza Publica)
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 1,058,283 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 707,927 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 39,411 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing
$69 million (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing
1.6% (FY99)
   Transnational Issues    Costa Rica
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
legal dispute over navigational rights of Rio San Juan on border with Nicaragua
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
transshipment country for cocaine and heroin from South America; illicit production of cannabis on small, scattered plots; domestic cocaine consumption is rising, particularly crack cocaine

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002


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