Nicaragua: People & Society#

Population5,966,798 (July 2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Nicaraguan(s)
adjective: Nicaraguan
Ethnic groupsmestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 69%, white 17%, black 9%, Amerindian 5%
LanguagesSpanish (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.)
ReligionsRoman 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.)
Demographic profileDespite being one of the poorest countries in Latin America, Nicaragua has improved its access to potable water and sanitation and has ameliorated its life expectancy, infant and child mortality, and immunization rates. However, income distribution is very uneven, and the poor, agriculturalists, and indigenous people continue to have less access to healthcare services. Nicaragua's total fertility rate has fallen from around 6 children per woman in 1980 to just above replacement level today, but the high birth rate among adolescents perpetuates a cycle of poverty and low educational attainment. Nicaraguans emigrate primarily to Costa Rica and to a lesser extent the United States. Nicaraguan men have been migrating seasonally to Costa Rica to harvest bananas and coffee since the early 20th century. Political turmoil, civil war, and natural disasters from the 1970s through the 1990s dramatically increased the flow of refugees and permanent migrants seeking jobs, higher wages, and better social and healthcare benefits. Since 2000, Nicaraguan emigration to Costa Rica has slowed and stabilized. Today roughly 300,000 Nicaraguans are permanent residents of Costa Rica - about 75% of the foreign population - and thousands more migrate seasonally for work, many illegally.
Age structure0-14 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 ratiostotal dependency ratio: 54.1%
youth dependency ratio: 46.3%
elderly dependency ratio: 7.8%
potential support ratio: 12.8% (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 25.2 years
male: 24.3 years
female: 26 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate0.99% (2016 est.)
Birth rate17.9 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate5.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-2.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Population distributionthe overwhelming majority of the population resides in the western half of the country, with much of the urban growth centered in the capital city of Managua; coastal areas also show large population clusters
Urbanizationurban population: 58.8% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.96% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - populationMANAGUA (capital) 956,000 (2015)
Sex ratioat 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 birth19.2
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2011/12 est.)
Maternal mortality rate150 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 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 birthtotal population: 73.2 years
male: 71.1 years
female: 75.5 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate1.92 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate80.4% (2011/12)
Health expenditures9% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density0.9 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density0.9 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
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 accessimproved:
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 rate0.27% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS9,900 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths300 (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

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 rate15.5% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight5.7% (2007)
Education expenditures4.5% of GDP (2010)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 82.8%
male: 82.4%
female: 83.2% (2015 est.)
Child labor - children ages 5-14total number: 223,992
percentage: 14%

note: data represent children ages 5-17 (2005 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 11.9%
male: 9.8%
female: 15.6% (2010 est.)