Demographics of Costa Rica

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This article is about the demographic features of the population of Costa Rica, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Costa Ricans
costarricenses
Languages
Costa Rican Spanish, Limonese Creole, Bribri, Ngäbere
Religion
Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism and minorities of other religions.
Related ethnic groups
Spaniards, Italian Costa Rican, Nahuatl, Other European peoples, Afro-Costa Rican, Other Amerindian peoples, Chinese people in Costa Rica
Demographics of Costa Rica, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands.

According to the United Nations, in 2009 Costa Rica has an estimated population of 4,579,000 people. Together, whites and mestizos make up a 94% of the population, 3% are black people, 1% Amerindians, 1% Asians, and 1% other.

Just under 3% of the population is of black African descent who are called Afro-Costa Ricans or West Indians and are English-speaking descendants of 19th century black Jamaican immigrant workers. Another 1% is composed of ethnic Chinese, and less than 1% are Middle Easterners, mainly of Lebanese descent but also Palestinians.

There is also a community of North American retirees from the United States and Canada, followed by fairly large numbers of European Union expatriates (esp. Scandinavians and from Germany) come to retire as well, and Australians.[citation needed]

The indigenous population today numbers about 60,000 (1% of the population) with some Miskito and Garifuna (a population of mixed black African and Carib Indian descent) living in the coastal regions.

Descendants of 19th century West Indian and Jamaican immigrant workers constitute an English-speaking minority and at 3% of the population—number about 96,000 to 100,000.[citation needed]

An estimated 10% of the Costa Rican population is made up of Nicaraguans.[1] There is also a number of Colombian refugees. Moreover, Costa Rica took in lots of refugees from a range of other Latin American countries fleeing civil wars and dictatorships during the 1970s and 80s - notably from Chile and Argentina.

Almost 100,000 Costa Ricans (2% of the country's population) live abroad, mostly in the United States, Mexico and Spain.

Population and ancestry[edit]

In 2009, Costa Rica has a population of 4,579,000 and it's increasing at a rate of 1.5% per year, still relatively high. If this rate continues, the population will increase to 9,158,000 in about 46 years.[2] The population density is nearly 90 people per square km, the third highest in Central America.[3]

Approximately 40% live in rural areas and 60% in urban areas. The rate of urbanization estimated for the period 2005–2010 is 2.3% per annum,[4] one of the highest among developing countries.

Province Province population City City population
San Jose Province 1,345,750 San Jose de Costa Rica 350,535
Alajuela Province 716,286 Alajuela 46,554
Cartago Province 432,395 Cartago 156,600
Puntarenas Province 357,483 Puntarenas 102,504
Heredia Province 354,732 Heredia 42,600
Limon Province 339,395 Puerto Limon 105,000
Guanacaste Province 264,238 Liberia 98,751

Education[edit]

According to the United Nations, Costa Rica's literacy rate stands at 95.8%,[5] the fifth highest among Latin American countries. Costa Rica's Education Index in 2006 was 0.882; higher than that of richer countries, such as Singapore and Mexico. However Costa Rica's gross enrolment ratio is only 73.0%, smaller than that of the neighbors countries of El Salvador and Honduras.[6]

All students must complete primary school and secondary school, between 6 and 15 years. But some students drop out because they must work to help support their families. In 2007 there were 536,436 pupils enrolled in 3,771 primary schools and 377,900 students attended public and private secondary schools.[7]

Costa Rica's main universities are the University of Costa Rica, in San Jose and the National University of Costa Rica, in Heredia. Costa Rica also has several private universities.

Emigration[edit]

Costa Rica's emigration is among the smallest in the Caribbean Basin. About 3% of the country's people live in another country as immigrants. The main destination countries are the United States, Spain, Mexico and other Central American countries. In 2005, there were 127,061 Costa Ricans living in another country as immigrants. Remittances were $513,000,000 in 2006 and they represented 2.3% of the country's GDP.

Immigration[edit]

Costa Rica's immigration is among the largest in the Caribbean Basin. According to the 2011 census 385,899 residents were born abroad.[8] The vast majority were born in Nicaragua (287,766). Other countries of origin were Colombia (16,514), United States (15,898) and Panama (11,250). Outward Remittances were $246,000,000 in 2006.

Vital statistics[9][10][edit]

