Nicaragua Population: 5,788,531

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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 to power in 1979. Nicaraguan aid to leftist rebels in El Salvador caused 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 Saavedra was elected president in 2006 and reelected in 2011. The 2008 municipal elections, 2010 regional elections, November 2011 presidential elections, and 2012 municipal elections were marred by widespread irregularities. Nicaragua's infrastructure and economy - hard hit by the earlier civil war and by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 - are slowly being rebuilt, but democratic institutions have been weakened under the ORTEGA administration.

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 smaller than New York state
Land Boundaries: total: 1,231 km
border countries: Costa Rica 309 km, Honduras 922 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
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mogoton 2,438 m
Natural resources: gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, timber, fish
Land use: arable land: 14.57%
permanent crops: 1.76%
other: 83.66% (2011)
Irrigated land: 942.4 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards: destructive earthquakes; volcanoes; landslides; extremely susceptible to hurricanes volcanism: significant volcanic activity; Cerro Negro (elev. 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
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) 97.5%, Miskito 1.7%, other 0.8% (1995 census) note: English and indigenous languages found on the Atlantic coast
Religions: Roman Catholic 58.5%, Protestant 23.2% (Evangelical 21.6%, Moravian 1.6%), Jehovah's Witnesses 0.9%, other 1.7%, none 15.7% (2005 census)
Population: 5,788,531 (July 2013 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 30% (male 886,490/female 852,690)
15-24 years: 22.5% (male 653,868/female 651,076)
25-54 years: 37.4% (male 1,024,395/female 1,143,011)
55-64 years: 5.2% (male 141,026/female 162,159)
65 years and over: 4.7% (male 123,878/female 149,938) (2013 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 59.9 %
youth dependency ratio: 52.5 %
elderly dependency ratio: 7.4 %
potential support ratio: 13.5 (2013)
Median age: total: 23.7 years
male: 22.8 years
female: 24.6 years (2013 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.05% (2013 est.)
Birth rate: 18.77 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Death rate: 5.06 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Net migration rate: -3.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 57% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 2% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: MANAGUA (capital) 934,000 (2009)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.87 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth: 19.7 note: Median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2007 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 95 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Infant mortality rate: total: 21.09 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 24.19 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 17.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.45 years
male: 70.32 years
female: 74.68 years (2013 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.03 children born/woman (2013 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 72.4% (2006/07)
Health expenditures: 9.1% of GDP (2010)
Physicians density: 0.37 physicians/1,000 population (2003)
Hospital bed density: 0.8 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 98% of population
rural: 68% of population
total: 85% of population

urban: 2% of population
rural: 32% of population
total: 15% of population (2010 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 63% of population
rural: 37% of population
total: 52% of population

urban: 37% of population
rural: 63% of population
total: 48% of population (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.2% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 6,900 (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: fewer than 500 (2009 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 22.2% (2008)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 5.7% (2007)
Education expenditures: 4.7% of GDP (2010)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 78%
male: 78.1%
female: 77.9% (2005 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2003)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 8.6%
male: 8.1%
female: 9.7% (2006)
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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
Government type: republic
Capital: name: Managua
geographic coordinates: 12 08 N, 86 15 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 15 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 2 autonomous regions* (regiones autonomistas, singular - region autonoma); Atlantico Norte*, Atlantico Sur*, Boaco, Carazo, Chinandega, Chontales, 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: 9 January 1987; revised in 1995, 2000, and 2005
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 Moises Omar HALLESLEVENS Acevedo (since 10 January 2012); 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 Moises Omar HALLESLEVENS Acevedo (since 10 January 2012)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president (For more information visit the World Leaders website )

elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held on 6 November 2011 (next to be held by November 2016)

election results: Jose Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra reelected president; percent of vote - Jose Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra 62.5%, Fabio GADEA 31%, Arnoldo ALEMAN 5.9%, other 0.6%
Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (92 seats; 90 members elected by proportional representation and party lists to serve five-year terms; 1 seat for the previous president, 1 seat for the runner-up in previous presidential election)

