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  Introduction
  Geography
  People
  Government
  Economy
  Communications
  Transportation
  Military
  Transnational Issues

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Map of Costa Rica

DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   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.

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   Geography    Costa Rica
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Central 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 Rank Order
total: 51,100 sq km
land: 50,660 sq km
water: 440 sq km
note: includes Isla del Coco
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
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 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 including over 100 volcanic cones, of which several are major volcanoes
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: 4.41%
permanent crops: 5.88%
other: 89.71% (2001)
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, 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
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

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   People    Costa Rica
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,956,507 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 29.5% (male 597,332; female 570,008)
15-64 years: 65% (male 1,300,206; female 1,271,010)
65 years and over: 5.5% (male 101,270; female 116,681) (2004 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 25.7 years
male: 25.2 years
female: 26.2 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.52% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18.99 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.32 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.51 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 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 (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 10.26 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 11.17 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 9.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 76.63 years
male: 74.07 years
female: 79.33 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.33 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.6% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
900 (2003 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%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%, other Protestant 0.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
Spanish (official), English
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96%
male: 95.9%
female: 96.1% (2003 est.)

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   Government    Costa Rica
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
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:
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, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, 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, UPU, WCL, WCO, 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
telephone: [1] (202) 234-2945
FAX: [1] (202) 265-4795
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Durham (North Carolina), Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Francisco, St. Paul, and Tampa
consulate(s): Austin
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 elliptical disk on the hoist side of the red band; above the coat of arms a light blue ribbon contains the words, AMERICA CENTRAL, and just below it near the top of the coat of arms is a white ribbon with the words, REPUBLICA COSTA RICA

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   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. Low prices for coffee and bananas have hurt the agricultural sector. The government continues to grapple with its large deficit and massive internal debt. The reduction of inflation remains a difficult problem because of rises in the price of imports, labor market rigidities, and fiscal deficits. Costa Rica recently concluded negotiations to participate in the US - Central American Free Trade Agreement, which, if ratified by the Costa Rican Legislature, would result in economic reforms and an improved investment climate.
GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $35.34 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.6% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $9,100 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 8.5%
industry: 29.4%
services: 62.1% (2003 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
20.2% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
20.6% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 1.1%
highest 10%: 36.8% (2002)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
45.9 (1997)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.4% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.758 million (2003)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 20%, industry 22%, services 58% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.7% (2003 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $2.313 billion
expenditures: $2.851 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2003 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
56.1% of GDP (2003)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
coffee, pineapples, bananas, sugar, corn, rice, beans, potatoes; beef; timber
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
microprocessors, food processing, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.839 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.109 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
379 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
128 million kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
37,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-970 million (2003)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$6.176 billion (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
coffee, bananas, sugar; pineapples; textiles, electronic components, medical equipment
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 25%, Netherlands 6.8%, UK 5%, Mexico 4.5% (2003 est.)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$7.057 billion (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
raw materials, consumer goods, capital equipment, petroleum
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 33.4%, Japan 4.2%, Mexico 3.5% (2003 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.836 billion (2003)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$5.366 billion (2003 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 - 398.663 (2003), 359.817 (2002), 328.871 (2001), 308.187 (2000), 285.685 (1999)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year

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   Communications    Costa Rica
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.132 million (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
528,047 (2002)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: good domestic telephone service in terms of breadth of coverage; restricted cellular 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: country code - 506; connected to Central American Microwave System; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); two submarine cables (1999)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 65, FM 51, shortwave 19 (2002)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
20 (plus 43 repeaters) (2002)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.cr
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10,826 (2003)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
800,000 (2002)

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   Transportation    Costa Rica
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 950 km
narrow gauge: 950 km 1.067-m gauge (260 km electrified) (2003)
Highways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 35,892 km
paved: 7,896 km
unpaved: 27,996 km (2000)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing
730 km (seasonally navigable by small craft) (2004)
Pipelines:
Definition Field Listing
refined products 421 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Caldera, Golfito, Moin, Puerto Limon, Puerto Quepos, Puntarenas
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 1,716 GRT/ DWT
by type: passenger 1
registered in other countries: 1 (2003 est.)
Airports:
Definition Field Listing
149 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 30
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 18
under 914 m: 8 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 119
914 to 1,523 m: 24
under 914 m: 95 (2003 est.)

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   Military    Costa Rica
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
no regular military forces; Ministry of Public Security
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 1,101,887 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 736,007 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 41,709 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$64 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.4% (2003)

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   Transnational Issues    Costa Rica
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
legal dispute over navigational rights of Rio San Juan on the border with Nicaragua remains unsolved
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

Large portions of this information is from the US government open source publication "The World Factbook", other content copyright © Stratus-Pikpuk, Inc. You may use this information without permission for educational or other non-profit purposes if you refer to us as the source, contact us if you want to use this commercially.


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