Panama Population: 3,800,644


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Explored and settled by the Spanish in the 16th century, Panama broke with Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela - named the Republic of Gran Colombia. When the latter dissolved in 1830, Panama remained part of Colombia. With US backing, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903 and promptly signed a treaty with the US allowing for the construction of a canal and US sovereignty over a strip of land on either side of the structure (the Panama Canal Zone). The Panama Canal was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. In 1977, an agreement was signed for the complete transfer of the Canal from the US to Panama by the end of the century. Certain portions of the Zone and increasing responsibility over the Canal were turned over in the subsequent decades. With US help, dictator Manuel NORIEGA was deposed in 1989. The entire Panama Canal, the area supporting the Canal, and remaining US military bases were transferred to Panama by the end of 1999. An ambitious expansion project to more than double the Canal's capacity - by allowing for more Canal transits and larger ships - was carried out between 2007 and 2016.

    Strategic location on eastern end of isthmus forming land bridge connecting North and South America; controls Panama Canal that links North Atlantic Ocean via Caribbean Sea with North Pacific Ocean
Location: Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica
Geographic coordinates: 9 00 N, 80 00 W
Area: total: 75,420 sq km
land: 74,340 sq km
water: 1,080 sq km

Size comparison: slightly smaller than South Carolina
Land Boundaries: total: 687 km border countries (2): Colombia 339 km, Costa Rica 348 km
Coastline: 2,490 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm or edge of continental margin
contiguous zone: 24 nm
Climate: tropical maritime; hot, humid, cloudy; prolonged rainy season (May to January), short dry season (January to May)
Terrain: interior mostly steep, rugged mountains with dissected, upland plains; coastal plains with rolling hills
Natural resources: copper, mahogany forests, shrimp, hydropower
Land use: agricultural land: 30.5% (2011 est.) arable land: 7.3% (2011 est.)
permanent crops: 2.5% (2011 est.) permanent pasture: 20.7% (2011 est.) forest: 43.6% (2011 est.)
other: 25.9% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 321 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: occasional severe storms and forest fires in the Darien area
Current Environment Issues: water pollution from agricultural runoff threatens fishery resources; deforestation of tropical rain forest; land degradation and soil erosion threatens siltation of Panama Canal; air pollution in urban areas; mining threatens natural resources
International Environment 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, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
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Nationality: noun: Panamanian(s)
adjective: Panamanian
Ethnic groups: mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 65%, Native American 12.3% (Ngabe 7.6%, Kuna 2.4%, Embera 0.9%, Bugle 0.8%, other 0.4%, unspecified 0.2%), black or African descent 9.2%, mulatto 6.8%, white 6.7% (2010 est.)
Languages: Spanish (official), indigenous languages (including Ngabere (or Guaymi), Buglere, Kuna, Embera, Wounaan, Naso (or Teribe), and Bri Bri), Panamanian English Creole (similar to Jamaican English Creole; a mixture of English and Spanish with elements of Ngabere; also known as Guari Guari and Colon Creole), English, Chinese (Yue and Hakka), Arabic, French Creole, other (Yiddish, Hebrew, Korean, Japanese) note: many Panamanians are bilingual
Religions: Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant 15%
Population: 3,800,644 (July 2018 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 26.13% (male 506,953 /female 486,129)
15-24 years: 16.84% (male 326,207 /female 313,894)
25-54 years: 40.35% (male 776,395 /female 757,008)
55-64 years: 8.11% (male 152,894 /female 155,353)
65 years and over: 8.57% (male 149,415 /female 176,396) (2018 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 54.8 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 43.1 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 11.7 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 8.5 (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 29.5 years
male: 29 years
female: 29.9 years (2018 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.24% (2018 est.)
Birth rate: 17.6 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate: 5 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 67.7% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: 2.06% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population: 1.783 million PANAMA CITY (capital) (2018)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 94 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 9.6 deaths/1,000 live births male: 10.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 78.9 years male: 76.1 years
female: 81.9 years (2018 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.28 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 62.8% (2013)
Physicians density: 1.57 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
Hospital bed density: 2.3 beds/1,000 population (2013)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 97.7% of population
rural: 86.6% of population
total: 94.7% of population

urban: 2.3% of population
rural: 11.4% of population
total: 5.3% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 83.5% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 58% of population (2015 est.)
total: 75% of population (2015 est.)

