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Costa Rica vs. Panama

Introduction

Costa RicaPanama
BackgroundAlthough 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.
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. An ambitious expansion project to more than double the Canal's capacity - by allowing for more Canal transits and larger ships - was carried out between 2007 and 2016.

Geography

Costa RicaPanama
LocationCentral America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua and Panama
Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica
Geographic coordinates10 00 N, 84 00 W
9 00 N, 80 00 W
Map referencesCentral America and the Caribbean
Central America and the Caribbean
Areatotal: 51,100 sq km
land: 51,060 sq km
water: 40 sq km
note: includes Isla del Coco
total: 75,420 sq km
land: 74,340 sq km
water: 1,080 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly smaller than West Virginia
slightly smaller than South Carolina
Land boundariestotal: 661 km
border countries (2): Nicaragua 313 km, Panama 348 km
total: 687 km
border countries (2): Colombia 339 km, Costa Rica 348 km
Coastline1,290 km
2,490 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm or edge of continental margin
Climatetropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands
tropical maritime; hot, humid, cloudy; prolonged rainy season (May to January), short dry season (January to May)
Terraincoastal plains separated by rugged mountains including over 100 volcanic cones, of which several are major active volcanoes
interior mostly steep, rugged mountains with dissected, upland plains; coastal plains with rolling hills
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 746 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Chirripo 3,810 m
mean elevation: 360 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Volcan Baru 3,475 m
Natural resourceshydropower
copper, mahogany forests, shrimp, hydropower
Land useagricultural land: 37.1%
arable land 4.9%; permanent crops 6.7%; permanent pasture 25.5%
forest: 51.5%
other: 11.4% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 30.5%
arable land 7.3%; permanent crops 2.5%; permanent pasture 20.7%
forest: 43.6%
other: 25.9% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land1,015 sq km (2012)
321 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsoccasional earthquakes, hurricanes along Atlantic coast; frequent flooding of lowlands at onset of rainy season and landslides; active volcanoes
volcanism: Arenal (elev. 1,670 m), which erupted in 2010, is the most active volcano in Costa Rica; a 1968 eruption destroyed the town of Tabacon; Irazu (elev. 3,432 m), situated just east of San Jose, has the potential to spew ash over the capital city as it did between 1963 and 1965; other historically active volcanoes include Miravalles, Poas, Rincon de la Vieja, and Turrialba
occasional severe storms and forest fires in the Darien area
Environment - current issuesdeforestation and land use change, largely a result of the clearing of land for cattle ranching and agriculture; soil erosion; coastal marine pollution; fisheries protection; solid waste management; air pollution
water pollution from agricultural runoff threatens fishery resources; deforestation of tropical rain forest; land degradation and soil erosion threatens siltation of Panama Canal; air pollution in urban areas; mining threatens natural resources
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography - notefour volcanoes, two of them active, rise near the capital of San Jose in the center of the country; one of the volcanoes, Irazu, erupted destructively in 1963-65
strategic location on eastern end of isthmus forming land bridge connecting North and South America; controls Panama Canal that links North Atlantic Ocean via Caribbean Sea with North Pacific Ocean
Population distributionroughly half of the nation's population resides in urban areas; the capital of San Jose is the largest city and home to approximately one-fifth of the population
population is concentrated towards the center of the country, particularly around the Canal, but a sizeable segment of the populace also lives in the far west around David; the eastern third of the country is sparsely inhabited

