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Countries > Uruguay Uruguay Flag

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Capital: Montevideo
Population: 3,186,000
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Uruguay Map


Location: Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Argentina and Brazil

Geographic coordinates: 33 00 S, 56 00 W

Map references: South America

total: 176,220 sq km
land: 173,620 sq km
water: 2,600 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Washington State

Land boundaries:
total: 1,564 km
border countries : Argentina 579 km, Brazil 985 km

Coastline: 660 km

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
territorial sea : 200 nm; overflight and navigation guaranteed beyond 12 nm

Climate: warm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown

Terrain: mostly rolling plains and low hills; fertile coastal lowland

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Catedral 514 m

Natural resources: fertile soil, hydropower potential, minor minerals

Land use:
arable land: 7%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 77%
forests and woodland: 5%
other : 11% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 1,800 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards: seasonally high winds (the pampero is a chilly and occasional violent wind which blows north from the Argentine pampas), droughts, floods; because of the absence of mountains, which act as weather barriers, all locations are particularly vulnerable to rapid changes in weather fronts

Environment - current issues: substantial pollution from Brazilian industry along border; one-fifth of country affected by acid rain generated by Brazil; water pollution from meat packing/tannery industry; inadequate solid/hazardous waste disposal

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified : Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation


Population: 3,386,575 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years:24.4% (male 422,826; female 402,324)
15-64 years:62.6% (male 1,047,740; female 1,072,032)
65 years and over:13% (male 181,522; female 260,131) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.79% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 17.28 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 9 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.41 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over :0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 14.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population :75.66 years
male: 72.32 years
female :79.17 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.35 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun: Uruguayan(s)
adjective: Uruguayan

Ethnic groups: white 88%, mestizo 8%, black 4%, Amerindian, specifically, the Charrua, which are practically nonexistent and make up probably less than 1%

Religions: Roman Catholic 66% (less than one-half of the adult population attends church regularly), Protestant 2%, Jewish 2%, nonprofessing or other 30%

Languages: Spanish, Portunon, or Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian frontier)

definition : age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.3%
male: 96.9%
female: 97.7% (1995 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form: Oriental Republic of Uruguay
conventional short form: Uruguay
local long form: Republica Oriental del Uruguay
local short form : Uruguay

Data code: UY

Government type: republic

National capital: Montevideo

Administrative divisions: 19 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Artigas, Canelones, Cerro Largo, Colonia, Durazno, Flores, Florida, Lavalleja, Maldonado, Montevideo, Paysandu, Rio Negro, Rivera, Rocha, Salto, San Jose, Soriano, Tacuarembo, Treinta y Tres

Independence: 25 August 1828 (from Brazil)

National holiday: Independence Day, 25 August (1828)

Constitution: 27 November 1966, effective February 1967, suspended 27 June 1973, new constitution rejected by referendum 30 November 1980; constitutional reforms approved by plebiscite 7 January 1997

Legal system: based on Spanish civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Jorge BATLLE Ibanez (since 1 March 2000) and Vice President Luis HIERRO (since 1 March 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government : President Jorge BATLLE Ibanez (since 1 March 2000) and Vice President Luis HIERRO (since 1 March 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections :president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms; election last held 31 October 1999, with runoff election on 28 November 1999 (next to be held NA 2004)
election results: Jorge BATLLE Ibanez elected president; percent of vote - Jorge BATLLE Ibanez 52% in a runoff against Tabare VAZQUEZ 44%

Legislative branch:bicameral General Assembly or Asamblea General consists of Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (30 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and Chamber of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (99 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Senators - last held 31 October 1999 (next to be held NA 2004); Chamber of Representatives - last held 31 October 1999 (next to be held NA 2004)
election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Encuentro Progresista 12, Colorado Party 10, Blanco 7, New Sector/Space Coalition 1; Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Encuentro Progresista 40, Colorado Party 33, Blanco 22, New Sector/Space Coalition 4

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges are nominated by the president and elected for 10-year terms by the General Assembly

Political parties and leaders: Colorado Party [Jorge BATLLE Ibanez]; National Party or Blanco [Luis Alberto LACALLE Herrera]; New Sector/Space Coalition or Nuevo Espacio [Rafael MICHELINI]; Progressive Encounter/Broad Front Coalition or Encuentro Progresista/Frente Amplio [Tabare VAZQUEZ]