elections: last held on 6 November 2011 (next to be held by November 2016)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FSLN 64, PLI/MRS 26, PLC 2
Judicial branch: highest court(s): 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 military courts
Political parties and leaders: Alliance for the Republic or APRE [Carlos CANALES] Conservative Party or PC [Alejandro BOLANOS Davis] Independent Liberal Party or PLI [Indalecio RODRIGUEZ] 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 [Ana Margarita VIJIL]
Political pressure groups and leaders: National Workers Front or FNT (a Sandinista umbrella group of eight labor unions including: Farm Workers Association or ATC, Health Workers Federation or FETASALUD, Heroes and Martyrs Confederation of Professional Associations or CONAPRO, National Association of Educators of Nicaragua or ANDEN, National Union of Employees or UNE, National Union of Farmers and Ranchers or UNAG, Sandinista Workers Central or CST, and Union of Journalists of Nicaragua or UPN) Permanent Congress of Workers or CPT (an umbrella group of four non-Sandinista labor unions including: Autonomous Nicaraguan Workers Central or CTN-A, Confederation of Labor Unification or CUS, Independent General Confederation of Labor or CGT-I, and Labor Action and Unity Central or CAUS) Nicaraguan Workers' Central or CTN (an independent labor union) Superior Council of Private Enterprise or COSEP (a confederation of business groups)
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, 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 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 1830's until 1876
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Francisco Obadiah CAMPBELL Hooker
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 Orleans, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Phyllis M. POWERS
embassy: Kilometer 5.5 Carretera Sur, Managua
mailing address: American Embassy Managua, APO AA 34021
telephone: [505] 2252-7100, 2252-7888; 2252-7634 (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. The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) has been in effect since April 2006 and has expanded export opportunities for many agricultural and manufactured goods. Textiles and agriculture combined account for nearly 50% of Nicaragua's exports. The ORTEGA administration's promotion of mixed business initiatives, owned by the Nicaraguan and Venezuelan state oil firms, together with the weak rule of law, could undermine the investment climate for domestic and international private firms in the near-term. Nicaragua relied on an IMF external credit facility to meet internal- and external-debt financing obligations. The most recent IMF program ended in 2011 and Nicaragua is currently in negotiations for a new program. Nicaragua depends heavily on foreign development assistance, however, donors have curtailed this funding in response to November 2008 and subsequent electoral fraud. Nicaragua still struggles with a high public debt burden, however, it succeeded in reducing that burden in 2011. The economy grew at a rate of about 4% in 2012.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $27.1 billion (2012 est.) $25.76 billion (2011 est.) $24.43 billion (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $10.51 billion (2012 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 5.2% (2012 est.) 5.4% (2011 est.) 3.6% (2010 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $4,500 (2012 est.) $4,400 (2011 est.) $4,200 (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 86.1%
government consumption: 10.3%
investment in fixed capital: 32.8%
exports of goods and services: 39.8%
imports of goods and services: -69.1% (2012 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 86.1%
government consumption: 10.3%
investment in fixed capital: 32.8%
exports of goods and services: 39.8%
imports of goods and services: -69.1% (2012 est.)
Agriculture - products: coffee, bananas, sugarcane, rice, corn, tobacco, sesame, soya, beans; beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products; shrimp, lobsters, cotton
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: 6% (2012 est.)
Labor force: 2.961 million (2012 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 28%
industry: 19%
services: 53% (2010 est.)
Unemployment rate: 7.4% (2012 est.) 7.3% (2011 est.) note: underemployment was 46.5% in 2008
Population below poverty line: 42.5% (2009)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.4%
highest 10%: 41.8% (2005)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 40.5 (2010) 60.3 (1998)
Budget: revenues: $2.728 billion
expenditures: $2.752 billion (2012 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 26% of GDP (2012 est.)
Public debt: 59.4% of GDP (2012 est.) 61.4% of GDP (2011 est.)

note: official data; data cover general Government Debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by Government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental 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): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.2% (2012 est.) 8.1% (2011 est.)
Current account balance: -$1.476 billion (2012 est.) -$1.259 billion (2011 est.)
Exports: $4.157 billion (2012 est.) $3.655 billion (2011 est.)
Exports - commodities: coffee, beef, gold, sugar, peanuts, shrimp and lobster, tobacco, cigars, automobile wiring harnesses, textiles, apparel, cotton
Exports - partners: US 54%, Canada 8.4%, Venezuela 7.4%, El Salvador 4.5% (2012)
Imports: $6.45 billion (2012 est.) $5.836 billion (2011 est.)
Imports - commodities: consumer goods, machinery and equipment, raw materials, petroleum products
Imports - partners: US 18.8%, Venezuela 14.4%, Mexico 12.1%, Costa Rica 8.8%, China 7.8%, Guatemala 7.6%, El Salvador 5.1% (2012)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $1.887 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $1.892 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Debt - external: $7.926 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $7.309 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Exchange rates: cordobas (NIO) per US dollar - 23.547 (2012 est.) 22.424 (2011 est.) 21.356 (2010 est.) 20.34 (2009) 19.374 (2008)
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Electricity - production: 3.824 billion kWh (2011 est.) country comparison to the world: 124
Electricity - consumption: 2.941 billion kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity - exports: 40,560 kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity - imports: 9,930 kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 1.108 million kW (2011 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 66% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 9.5% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 24.5% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 16,020 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 14,680 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 30,690 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 999.6 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 15,830 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2012 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2012 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2012 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2012 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2012 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 4.825 million Mt (2010 est.)
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Telephones in use: 287,600 (2011)
country comparison to the world: 118
Cellular Phones in use: 4.822 million (2011)
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

domestic: since privatization, access to fixed-line and mobile-cellular services has improved; fixed-line teledensity roughly 5 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone subscribership has increased to roughly 85 per 100 persons

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) (2011)
Broadcast media: multiple privately owned terrestrial TV networks, supplemented by cable TV in most urban areas; of more than 100 radio stations, nearly all are privately owned; Radio Nicaragua is government-owned and Radio Sandino is controlled by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) (2007)
Internet country code: .ni
Internet hosts: 296,068 (2012)
Internet users: 199,800 (2009)
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Airports: 147 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 40
Airports (paved runways): total 12

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 4 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 135

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 119 (2013)
Pipelines: oil 54 km (2013)
Roadways: total 19,137 km
paved: 2,033 km
unpaved: 17,104 km (2009)
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)
Ports and terminals: Bluefields, Corinto
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Military branches: National Army of Nicaragua (Ejercito Nacional de Nicaragua, ENN; includes Navy, Air Force) (2013)
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)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 1,452,107
females age 16-49: 1,552,698 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 1,227,757
females age 16-49: 1,335,653 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 69,093
female: 67,522 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures: 0.9% of GDP (2012)
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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; legal dispute over navigational rights of San Juan River on border with Costa Rica
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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