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Countries > Nicaragua Nicaragua Flag
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Capital: Managua
Population: 4,400,000
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Nicaragua Map


Location: Middle America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Costa Rica and Honduras

Geographic coordinates: 13 00 N, 85 00 W

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

total : 129,494 sq km
land: 120,254 sq km
water: 9,240 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than New York State

Land boundaries:
total: 1,231 km
border countries: Costa Rica 309 km, Honduras 922 km

Coastline: 910 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone : 25-nm security zone
continental shelf: natural prolongation
territorial sea: 200 nm

Climate: tropical in lowlands, cooler in highlands

Terrain: extensive Atlantic coastal plains rising to central interior mountains; narrow Pacific coastal plain interrupted by volcanoes

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mogoton 2,438 m

Natural resources: gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, timber, fish

Land use:
arable land : 9%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 46%
forests and woodland: 27%
other : 17% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 880 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards: destructive earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, and occasionally severe hurricanes

Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Desertification, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea


Population: 5,023,818 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 38.3% (male 980,621; female 945,386)
15-64 years:58.7% (male 1,464,468; female 1,483,082)
65 years and over :3% (male 65,610; female 84,651) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.09% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 26.98 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 4.76 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth:1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years : 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years:0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 32.52 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.37 years
male:67.39 years
female : 71.44 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.09 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun : Nicaraguan(s)
adjective: Nicaraguan

Ethnic groups: mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 69%, white 17%, black 9%, Amerindian 5%

Religions: Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant 5%

Languages: Spanish (official)
note: English- and Amerindian-speaking minorities on Atlantic coast

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 68.2% (1999)
male : 67.1%
female: 70.5% (2000 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Nicaragua
conventional short form : Nicaragua
local long form: Republica de Nicaragua
local short form : Nicaragua

Data code: NU

Government type: republic

National capital: Managua

Administrative divisions: 15 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento), 2 autonomous regions* (regiones autonomistas, singular - region autonomista); Boaco, Carazo, Chinandega, Chontales, Esteli, Granada, Jinotega, Leon, Madriz, Managua, Masaya, Matagalpa, Nueva Segovia, Rio San Juan, Rivas, Atlantico Norte*, Atlantico Sur*

Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)

National holiday: Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

Constitution: 9 January 1987

Legal system: civil law system; Supreme Court may review administrative acts

Suffrage: 16 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state:President Enrique BOLANOS Geyer (since 10 January 2002); Vice President Jose RIZO Castellon (since 10 January 2002); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Enrique BOLANOS Geyer (since 10 January 2002); Vice President Jose RIZO Castellon (since 10 January 2002); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 4 November 2001 (next to be held by November 2006)
election results: Enrique BOLANOS Geyer (PLC) elected president - 56.3%, Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra (FSLN) 42.3%, Alberto SABORIO (PC) 1.4%; Jose RIZO Castellon elected vice president

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (93 seats; members are elected by proportional representation to serve five-year terms)
elections:last held 4 November 2001 (next to be held by November 2006)
election results:percent of vote by party - Liberal Alliance (ruling party - includes PLC, PALI, PLIUN, and PUCA) 46.03%, FSLN 36.55%, PCCN 3.73%, PCN 2.12%, MRS 1.33%; seats by party - Liberal Alliance 42, FSLN 36, PCCN 4, PCN 3, PRONAL 2, MRS 1, PRN 1, PC 1, PLI 1, AU 1, UNO-96 1

Judicial branch:Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (16 judges elected for five-year terms by the National Assembly)

Political parties and leaders: Conservative Party of Nicaragua or PCN [Dr. Fernando AGUERO Rocha]; Independent Liberal Party or PLI [Virgilio GODOY]; Liberal Alliance (ruling alliance including Liberal Constitutional Party or PLC, New Liberal Party or PALI, Independent Liberal Party for National Unity or PLIUN, and Central American Unionist Party or PUCA) [leader NA]; National Conservative Party or PC [Pedro SOLARZANO, Noel VIDAURRE]; National Project or PRONAL [Benjamin LANZAS]; Nicaraguan Party of the Christian Path or PCCN [Guillermo OSORNO, Roberto RODRIGUEZ]; Nicaraguan Resistance Party or PRN [Salvador TALAVERA]; Sandinista National Liberation Front or FSLN [Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra]; Sandinista Renovation Movement or MRS [Sergio RAMIREZ]; Unity Alliance or AU [Alejandro SERRANO]; Union Nacional Opositora 96 or UNO-96 [Alfredo CESAR Aguirre