urban: 16.5% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 42% of population (2015 est.)
total: 25% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 1% (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 25,000 (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: <1000 (2017 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 22.7% (2016)
Education expenditures: 3.2% of GDP (2011)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)
total population: 95%
male: 95.7%
female: 94.4% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 13 years male: 12 years female: 13 years (2015)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 10.8% male: 8.3% female: 14.9% (2017 est.)
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Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Panama
conventional short form: Panama
local long form: Republica de Panama
local short form: Panama
etymology: named after the capital city which was itself named after a former indigenous fishing village
Government type: presidential republic
Capital: name: Panama City
geographic coordinates: 8 58 N, 79 32 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: according to tradition, the name derives from a former fishing area near the present capital - an indigenous village and its adjacent beach - that were called "Panama" meaning "an abundance of fish"
Administrative divisions: 10 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia) and 3 indigenous regions* (comarcas); Bocas del Toro, Chiriqui, Cocle, Colon, Darien, Embera-Wounaan*, Herrera, Guna Yala*, Los Santos, Ngobe-Bugle*, Panama, Panama Oeste, Veraguas
Independence: 3 November 1903 (from Colombia; became independent from Spain on 28 November 1821)
National holiday: Independence Day (Separation Day), 3 November (1903)
Constitution: history: several previous; latest effective 11 October 1972 amendments: proposed by the National Assembly, by the Cabinet, or by the Supreme Court of Justice; passage requires approval by one of two procedures: 1) absolute majority vote of the Assembly membership in each of three readings and by absolute majority vote of the next elected Assembly in a single reading without text modifications; 2) absolute majority vote of the Assembly membership in each of three readings, followed by absolute majority vote of the next elected Assembly in each of three readings with text modifications, and approval in a referendum; amended several times, last in 2004; note - in May 2018, President VARELA began the process to amend the constitution (2018)
Legal system: civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court of Justice
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Laurentino "Nito" CORTIZO Cohen (since 1 July 2019); Vice President Jose Gabriel CARRIZO Jaen (since 1 July 2019); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Laurentino "Nito" CORTIZO Cohen (since 1 July 2019); Vice President Jose Gabriel CARRIZO Jaen (since 1 July 2019)

cabinet: Cabinet 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; president eligible for a single non-consecutive term); election last held on 5 May 2019 (next to be held in 2024)

election results: Laurentino "Nito" CORTIZO Cohen elected president; percent of vote - Laurentino CORTIZO Cohen (PRD) 33.3%, Romulo ROUX (CD) 31%, Ricardo LOMBANA (independent) 18.8%, Jose BLANDON (Panamenista Party) 10.8%, Ana Matilde GOMEZ Ruiloba (independent) 4.8%, other 1.3%
Legislative branch: description: unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (71 seats; 45 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies - populous towns and cities - by proportional representation vote and 26 directly elected in single-seat constituencies - outlying rural districts - by plurality vote; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 4 May 2014 (next to be held in May 2019)

election results: percent of vote by party - CD 33.7%, PRD 31.5%, Panamenista Party 20%, MOLIRENA 7.2%, PP 3.3%, other 1%, independent 3%; seats by party - PRD 30, CD 25, Panamenista 12, MOLIRENA 2, PP 1, independent 1; composition - men 58, women 13, percent of women 18.3% note: an alliance between the Panamenista Party and Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) fractured after the 2014 election, but a loose coalition composed of Panamenista and moderate PRD and CD legislators generally work together to support the president’s agenda
Judicial branch: highest courts: Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (consists of 9 magistrates and 9 alternates and divided into civil, criminal, administrative, and general business chambers) judge selection and term of office: magistrates appointed by the president for staggered 10-year terms