Average population (x 1000) Live births Deaths Natural change Crude birth rate (per 1000) Crude death rate (per 1000) Natural change (per 1000)
1934 558 23 858 10 020 13 838 44.2 18.6 25.6
1935 572 24 934 12 630 12 304 45.2 22.9 22.3
1936 585 25 450 11 811 13 639 45.2 21.0 24.2
1937 599 25 624 11 032 14 592 44.5 19.2 25.3
1938 615 26 839 10 422 16 417 45.5 17.7 27.8
1939 631 27 027 11 687 15 340 44.7 19.3 25.4
1940 648 28 004 11 211 16 793 45.3 18.1 27.2
1941 664 28 823 11 429 17 394 45.5 18.1 27.4
1942 680 28 263 13 559 14 704 43.7 21.0 22.7
1943 697 30 468 11 734 18 734 46.1 17.7 28.4
1944 716 29 935 11 295 18 640 44.2 16.7 27.5
1945 736 32 529 10 768 21 761 46.8 15.5 31.3
1946 759 32 159 9 971 22 188 45.0 13.9 31.1
1947 787 32 600 10 967 21 633 44.7 14.9 29.8
1948 808 35 956 10 666 25 290 44.5 13.2 31.3
1949 832 36 774 10 566 26 208 44.2 12.7 31.5
1950 966 39 943 10 480 29 463 41.3 10.8 30.5
1951 994 43 068 10 390 32 678 43.3 10.5 32.9
1952 1 025 45 816 10 672 35 144 44.7 10.4 34.3
1953 1 058 45 697 11 353 34 344 43.2 10.7 32.5
1954 1 093 48 857 10 681 38 176 44.7 9.8 34.9
1955 1 129 49 800 11 000 39 269 44.1 9.7 34.8
1956 1 167 51 350 10 476 40 874 44.0 9.0 35.1
1957 1 206 52 860 11 544 41 316 43.9 9.6 34.3
1958 1 246 53 919 10 608 43 311 43.3 8.5 34.8
1959 1 289 57 801 11 160 46 641 44.8 8.7 36.2
1960 1 334 59 701 11 035 48 666 44.8 8.3 36.5
1961 1 382 60 641 10 644 49 997 43.9 7.7 36.2
1962 1 431 60 750 11 953 48 797 42.5 8.4 34.1
1963 1 482 62 821 12 519 50 302 42.4 8.5 34.0
1964 1 533 61 870 13 527 48 343 40.4 8.8 31.6
1965 1 583 62 400 12 814 49 586 39.4 8.1 31.3
1966 1 633 62 330 11 403 50 927 38.2 7.0 31.2
1967 1 681 61 229 11 289 49 940 36.4 6.7 29.7
1968 1 729 60 902 10 653 50 249 35.2 6.2 29.1
1969 1 776 59 636 11 599 48 037 33.6 6.5 27.1
1970 1 822 59 557 11 504 48 053 32.7 6.3 26.4
1971 1 867 58 138 10 575 47 563 31.2 5.7 25.5
1972 1 911 59 274 10 855 48 419 31.0 5.7 25.4
1973 1 956 58 177 9 702 48 475 29.8 5.0 24.8
1974 2 002 57 749 9 512 48 237 28.9 4.8 24.1
1975 2 052 59 175 9 615 49 560 28.9 4.7 24.2
1976 2 105 60 668 9 356 51 312 28.8 4.4 24.4
1977 2 162 64 190 8 907 55 283 29.7 4.1 25.6
1978 2 222 67 722 8 625 59 097 30.5 3.9 26.6
1979 2 284 69 318 9 143 60 175 30.4 4.0 26.4
1980 2 348 70 048 9 268 61 780 29.8 3.9 26.3
1981 2 415 72 294 8 990 63 304 30.0 3.7 26.2
1982 2 483 73 168 9 168 64 000 29.5 3.7 25.8
1983 2 554 72 944 9 432 63 536 28.6 3.7 24.9
1984 2 626 76 878 9 931 66 217 29.0 3.8 25.2
1985 2 699 84 337 10 493 73 841 31.3 3.9 27.4
1986 2 773 83 194 10 449 72 745 30.0 3.8 26.3
1987 2 848 80 326 10 687 69 639 28.2 3.8 24.5
1988 2 924 81 376 10 944 70 432 27.8 3.7 24.1
1989 3 001 83 460 11 272 72 188 27.8 3.8 24.1
1990 3 079 81 939 11 366 70 573 26.6 3.7 22.9
1991 3 156 81 110 11 792 69 318 25.7 3.7 22.0
1992 3 234 80 164 12 253 67 911 24.8 3.8 21.0
1993 3 312 79 714 12 544 67 170 24.1 3.8 20.3
1994 3 394 80 391 13 313 67 078 23.7 3.9 19.8
1995 3 478 80 306 14 061 66 245 23.1 4.0 19.0
1996 3 567 79 203 13 993 65 210 22.2 3.9 18.3
1997 3 658 78 018 14 260 63 758 21.3 3.9 17.4
1998 3 751 76 982 14 708 62 274 20.5 3.9 16.6
1999 3 842 78 526 15 052 63 474 20.4 3.9 16.5
2000 3 930 78 178 14 944 63 234 19.9 3.8 16.1
2001 4 013 76 401 15 608 60 793 19.0 3.9 15.1
2002 4 094 71 144 15 004 56 140 17.4 3.7 13.7
2003 4 171 72 938 15 800 57 138 17.5 3.8 13.7
2004 4 246 72 247 15 949 56 298 17.0 3.8 13.3
2005 4 320 71 548 16 139 55 409 16.6 3.7 12.8
2006 4 392 71 291 16 766 54 525 16.2 3.8 12.4
2007 4 463 73 144 17 071 56 073 16.4 3.8 12.6
2008 4 533 75 187 18 021 57 166 16.6 4.0 12.6
2009 4 601 75 000 18 560 56 440 16.3 4.0 12.3
2010 4 670 70 922 19 077 51 845 15.2 4.1 11.1
2011 4 738 73 459 18 801 54 658 15.5 4.0 11.5

