Nicaragua Population: 5,966,798


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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 prompted 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, 2011 presidential election, 2012 municipal elections, and 2013 regional 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 larger than Pennsylvania; slightly smaller than New York state
Land Boundaries: total: 1,253 km border countries (2): Costa Rica 313 km, Honduras 940 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:
Natural resources: gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, timber, fish
Land use: agricultural land: 42.2% arable land 12.5%; permanent crops 2.5%; permanent pasture 27.2% forest: 25.3%
other: 32.5% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 1,990 sq km (2012)
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) 95.3%, Miskito 2.2%, Mestizo of the Caribbean coast 2%, other 0.5% note: English and indigenous languages found on the Caribbean coast (2005 est.)
Religions: Roman Catholic 58.5%, Protestant 23.2% (Evangelical 21.6%, Moravian 1.6%), Jehovah's Witnesses 0.9%, other 1.6%, none 15.7% (2005 est.)
Population: 5,966,798 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 27.88% (male 848,537/female 815,032)
15-24 years: 21.78% (male 653,113/female 646,497)
25-54 years: 39.42% (male 1,113,772/female 1,238,550)
55-64 years: 5.79% (male 160,165/female 185,385)
65 years and over: 5.12% (male 136,661/female 169,086) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 54.1%
youth dependency ratio: 46.3%
elderly dependency ratio: 7.8%
potential support ratio: 12.8% (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 25.2 years
male: 24.3 years
female: 26 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.99% (2016 est.)
Birth rate: 17.9 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate: 5.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 58.8% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.96% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: MANAGUA (capital) 956,000 (2015)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.86 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth: 19.2 note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2011/12 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 150 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 19 deaths/1,000 live births male: 21.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 73.2 years male: 71.1 years
female: 75.5 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.92 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 80.4% (2011/12)
Health expenditures: 9% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density: 0.9 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density: 0.9 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 99.3% of population
rural: 69.4% of population
total: 87% of population

urban: 0.7% of population
rural: 30.6% of population
total: 13% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 76.5% of population
rural: 55.7% of population
total: 67.9% of population

urban: 23.5% of population
rural: 44.3% of population
total: 32.1% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.27% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 9,900 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 300 (2015 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 15.5% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 5.7% (2007)
Education expenditures: 4.5% of GDP (2010)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 82.8%
male: 82.4%
female: 83.2% (2015 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 11.9% male: 9.8%
female: 15.6% (2010 est.)
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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
etymology: Nicarao was the name of the largest indigenous settlement at the time of Spanish arrival; conquistador Gil GONZALEZ Davila, who explored the area (1622-23), combined the name of the community with the Spanish word "agua" (water), referring to the two large lakes in the west of the country (Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua)
Government type: presidential 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); Boaco, Carazo, Chinandega, Chontales, Costa Caribe Norte*, Costa Caribe Sur*, 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: several previous; latest adopted 19 November 1986, effective 9 January 1987; amended several times, last in 2014 (2016)
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 elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on the same ballot by simple majority popular vote for a 5-year term (no term limits); 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 (FSLN) 62.5%, Fabio GADEA Mantilla (PLI) 31%, Arnoldo ALEMAN (PLC) 5.9%, other 0.6%
Legislative branch: description: unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (92 seats; 70 members in multi-seat constituencies and 20 members in a single nationwide constituency directly elected by proportional representation vote; 2 seats reserved for the previous president and the runner-up candidate in the previous presidential election; members serve 5-year terms;)