subordinate courts: appellate courts or Tribunal Superior; Labor Supreme Courts; Court of Audit; circuit courts or Tribunal Circuital (2 each in 9 of the 10 provinces); municipal courts; electoral, family, maritime, and adolescent courts
Political parties and leaders: Democratic Change or CD [Romulo ROUX] Democratic Revolutionary Party or PRD [Benicio ROBINSON] Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement or MOLIRENA [Francisco "Pancho" ALEMAN] Panamenista Party [Jose Luis "Popi" VARELA Rodriguez] (formerly the Arnulfista Party) Popular Party or PP [Juan Carlos ARANGO Reese] (formerly Christian Democratic Party or PDC)
International organization participation: BCIE, CAN (observer), CD, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, SICA, UN, UNASUR (observer), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National symbol(s): harpy eagle;
national colors: blue, white, red
National anthem: name: "Himno Istmeno" (Isthmus Hymn)
lyrics/music: Jeronimo DE LA OSSA/Santos A. JORGE

note: adopted 1925
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Emanuel Arturo GONZALEZ-REVILLA Lince (since 18 September 2014)
chancery: 2862 McGill Terrace NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 483-1407
FAX: [1] (202) 483-8413
consulate(s) general: Houston, Miami, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Tampa, Washington DC
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant), Charge d'Affairs Roxanne CABRAL (since 9 March 2018)
embassy: Edificio 783, Avenida Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue, Clayton, Panama
mailing address: American Embassy Panama, Unit 0945, APO AA 34002; American Embassy Panama, 9100 Panama City PL, Washington, DC 20521-9100
telephone: [507] 317-5000
FAX: [507] 317-5445 (2018)
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Panama's dollar-based economy rests primarily on a well-developed services sector that accounts for more than three-quarters of GDP. Services include operating the Panama Canal, logistics, banking, the Colon Free Trade Zone, insurance, container ports, flagship registry, and tourism and Panama is a center for offshore banking. Panama's transportation and logistics services sectors, along with infrastructure development projects, have boosted economic growth; however, public debt surpassed $37 billion in 2016 because of excessive government spending and public works projects. The US-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement was approved by Congress and signed into law in October 2011, and entered into force in October 2012. Future growth will be bolstered by the Panama Canal expansion project that began in 2007 and was completed in 2016 at a cost of $5.3 billion - about 10-15% of current GDP. The expansion project more than doubled the Canal's capacity, enabling it to accommodate high-capacity vessels such as tankers and neopanamax vessels that are too large to traverse the existing canal. The US and China are the top users of the Canal. Strong economic performance has not translated into broadly shared prosperity, as Panama has the second worst income distribution in Latin America. About one-fourth of the population lives in poverty; however, from 2006 to 2012 poverty was reduced by 10 percentage points.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $104.1 billion (2017 est.) $98.82 billion (2016 est.) $94.12 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): $61.84 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 5.4% (2017 est.) 5% (2016 est.) 5.8% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $25,400 (2017 est.) $24,500 (2016 est.) $23,700 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving: 38.9% of GDP (2017 est.) 39.2% of GDP (2016 est.) 36.8% of GDP (2015 est.) GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 45.6% (2017 est.) government consumption: 10.7% (2017 est.) investment in fixed capital: 42.9% (2017 est.) investment in inventories: 3% (2017 est.) exports of goods and services: 41.9% (2017 est.) imports of goods and services: -44.2% (2017 est.) GDP - composition, by sector of origin: agriculture: 2.4% (2017 est.) industry: 15.7% (2017 est.) services: 82% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products: bananas, rice, corn, coffee, sugarcane, vegetables; livestock; shrimp
Industries: construction, brewing, cement and other construction materials, sugar milling
Industrial production growth rate: 6.3% (2017 est.)
Labor force: 1.633 million (2017 est.) note: shortage of skilled labor, but an oversupply of unskilled labor
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 17%
industry: 18.6%
services: 64.4% (2009 est.)
Unemployment rate: 6% (2017 est.) 5.5% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line: 23% (2015 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.1%
highest 10%: 38.9% (2014 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 50.7 (2014 est.) 56.1 (2003)
Budget: revenues: 12.43 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 13.44 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 20.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.) Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): -1.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt: 37.8% of GDP (2017 est.) 37.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.9% (2017 est.) 0.7% (2016 est.)
Current account balance: -$3.036 billion (2017 est.) -$3.16 billion (2016 est.)
Exports: $15.5 billion (2017 est.) $14.7 billion (2016 est.) note: includes the Colon Free Zone
Exports - commodities: fruit and nuts, fish, iron and steel waste, wood
Exports - partners: US 18.9%, Netherlands 16.6%, China 6.5%, Costa Rica 5.4%, India 5.1%, Vietnam 5% (2017)
Imports: $21.91 billion (2017 est.) $20.51 billion (2016 est.) note: includes the Colon Free Zone
Imports - commodities: fuels, machinery, vehicles, iron and steel rods, pharmaceuticals
Imports - partners: US 24.4%, China 9.8%, Mexico 4.9% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $2.703 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $3.878 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external: $91.53 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $83.81 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $56.7 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $50.62 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $11.38 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $10.71 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $12.54 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $10.68 billion (31 December 2011 est.) $8.348 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Exchange rates: balboas (PAB) per US dollar - 1 (2017 est.) 1 (2016 est.) 1 (2015 est.) 1 (2014 est.) 1 (2013 est.)
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Electricity - production: 10.6 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 8.708 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports: 139 million kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - imports: 30 million kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 3.4 million kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 36% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 51% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 13% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2018)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 146,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 66 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 129,200 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 26.08 million Mt (2017 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total subscriptions: 5,977,641
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 159 (2017 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: domestic and international facilities well-developed; investment from international operators; competion among operators helps reduce price of services; launches LTE services; (2018)

