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North America
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South America


Administrative divisions (GPS Maps)


People and Society






Although explored by the Spanish early in the 16th century, initial attempts at colonizing Costa Rica proved unsuccessful due to a combination of factors, including: disease from mosquito-infested swamps, brutal heat, resistance by natives, and pirate raids. It was not until 1563 that a permanent settlement of Cartago was established in the cooler, fertile central highlands. The area remained a colony for some two and a half centuries. In 1821, Costa Rica became one of several Central American provinces that jointly declared their independence from Spain. Two years later it joined the United Provinces of Central America, but this federation disintegrated in 1838, at which time Costa Rica proclaimed its sovereignty and independence. Since the late 19th century, only two brief periods of violence have marred the country's democratic development. In 1949, Costa Rica dissolved its armed forces. Although it still maintains a large agricultural sector, Costa Rica has expanded its economy to include strong technology and tourism industries. The standard of living is relatively high. Land ownership is widespread.


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People And Society

Noun Costa Rican(s)
Adjective Costa Rican

Ethnic groups
White (including mestizo) 94%, black 3%, Amerindian 1%, Chinese 1%, other 1%

Spanish (official), English

Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%, other Protestant 0.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%

Population World Ranking: 121
4,636,348 (July 2012 est.)

Age structure
0-14 years
24.6% (male 574,876/female 549,664)
15-64 years
69.1% (male 1,588,940/female 1,571,573)
65 years and over
6.4% (male 135,017/female 156,492) (2011 est.)

Median age
Total 29.2 years
Male 28.7 years
Female 29.6 years (2012 est.)

Population growth rate World Ranking: 90
1.288% (2012 est.)

Birth rate World Ranking: 123
16.4 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate World Ranking: 201
4.38 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate World Ranking: 57
0.86 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Urban population 64% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization
2.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population
SAN JOSE (capital) 1.416 million (2009)

Sex ratio
At birth 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over 0.86 male(s)/female
Total population
1.01 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate World Ranking: 115
40 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate World Ranking: 152
Total 9.2 deaths/1,000 live births
Male 10.03 deaths/1,000 live births
8.32 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)

Life expectancy at birth World Ranking: 58
Total population 77.89 years
Male 75.26 years
Female 80.65 years (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate World Ranking: 137
1.92 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Health expenditures World Ranking: 25
10.5% of GDP (2009)

Physicians density
1.32 physicians/1,000 population (2000)

Hospital bed density
1.2 beds/1,000 population (2008)

Hiv/aids - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 86
0.3% (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - people living with hiv/aids World Ranking: 99
9,800 (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - deaths World Ranking: 83
Fewer than 500 (2009 est.)

Major infectious diseases
Degree of risk Intermediate
Food or waterborne diseases Bacterial diarrhea
Vectorborne diseases Dengue fever (2009)

Education expenditures World Ranking: 24
6.3% of GDP (2009)

Age 15 and over can read and write
Total population 94.9%
Male 94.7%
Female 95.1% (2000 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
Total 12 years
Male 12 years
Female 12 years (2005)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 World Ranking: 98
Total 11%
Male 9.6%
Female 13.4% (2008)


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  Costa Rica (San Jose):

  GPS points from Costa Rica (San Jose)

Quebrada Los Negros Provincia De San Jose

Las Canas Provincia De Guanacaste

Punta Rodriguez Provincia De Puntarenas

Cajon Provincia De San Jose

San Ramon Alajuela

Rio Bagaces Provincia De Guanacaste

Pacaya Provincia De San Jose

Burreto Point Provincia De Puntarenas
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