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 62, 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) Nicaraguan Workers' Central or CTN (an independent labor union) 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) 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 (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 colors: blue, white
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 1830s until 1876
Diplomatic representation in the US: hief of mission: Ambassador Francisco Obadiah CAMPBELL Hooker (since 23 June 2010)
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 York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Phyllis M. POWERS (since 24 April 2012)
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. Textiles and agriculture combined account for nearly 50% of Nicaragua's exports. 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 Nicaraguan agricultural and manufactured goods. In 2013, the government granted a 50-year concession to a newly formed Chinese-run company to finance and build an inter-oceanic canal and related projects, at an estimated cost of $50 billion. The canal construction has not started.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $33.49 billion (2016 est.) $32.04 billion (2015 est.) $30.54 billion (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $13.41 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.5% (2016 est.) 4.9% (2015 est.) 4.6% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $5,300 (2016 est.) $5,100 (2015 est.) $4,900 (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving: 22.8% of GDP (2016 est.) 23.6% of GDP (2015 est.) 19.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 79.4%
government consumption: 7.2%
investment in fixed capital: 32.1%
investment in inventories: 1.6%
exports of goods and services: 36.2%
imports of goods and services: -54.9% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 79.4%
government consumption: 7.2%
investment in fixed capital: 32.1%
investment in inventories: 1.6%
exports of goods and services: 36.2%
imports of goods and services: -54.9% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - products: coffee, bananas, sugarcane, rice, corn, tobacco, cotton, sesame, soya, beans; beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products; shrimp, lobsters
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: 5% (2016 est.)
Labor force: 3.013 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 31%
industry: 18%
services: 50% (2011 est.)
Unemployment rate: 6% (2016 est.) 6.1% (2015 est.) note: underemployment was 46.5% in 2008
Population below poverty line: 29.6% (2015 est.)
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: $3.454 billion
expenditures: $3.738 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 25.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt: 46.2% of GDP (2016 est.) 45.7% of GDP (2015 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-governmen
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.1% (2016 est.) 4% (2015 est.)
Current account balance: -$1.077 billion (2016 est.) -$1.045 billion (2015 est.)
Exports: $3.108 billion (2016 est.) $3.341 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commodities: coffee, beef, gold, sugar, peanuts, shrimp and lobster, tobacco, cigars, automobile wiring harnesses, textiles, apparel, cotton
Exports - partners: US 56.5%, Mexico 10.7%, Venezuela 5.4%, El Salvador 4.3% (2015)
Imports: $6.039 billion (2016 est.) $6.083 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commodities: consumer goods, machinery and equipment, raw materials, petroleum products
Imports - partners: US 19.9%, Mexico 14.9%, China 10.6%, Venezuela 7%, Costa Rica 7%, El Salvador 5.7%, Guatemala 5.6%, Netherlands Antilles 5.5% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $2.442 billion (31 December 2016 est.) $2.492 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external: $11.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.) $10.64 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Exchange rates: cordobas (NIO) per US dollar - 28.68 (2016 est.) 27.257 (2015 est.) 27.257 (2014 est.) 26.01 (2013 est.) 23.55 (2012 est.)
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Electricity - production: 4.438 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 4.412 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports: 48.98 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - imports: 22 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 1.331 million kW (2015 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 54.4% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 10.2% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 35.4% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 13,440 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)
Refined petroleum products - production: 14,260 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 30,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 396 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 16,500 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2016 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2016 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2016 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2015 es)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 5.2 million Mt (2013 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total: 7.264 million subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 123 (July 2015 est.)
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 6 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone subscribership has increased to over 120 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) a (2015)
Broadcast media: multiple terrestrial TV stations, supplemented by cable TV in most urban areas; nearly all are government-owned or affiliated; more than 300 radio stations, both government-affiliated and privately owned (2016)
Internet country code: .ni
Internet users: total: 1.164 million percent of population: 19.7% (July 2015 est.)
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Airports: 147 (2013)
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 23,897 km
paved: 3,346 km
unpaved: 20,551 km (2014)
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: major seaport(s): 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)
Military expenditures: 0.63% of GDP (2012) 0.53% of GDP (2011) 0.63% of GDP (2010)
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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; Nicaragua and Costa Rica regularly file border dispute cases over the delimitations of the San Juan River and the northern tip of Calero Island to the ICJ; in 2009, the ICJ ruled that Costa Rican vessels carrying out police activities could not use the river, but official Costa Rican vessels providing essential services to riverside inhabitants and Costa Rican tourists could travel freely on the river; in 2011, the ICJ provisionally ruled that both countries must remove personnel from the disputed area; in 2013, the ICJ rejected Nicaragua's 2012 suit to halt Costa Rica's construction of a highway paralleling the river on the grounds of irreparable environmental damage; in 2013, the ICJ, regarding the disputed territory, ordered that Nicaragua should refrain from dredging or canal construction and refill and repair damage caused by trenches connecting the river to the Caribbean and upheld its 2010 ruling that Nicaragua must remove all personnel; in early 2014, Costa Rica brought Nicaragua to the ICJ over offshore oil concessions in the disputed region
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
stateless persons: 1 (2015)
Illicit drugs: transshipment point for cocaine destined for the US and transshipment point for arms-for-drugs dealing
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