Costa Rica: People & Society#

Population4,872,543 (July 2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Costa Rican(s)
adjective: Costa Rican
Ethnic groupswhite or mestizo 83.6%, mulato 6.7%, indigenous 2.4%, black of African descent 1.1%, other 1.1%, none 2.9%, unspecified 2.2% (2011 est.)
LanguagesSpanish (official), English
ReligionsRoman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, Jehovah's Witness 1.3%, other Protestant 0.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%
Demographic profileCosta Rica's political stability, high standard of living, and well-developed social benefits system set it apart from its Central American neighbors. Through the government's sustained social spending - almost 20% of GDP annually - Costa Rica has made tremendous progress toward achieving its goal of providing universal access to education, healthcare, clean water, sanitation, and electricity. Since the 1970s, expansion of these services has led to a rapid decline in infant mortality, an increase in life expectancy at birth, and a sharp decrease in the birth rate. The average number of children born per women has fallen from about 7 in the 1960s to 3.5 in the early 1980s to below replacement level today. Costa Rica's poverty rate is lower than in most Latin American countries, but it has stalled at around 20% for almost two decades. Costa Rica is a popular regional immigration destination because of its job opportunities and social programs. Almost 9% of the population is foreign-born, with Nicaraguans comprising nearly three-quarters of the foreign population. Many Nicaraguans who perform unskilled seasonal labor enter Costa Rica illegally or overstay their visas, which continues to be a source of tension. Less than 3% of Costa Rica's population lives abroad. The overwhelming majority of expatriates have settled in the United States after completing a university degree or in order to work in a highly skilled field.
Age structure0-14 years: 22.82% (male 568,738/female 543,312)
15-24 years: 16.75% (male 416,046/female 399,931)
25-54 years: 43.99% (male 1,078,000/female 1,065,327)
55-64 years: 8.9% (male 211,670/female 222,183)
65 years and over: 7.54% (male 169,646/female 197,690) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 45.4%
youth dependency ratio: 32.4%
elderly dependency ratio: 12.9%
potential support ratio: 7.7% (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 30.9 years
male: 30.4 years
female: 31.3 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate1.19% (2016 est.)
Birth rate15.7 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate4.6 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate0.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Population distributionroughly half of the nation's population resides in urban areas; the capital of San Jose is the largest city and home to approximately one-fifth of the population
Urbanizationurban population: 76.8% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.74% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - populationSAN JOSE (capital) 1.17 million (2015)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Maternal mortality rate25 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 8.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 78.6 years
male: 75.9 years
female: 81.4 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate1.9 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate76.2% (2011)
Health expenditures9.3% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density1.11 physicians/1,000 population (2013)
Hospital bed density1.2 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 99.6% of population
rural: 91.9% of population
total: 97.8% of population
urban: 0.4% of population
rural: 8.1% of population
total: 2.2% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 95.2% of population
rural: 92.3% of population
total: 94.5% of population
urban: 4.8% of population
rural: 7.7% of population
total: 5.5% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.33% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS10,000 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths200 (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever

note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate24% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight1.1% (2009)
Education expenditures7.6% of GDP (2015)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.8%
male: 97.7%
female: 97.8% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2014)
Child labor - children ages 5-14total number: 39,082
percentage: 5% (2002 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 25%
male: 21.3%
female: 31.4% (2014 est.)