domestic: fixed-line 16 per 100 and mobile-cellular telephone 159 per 100 and subscribership has increased rapidly (2018)

international: country code - 507; landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1), the MAYA-1, and PAN-AM submarine cable systems that together provide links to the US and parts of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); connected to the Central American Microwave System; extention of Deep Blue cable pan-Caribbean regional to Panama
Broadcast media: multiple privately owned TV networks and a government-owned educational TV station; multi-channel cable and satellite TV subscription services are available; more than 100 commercial radio stations (2019)
Internet country code: .pa
Internet users: total: 2,000,833
percent of population: 54% (July 2016 est.)
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Airports: 117 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 57
(2017) over 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 20 (2017)
under 914 m: 30 (2017)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 60
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 8 (2013)
under 914 m: 51 (2013)
Heliports: 3 (2013)
Pipelines: 128 km oil (2013)
Railways: total 77 km
(2014) standard gauge: 77 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
Waterways: 800 km (includes the 82-km Panama Canal that is being widened) (2011)
Merchant marine: total 7,914

by type: bulk carrier 2585, container ship 590, general cargo 1327, oil tanker 808, other 2604 (2018)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Balboa, Colon, Cristobal container port(s) (TEUs): Balboa (2,905,049), Colon (3,891,209) (2017)
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On 10 February 1990, the government of then President Guillermo ENDARA abolished Panama's military and reformed the security apparatus by creating the Panamanian Public Forces; in October 1994, Panama's National Assembly approved a constitutional amendment prohibiting the creation of a standing military force but allowing the temporary establishment of special police units to counter acts of "external aggression"
Military branches: no regular military forces; Panamanian Public Security Forces (subordinate to the Ministry of Public Security), comprising the National Police (PNP), National Air-Naval Service (SENAN), National Border Service (SENAFRONT) (2013)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: organized illegal narcotics operations in Colombia operate within the remote border region with Panama
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 15,614 (Colombia) (2016), 74,397 (Venezuela) (economic and political crisis; includes Venezuelans who have claimed asylum or have received alternative legal stay) (2019)
Illicit drugs: major cocaine transshipment point and primary money-laundering center for narcotics revenue; money-laundering activity is especially heavy in the Colon Free Zone; offshore financial center; negligible signs of coca cultivation; monitoring of financial transactions is improving; official corruption remains a major problem
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