100 terms

Costa Rica

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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
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
Area:
total: 51,100 sq km
land:
51,060 sq km
water:
40 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly smaller than West Virginia
Land boundaries:
total: 639 km, border countries: Nicaragua 309 km, Panama 330 km
Coastline:
1,290 km
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
Natural resources:
hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 4.4% permanent crops: 5.87% other: 89.73% (2005)
Total renewable water resources:
112.4 cu km (2000)
Natural hazards:
occasional earthquakes, hurricanes along Atlantic coast; frequent flooding of lowlands at onset of rainy season and landslides; active volcanoes ( Arenal) (elev. 1,670 m, 5,479 ft), which erupted in 2010, is the most active volcano in Costa Rica;
Current 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
Environment international 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
Population:
4,576,562 (July 2011 est.)
Median age:
total: 28.8 years, male: 28.4 years, female: 29.2 years (2011 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.308% (2011 est.)
Birth rate:
16.54 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate:
4.33 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate:
0.87 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Urbanization:
urban population: 64% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization:
2.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
9.45 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
77.72 years
Total fertility rate:
1.93 children born/woman (2011 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.)
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: intermediate; food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, vectorborne diseases: dengue fever (2009)
Ethnic groups:
white (including mestizo) 94%, black 3%, Amerindian 1%, Chinese 1%, other 1%
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: 94.9%
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 12 years
Education expenditures:
5% of GDP (2008)
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Costa Rica
Government type:
democratic republic
Capital:
San Jose
time difference:
UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
7 provinces 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:
based on Spanish civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
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); cabinet: Cabinet selected by the president
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%
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa (57 seats; members elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)
election results:
percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLN 23, PAC 10, ML 9, PUSC 6, PASE 4, other 5
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (22 justices are elected for renewable eight-year terms by the Legislative Assembly)
Flag description:
the blue color is said to stand for the sky, opportunity, and perseverance, white denotes peace, happiness, and wisdom, while red represents the blood shed for freedom, as well as the generosity and vibrancy of the people
National anthem:
"Himno Nacional de Costa Rica" (National Anthem of Costa Rica) lyrics/music: Jose Maria ZELEDON Brenes/Manuel Maria GUTIERREZ 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
Economy
Prior to the global economic crisis, stable economic growth. The economy contracted 0.7% in 2009, but resumed growth at more than 3% in 2010. 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; High value added goods and services, including microchips, 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 fiscal 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, such as high levels of bureaucracy, difficulty of enforcing contracts, and weak investor protection, remain.
Poverty
around 15-20% 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.
Issues
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. .
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$51.55 billion (2010 est.), $49.57 billion (2009 est.), $49.91 billion (2008 est.) (dollars)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$35.44 billion (2010 est.)
GDP real growth rate:
4% (2010 est.), -0.7% (2009 est.), 2.6% (2008 est.)
GDP per capita (PPP):
$11,400 (2010 est.), $11,100 (2009 est.), $11,400 (2008 est.)
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 6.3%, industry: 22.9%, services: 70.8% (2010 est.)
Labor force:
2.17 million
Labor force by occupation:
agriculture: 14%, industry: 22%, services: 64% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate:
7.3% (2010 est.), 7.8% (2009 est.)
Population below poverty line:
16% (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.5% highest 10%: 35.5% (2005)
Distribution of family income Gini index:
48 (2008), 45.9 (1997)
Budget:
revenues: $5.085 billion, expenditures: $6.921 billion (2010 est.)
Public debt:
42.4% of GDP (2010 est.), 42% of GDP (2009 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5.8% (2010 est.), 7.8% (2009 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
23% (31 December 2009)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
17.4% (31 December 2009 est.), 15.83% (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of narrow money:
$4.504 billion (31 December 2010 est)
Stock of broad money:
$16.81 billion (31 December 2009)
Stock of domestic credit:
$15.82 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$1.452 billion (31 December 2009)
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:
3% (2010 est.)
Electricity production:
9.29 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity
consumption: - 8.25 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity exports:
77.16 million kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity imports:
203.2 million kWh (2007 est.)
Oil production:
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil consumption:
44,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil exports:
2,117 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil imports:
46,260 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Exports partners:
US 32.61%, Netherlands 12.82%, China 11.81%, Mexico 4.2% (2009)
Imports partners:
US 44.72%, Mexico 7.65%, Venezuela 5.56%, China 5.15%, Japan 4.36% (2009)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$4.584 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
External Debt:
$8.55 billion (31 December 2010 est.), $7.972 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Exchange rates:
Costa Rican colones (CRC) per US dollar - 513 (2010), 573.29 (2009), 530.41 (2008), 519.53 (2007), 511.3 (2006)
Military branches:
no regular military forces; Ministry of Public Security, Government, and Police (2010)
Military expenditures:
0.6% of GDP (2009)
Disputes international:
the ICJ has 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): 9,699-11,500 (Colombia) (2007)
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)