International organization participation: AG (observer), CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-11, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, MINURSO, NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, PCA, RG, UN, UNAVEM III, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMOGIP, UNMOT, UNOMIG, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Hugo FERNANDEZ-FAINGOLD
chancery : 2715 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 331-1313 through 1316
FAX : [1] (202) 331-8147
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, Miami, and New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Martin J. SILVERSTEIN
embassy: Lauro Muller 1776, Montevideo
mailing address : APO AA 34035
telephone: [598] (2) 23 60 61, 48 77 77
FAX: [598] (2) 48 86 11

Flag description: nine equal horizontal stripes of white (top and bottom) alternating with blue; there is a white square in the upper hoist-side corner with a yellow sun bearing a human face known as the Sun of May and 16 rays alternately triangular and wavy


Economy - overview:Uruguay's economy is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated workforce, and high levels of social spending. After averaging growth of 5% annually in 1996-98, in 1999-2001 the economy suffered from lower demand in Argentina and Brazil, which together account for nearly half of Uruguay's exports. Despite the severity of the trade shocks, Uruguay's financial indicators remained more stable than those of its neighbors, a reflection of its solid reputation among investors and its investment-grade sovereign bond rating - one of only two in South America. Challenges for the government of President Jorge BATLLE include reducing the budget deficit, expanding Uruguay's trade ties beyond its Mercosur trade partners, and reducing the costs of public services. GDP fell by 1.3% in 2000 and by 1.5% in 2001.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $31 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: -1.5% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $9,200 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture : 6%
industry: 29%
services:65% (2001)

Inflation rate - consumer price index:3.6% (2001)

Labor force:
total: 1.2 million (2001)
by occupation: agriculture 14%, industry 16%, services 70%

Unemployment rate: 15.2% (2001)

revenues:$3.7 billion
expenditures : $4.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $500 million (2000)

Industries: food processing, electrical machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, textiles, chemicals, beverages

Industrial production growth rate: -2.4% (2001 est.)

Electricity - capacity: 2.142 million kW (1995)

Electricity - production: 7.527 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita:7.35 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: wheat, rice, corn, sorghum; livestock; fishing

total value : $2.24 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities: wool and textile manufactures, beef and other animal products, leather, rice
partners: Mercosur partners 40%, EU 20%, US 8% (2001 est.)

total value:$2.9 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities: machinery and equipment, vehicles, chemicals, minerals, plastics, oil
partners: Mercosur partners 44%, EU 18%, US 9% (2001 est.)

Debt - external: $7.7 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: $NA

Currency: 1 Uruguayan peso(UYU) = 100 centesimos

Exchange rates: Uruguayan pesos per US dollar - 14.3325 (January 2002), 13.3191 (2001), 12.0996 (2000), 11.3393 (1999), 10.4719 (1998), 9.4418 (1997)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 929,141 (2001)

Telephone system: fully digitalized
domestic : most modern facilities concentrated in Montevideo; new nationwide microwave radio relay network
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2002)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 91, FM 149, shortwave 7 (2001)

Radios: 1.97 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 20 (2001)

Televisions: 782,000 (1997)


total:2,993 km
standard gauge: 2,993 km 1.435-m gauge
note: of the total route length, 461 km have been taken out of service and 460 km are in only partial use; moreover, not all lines offer passenger service (2001)

total: 8,764 km
paved: 7,800 km
unpaved: 964 km (2001)

Waterways: 1,600 km; used by coastal and shallow-draft river craft

Ports and harbors: Fray Bentos, Montevideo, Nueva Palmira, Paysandu, Punta del Este

Merchant marine:
total:2 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 7,752 GRT/5,228 DWT

Airports: 64 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
2,438 to 3,047 m : 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m:7
under 914 m:2 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total :49
1,524 to 2,437 m:2
914 to 1,523 m: 16
under 914 m:31 (2001)


Military branches: Army, Navy (includes Naval Air Arm, Coast Guard, Marines), Air Force, Grenadier Guards, Coracero Guard, Police

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49 : 824,395 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males: 666,880 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $250 million (1999)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.1% (2000)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: two short sections of the boundary with Brazil are in dispute - Arroyo de la Invernada (Arroio Invernada) area of the Rio Cuareim (Rio Quarai) and the islands at the confluence of the Rio Cuareim (Rio Quarai) and the Uruguay River

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