Ethnic groups[edit]

  • White and Castizo - 2 831 382 = 65.80%
  • Mestizo - 599 500 = 13.65%
  • Mulatos - 289 209 = 6.72%
  • Black/Afro-Caribbean - 44 518 = 1.03%
  • Amerindian - 104 143 = 2.42%
  • Chinese/Asian - 9 170 = 0.21%
  • Immigrants - 385 899 = 9.03% (Mostly from Nicaragua, Colombia and United States)
  • Other 1.15%

Today most Costa Ricans are of primarily Spanish ancestry with minorities of German, Italian, French, Dutch, British, Swedish and Greek ancestry. 40% being White, 40% Castizo, and 14% being Mestizo. European and western-oriented, plus American pop culture has a large impact in Costa Rica, also thrived in a fairly democratic prosperous economy.

European immigration used Costa Rica to get across the isthmus of Central America as well to emigrate on the USA West Coast (California) in the late 19th century and to the 1910s before the Panama Canal opened. Other Europeans ethnic groups known to lives in Costa Rica are Russians, Danes, Belgians, Portuguese, Croats, Hungarians, Turks, Armenians and Georgians. Without a doubt Costa Rica is the Central American country with the largest white population.

Costa Rica has three small minority groups: blacks, Indians and Asians (mostly Chinese). Blacks represent about 3% of the population. Indians and Asians represent 1.5% each.

Blacks live along the Caribbean coast. Their ancestors came to Costa Rica from Jamaica in the late 19th century to build railroads and to work on the banana plantations. The Indians live primarily in isolated communities in the highlands and along both coasts. Most of them still keep their traditional ways of life.

Languages[edit]

Nearly all Costa Ricans speak Spanish; but many blacks speak a traditional Jamaican dialect of English, also most of the Natives speak their own language.

Religions[edit]

According to the World Factbook the main religions are: Roman Catholic, 76.3%; Evangelical, 13.7%; Jehovah's Witnesses, 1.3%; other Protestant, 0.7%; other, 4.8%; none, 3.2%.






Circle frame.svg

Religion in Costa Rica[11][12]

  Catholicism (70.5%)
  Protestantism (13.8%)
  Irreligion (11.3%)
  Buddhism (2.1%)
  Other religions (2.2%)
Basilica Los Angeles, Cartago, Costa Rica
LDS Temple, San José, Costa Rica

The most recent nationwide survey of religion in Costa Rica, conducted in 2007 by the University of Costa Rica, found that 70.5 percent of the population identify themselves as Roman Catholics (with 44.9 percent practicing, 25.6 percent nonpracticing), 13.8 percent are Evangelical Protestants, 11.3 percent report that they do not have a religion, and 4.3 percent declare that they belong to another religion.[11]

Apart from the dominant Catholic religion, there are several other religious groups in the country.[11] Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopal, Baptist, and other Protestant groups have significant membership.[11] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) claim more than 35,000 members and has a temple in San Jose that served as a regional worship center for Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, and Honduras.[11][13] Although they represent less than 1 percent of the population, Jehovah's Witnesses have a strong presence on the Caribbean coast.[11] Seventh-day Adventists operate a university that attracts students from throughout the Caribbean Basin.[11] The Unification Church maintains its continental headquarters for Latin America in San Jose.[11] Non-Christian religious groups, including followers of Judaism, Islam, Taoism, Hare Krishna, Paganism, Wicca, Scientology, Tenrikyo, and the Bahá'í Faith, claim membership throughout the country, with the majority of worshipers residing in the Central Valley (the area of the capital).[11] While there is no general correlation between religion and ethnicity, indigenous peoples are more likely to practice animism than other religions.[11]

Article 75 of the Costa Rican Constitution states that the "Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Religion is the official religion of the Republic".[14] That same article provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respects this right in practice.[11] The US government found no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice in 2007.[11]

Demographic statistics[edit]

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook and from the United Nations unless otherwise indicated.

Median age[edit]

Total: 27.5 years
Male: 27.1
Female: 27.9

Sex ratio[edit]

At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)
Total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

Infant mortality rate[edit]

9.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2005–2010)

Under five mortality rate[edit]

11.4/1,000 live births (2005–2010)

Life expectancy at birth[edit]

Total population: 78.8 years
Male: 76.5 years
Female: 81.2 years (2005–2010)

HIV/AIDS[edit]

Adult prevalence rate: 0.4% (2007)
People living with HIV/AIDS: 9,700 (2007)
Deaths: fewer than 200 (2007)

Literacy[edit]

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 94.9% (2007/2008)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document "2006 edition".

External links[edit]