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People and Society






Explored and settled by the Spanish in the 16th century, Panama broke with Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela - named the Republic of Gran Colombia. When the latter dissolved in 1830, Panama remained part of Colombia. With US backing, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903 and promptly signed a treaty with the US allowing for the construction of a canal and US sovereignty over a strip of land on either side of the structure (the Panama Canal Zone). The Panama Canal was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. In 1977, an agreement was signed for the complete transfer of the Canal from the US to Panama by the end of the century. Certain portions of the Zone and increasing responsibility over the Canal were turned over in the subsequent decades. With US help, dictator Manuel NORIEGA was deposed in 1989. The entire Panama Canal, the area supporting the Canal, and remaining US military bases were transferred to Panama by the end of 1999. In October 2006, Panamanians approved an ambitious plan (estimated to cost $5.3 billion) to expand the Canal. The project, which began in 2007 and could double the Canal's capacity, is expected to be completed in 2014-15.


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People And Society

Noun Panamanian(s)
Adjective Panamanian

Ethnic groups
Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 70%, Amerindian and mixed (West Indian) 14%, white 10%, Amerindian 6%

Spanish (official), English 14%
Note Many Panamanians are bilingual

Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant 15%

Population World Ranking: 132
3,510,045 (July 2012 est.)

Age structure
0-14 years
28.6% (male 504,726/female 484,291)
15-64 years
64.2% (male 1,123,777/female 1,098,661)
65 years and over
7.2% (male 115,425/female 133,582) (2011 est.)

Median age
Total 27.8 years
Male 27.4 years
Female 28.2 years (2012 est.)

Population growth rate World Ranking: 86
1.41% (2012 est.)

Birth rate World Ranking: 95
19.17 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate World Ranking: 197
4.69 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate World Ranking: 135
-0.38 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Urban population 75% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization
2.3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population
PANAMA CITY (capital) 1.346 million (2009)

Sex ratio
At birth 1.04 male(s)/female
Under 15 years 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years 1.02 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: 79
92 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate World Ranking: 137
Total 11.32 deaths/1,000 live births
Male 12.09 deaths/1,000 live births
10.52 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)

Life expectancy at birth World Ranking: 56
Total population 77.96 years
Male 75.18 years
Female 80.86 years (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate World Ranking: 85
2.43 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Health expenditures World Ranking: 48
8.3% of GDP (2009)

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

Hospital bed density
2.2 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Hiv/aids - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 52
0.9% (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - people living with hiv/aids World Ranking: 78
20,000 (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - deaths World Ranking: 60
1,500 (2009 est.)

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

Children under the age of 5 years underweight World Ranking: 94
3.9% (2008)

Education expenditures World Ranking: 110
3.8% of GDP (2008)

Age 15 and over can read and write
Total population 91.9%
Male 92.5%
Female 91.2% (2000 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
Total 13 years
Male 13 years
Female 14 years (2008)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 World Ranking: 75
Total 14.9%
Male 11.7%
Female 21.1% (2008)


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  Panama (Panama City):

  GPS points from Panama (Panama City)

Quebrada Torno Sabalo Provincia De Colon

La Chacara Provincia De Veraguas

Okanti Tian Kuna Yala

Cano Del Valle Provincia De Panama

Quebrada Lolescanos Provincia De Chiriqui

Estero Aguadulce Provincia De Cocle

Cerro Las Tetas Provincia De Veraguas

Paso Real Provincia De Los Santos
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