Political pressure groups and leaders: National Workers Front or FNT is a Sandinista umbrella group of eight labor unions including - Farm Workers Association or ATC, Health Workers Federation or FETASALUD, Heroes and Martyrs Confederation of Professional Associations or CONAPRO, National Association of Educators of Nicaragua or ANDEN, National Union of Employees or UNE, National Union of Farmers and Ranchers or UNAG, Sandinista Workers Central or CST, and Union of Journalists of Nicaragua or UPN; Permanent Congress of Workers or CPT is an umbrella group of four non-Sandinista labor unions including - Autonomous Nicaraguan Workers Central or CTN-A, Confederation of Labor Unification or CUS, Independent General Confederation of Labor or CGT-I, and Labor Action and Unity Central or CAUS; Nicaraguan Workers' Central or CTN is an independent labor union; Superior Council of Private Enterprise or COSEP is a confederation of business groups

International organization participation: BCIE, CACM, CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Carlos J. ULVERT
chancery: 1627 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 939-6570
consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Oliver P. GARZA
embassy: Kilometer 4.5 Carretera Sur., Managua
mailing address : APO AA 34021
telephone: [505] (2) 666010 through 666013, 666015 through 18, 666026, 666027, 666032 through 33
FAX: [505] (2) 669074

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, and blue with the national coat of arms centered in the white band; the coat of arms features a triangle encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA on the top and AMERICA CENTRAL on the bottom; similar to the flag of El Salvador, which features a round emblem encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE EL SALVADOR EN LA AMERICA CENTRAL centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Honduras, which has five blue stars arranged in an X pattern centered in the white band


Economy - overview: Nicaragua, one of the hemisphere's poorest countries, faces low per capita income, flagging socio-economic indicators, and huge external debt. Distribution of income is extremely unequal. While the country has made progress toward macroeconomic stabilization over the past few years, a banking crisis and scandal has shaken the economy. Managua will continue to be dependent on international aid and debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Donors have made aid conditional on improving governability, the openness of government financial operation, poverty alleviation, and human rights. Nicaragua met the conditions for additional debt service relief in December 2000. Growth should move up in 2002 because of increased private investment and recovery in the global economy.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $12.3 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 2.5% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $2,500 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 33%
industry: 23%
services: 44% (2000)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 7.4% (2001 est.)

Labor force:
total : 1.7 million (1999)
by occupation: services 43%, agriculture 42%, industry 15% (1999 est.)

Unemployment rate: 23% plus considerable underemployment (2001 est.)

revenues: $726 million
expenditures:$908 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)

Industries: food processing, chemicals, machinery and metal products, textiles, clothing, petroleum refining and distribution, beverages, footwear, wood

Industrial production growth rate: 4.4% (2000 est.)

Electricity - capacity: 417,700 kW (1995)

Electricity - production: 2.233 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 2.176 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: coffee, bananas, sugarcane, cotton, rice, corn, cassava (tapioca), citrus, beans; beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products

total value: $609.5 million (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities: meat, coffee, cotton, sugar, seafood, gold, bananas
partners: US 57.7%, Germany 5.3%, Canada 4.2%, Costa Rica 3.3%, Honduras 3% (2000)

total value : $1.6 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities: consumer goods, machinery and equipment, petroleum products
partners: US 23.9%, Costa Rica 11.4%, Venezuela 9.9%, Guatemala 7.9%, Mexico 5.9% (2000)

Debt - external: $6.1 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA

Currency: 1 gold cordoba (NIO) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: gold cordobas per US dollar - 13.88 (January 2002), 13.37 (2001), 12.69 (2000), 11.81 (1999), 10.58 (1998), 9.45 (1997)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 140,000 (1996)

Telephone system: inadequate system being upgraded by foreign investment
domestic :low-capacity microwave radio relay and wire system being expanded; connected to Central American Microwave System
international: satellite earth stations - 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region) and 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 63, FM 32, shortwave 1 (1998)

Radios: 1.24 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 3 (plus seven low-power repeaters) (1997)

Televisions: 320,000 (1997)


total:6 km
narrow gauge: 6 km 1.067-m gauge - carries mostly passengers from Chichigalpa to Ingenio San Antonio (2001)

total : 16,382 km
paved: 1,818 km
unpaved: 14,564 km (1998)

Waterways: 2,220 km, including 2 large lakes

Pipelines: crude oil 56 km

Ports and harbors: Bluefields, Corinto, El Bluff, Puerto Cabezas, Puerto Sandino, Rama, San Juan del Sur

Merchant marine: none (2002 est.)

Airports: 182 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m:2
1,524 to 2,437 m : 3
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 3 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 171
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 25
under 914 m:145 (2001)


Military branches: Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force

Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,308,430 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males:802,779 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males :58,232 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $26 million (FY98)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.2% (FY98)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: territorial disputes with Colombia over the Archipelago de San Andres y Providencia and Quita Sueno Bank; with respect to the maritime boundary question in the Golfo de Fonseca, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) referred the disputants to an earlier agreement in this century and advised that some tripartite resolution among El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua likely would be required; maritime boundary dispute with Honduras

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for cocaine destined for the US

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