Costa Rica Facts

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.

Population:

4,755,234 (July 2014 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 23.5% (male 570,311/female 545,026)
15-24 years: 17.5% (male 423,340/female 407,335)
25-54 years: 43.8% (male 1,045,296/female 1,035,273)
55-64 years: 7% (male 193,205/female 201,377)
65 years and over: 6.8% (male 154,467/female 179,604) (2014 est.)

Median age:
total: 30 years
male: 29.5 years
female: 30.5 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate:
1.24% (2014 est.)

Birth rate:
16.08 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Death rate:
4.49 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Net migration rate:
0.84 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

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: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 8.7 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 9.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.86 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.23 years
male: 75.59 years
female: 81.01 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.91 children born/woman (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.3% (2012)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
9,800 (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
300 (2012 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Costa Rican(s)
adjective: Costa Rican

Ethnic groups:
white or mestizo 83.6%, mulato 6.7%, indigenous 2.4%, black of African descent 1.1%, other 1.1%, none 2.9%, unspecified 2.2% (2011 est.)

Religions:
Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%, other Protestant 0.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%

Languages:
Spanish (official), English

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96.3%
male: 96%
female: 96.5% (2011 est.)
National Flower
Guaria Morada
National Tree
Guanacaste
National Bird
Yiguirro or Clay colored thrush or robin
Climate
Tropical with two seasons; dry from December to April and rainy for the rest of the year
Electricity
110 volts
Economic Overview

Costa Rica's basically stable economy depends on tourism, agriculture, and electronics exports. Poverty has remained at roughly 20% 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. Immigration from Nicaragua has increasingly become a concern for the government. The estimated 300,000-500,000 Nicaraguans estimated to be in Costa Rica legally and illegally are an important source of (mostly unskilled) labor, but also place heavy demands on the social welfare system. Foreign investors remain attracted by the country's political stability and high education levels, and tourism continues to bring in foreign exchange. The government continues to grapple with its large internal and external deficits and sizable internal debt. Reducing inflation remains a difficult problem because of rising import prices, labor market rigidities, and fiscal deficits. The country also needs to reform its tax system and its pattern of public expenditure. The current administration has made it a priority to pass the necessary reforms to implement the US-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). CAFTA implementation would result in an improved investment climate.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$61.43 billion (2013 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$48.51 billion (2013 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
3.5% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$12,900 (2013 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 6.2%
industry: 21.3%
services: 72.5% (2013 est.)

Labor force:
2.222 million
note: this official estimate excludes Nicaraguans living in Costa Rica legally and illegally (2013 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 14%
industry: 22%
services: 64% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate:

7.9% (2013 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)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5.6% (2013 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $7.197 billion
expenditures: $9.621 billion (2013 est.)

Public debt:
55% of GDP (2013 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:
4.3% (2013 est.)
Electricity - production:

9.473 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - consumption:
8.532 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - exports:
135 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - imports:
164 million kWh (2010 est.)

Crude Oil - production:
290.7 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Oil - consumption:
44,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day

Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2004 est.)

Exports:
$11.66 billion (2013 est.)

Exports - commodities:
bananas, pineapples, coffee, melons, ornamental plants, sugar; beef; seafood; electronic components, medical equipment

Exports - partners:
US 38.9%, Netherlands 7.5%, Panama 5.1%, Hong Kong 4.6%, Nicaragua 4.4% (2012)

Imports:
$17.56 billion (2013 est.)

Imports - commodities:
raw materials, consumer goods, capital equipment, petroleum, construction materials

Imports - partners:
US 49.8%, China 8.2%, Mexico 6.6% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$7.406 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Debt - external:
$15.1 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Currency (code):
Costa Rican colon (CRC)

Fiscal year:
calendar year
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)