Area: 51,100 sq. km (19,730 sq. mi.) about the size of the states of
Vermont and New Hampshire combined.
Cities: Capital--San Jose (greater metropolitan area pop. 2.1
million, the greater metropolitan area as defined by the Ministry of
Planning and Economic Policy includes the cities of Alajuela,
Cartago, and Heredia). Other major cities outside the San Jose
capital area--Puntarenas, Limon.
Terrain: A rugged, central range separates the eastern and western
Climate: Mild in the central highlands, tropical and subtropical in
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Costa Rican(s).
Population (July 2005 est.): 4.02 million.
Annual growth rate (2005 est.): 1.48%.
Ethnic groups: European and some mestizo 94%, African origin 3%,
Chinese 1%, indigenous 1%, other 1%.
Religion: Roman Catholic 76.3%, Protestant approx. 15.7%, others
4.8%, none 3.2%.
Languages: Spanish, with a southwestern Caribbean Creole dialect of
English spoken around the Limon area.
Education: Years compulsory--9. Attendance--99% grades
1-6, 71% grades 7-9. Literacy--96%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--9.95/1,000. Life expectancy--men
74.26 yrs., women 79.55 yrs.
Work force (2004 est., 1.81 million): Services--71.3%;
Type: Democratic republic.
Independence: September 15, 1821.
Constitution: November 7, 1949.
Branches: Executive--president (head of government and chief
of state) elected for one 4-year term, two vice presidents, Cabinet
(15 ministers, one of whom also is vice president). Legislative--57-deputy
unicameral Legislative Assembly elected at 4-year intervals.
Judicial--Supreme Court of Justice (22 magistrates elected by
Legislative Assembly for renewable 8-year terms). The offices of the
Ombudsman, Comptroller General, and Procurator General assert
autonomous oversight of the government.
Subdivisions: Seven provinces, divided into 81 cantons, subdivided
into 421 districts.
Political parties: Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC), National
Liberation Party (PLN), Citizen's Action Party (PAC), Libertarian
Movement Party (PML), Costa Rican Renovation Party (PRC), and other
Suffrage: Universal and compulsory at age 18.
GDP (2004): $18.4 billion.
GDP PPP (2004 est.): $37.97 billion.
Inflation (2005 est.): 14%.
Real growth rate (2004 est.): 3.9%.
Per capita income (2004): $4,670. (PPP $9,600--2004 est.)
Unemployment (2004 est.): 6.6%.
Currency: Costa Rica Colon (CRC).
Natural resources: Hydroelectric power, forest products, fisheries
Agriculture (8.5% of GDP): Products--bananas, coffee, beef,
sugarcane, rice, dairy products, vegetables, fruits and ornamental
Industry (29.7% of GDP): Types--electronic components, food
processing, textiles and apparel, construction materials, cement,
Commerce and tourism (61.8% of GDP): Hotels, restaurants, tourist
services, banks, and insurance.
Trade (2004 est.): Exports--$6.18 billion: Integrated
circuits, bananas, pineapples, optical/medical equipment, knit and
woven apparel, coffee, fish and seafood. Major markets--U.S.
44.1%, Europe 21%, Central America 9%. Imports--$7.84
billion: electronic components, machinery, vehicles, consumer goods,
raw materials, chemicals, petroleum products, foods, and fertilizer.
Major suppliers--U.S. 45.9%, Europe 10%, Mexico 3.7% Central
America 5%, Japan 4.8%, Venezuela 4%.