Demographics

Costa RicaPanama
Population4,872,543 (July 2016 est.)
3,705,246 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 22.82% (male 568,738/female 543,312)
15-24 years: 16.75% (male 416,046/female 399,931)
25-54 years: 43.99% (male 1,078,000/female 1,065,327)
55-64 years: 8.9% (male 211,670/female 222,183)
65 years and over: 7.54% (male 169,646/female 197,690) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 26.7% (male 504,990/female 484,338)
15-24 years: 17.11% (male 323,034/female 311,099)
25-54 years: 40.31% (male 756,400/female 737,205)
55-64 years: 7.72% (male 141,582/female 144,414)
65 years and over: 8.16% (male 138,922/female 163,262) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 30.9 years
male: 30.4 years
female: 31.3 years (2016 est.)
total: 28.9 years
male: 28.5 years
female: 29.3 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate1.19% (2016 est.)
1.3% (2016 est.)
Birth rate15.7 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
18.1 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate4.6 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
4.9 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate0.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
-0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 8.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 10.1 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 10.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 9.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 78.6 years
male: 75.9 years
female: 81.4 years (2016 est.)
total population: 78.6 years
male: 75.8 years
female: 81.6 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate1.9 children born/woman (2016 est.)
2.33 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.33% (2015 est.)
0.69% (2015 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Costa Rican(s)
adjective: Costa Rican
noun: Panamanian(s)
adjective: Panamanian
Ethnic groupswhite or mestizo 83.6%, mulato 6.7%, indigenous 2.4%, black of African descent 1.1%, other 1.1%, none 2.9%, unspecified 2.2% (2011 est.)
mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 65%, Native American 12.3% (Ngabe 7.6%, Kuna 2.4%, Embera 0.9%, Bugle 0.8%, other 0.4%, unspecified 0.2%), black or African descent 9.2%, mulatto 6.8%, white 6.7% (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS10,000 (2015 est.)
17,100 (2015 est.)
ReligionsRoman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, Jehovah's Witness 1.3%, other Protestant 0.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%
Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant 15%
HIV/AIDS - deaths200 (2015 est.)
500 (2015 est.)
LanguagesSpanish (official), English
Spanish (official), indigenous languages (including Ngabere (or Guaymi), Buglere, Kuna, Embera, Wounaan, Naso (or Teribe), and Bri Bri), Panamanian English Creole (similar to Jamaican English Creole; a mixture of English and Spanish with elements of Ngabere; also known as Guari Guari and Colon Creole), English, Chinese (Yue and Hakka), Arabic, French Creole, other (Yiddish, Hebrew, Korean, Japanese)
note: many Panamanians are bilingual
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.8%
male: 97.7%
female: 97.8% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95%
male: 95.7%
female: 94.4% (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever
note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)
degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne disease: dengue fever
note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2015)
total: 13 years
male: 12 years
female: 13 years (2013)
Education expenditures7.6% of GDP (2015)
3.3% of GDP (2011)
Urbanizationurban population: 76.8% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.74% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 66.6% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.07% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 99.6% of population
rural: 91.9% of population
total: 97.8% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0.4% of population
rural: 8.1% of population
total: 2.2% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 97.7% of population
rural: 86.6% of population
total: 94.7% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2.3% of population
rural: 11.4% of population
total: 5.3% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 95.2% of population
rural: 92.3% of population
total: 94.5% of population
unimproved:
urban: 4.8% of population
rural: 7.7% of population
total: 5.5% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 83.5% of population
rural: 58% of population
total: 75% of population
unimproved:
urban: 16.5% of population
rural: 42% of population
total: 25% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationSAN JOSE (capital) 1.17 million (2015)
PANAMA CITY (capital) 1.673 million (2015)
Maternal mortality rate25 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
94 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight1.1% (2009)
3.9% (2008)
Health expenditures9.3% of GDP (2014)
8% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density1.15 physicians/1,000 population (2013)
1.59 physicians/1,000 population (2013)
Hospital bed density1.2 beds/1,000 population (2012)
2.2 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate24% (2014)
26.5% (2014)
Child labor - children ages 5-14total number: 39,082
percentage: 5% (2002 est.)
total number: 59,294
percentage: 7%
note: data represent children ages 5-17 (2010 est.)
Demographic profileCosta Rica's political stability, high standard of living, and well-developed social benefits system set it apart from its Central American neighbors. Through the government's sustained social spending - almost 20% of GDP annually - Costa Rica has made tremendous progress toward achieving its goal of providing universal access to education, healthcare, clean water, sanitation, and electricity. Since the 1970s, expansion of these services has led to a rapid decline in infant mortality, an increase in life expectancy at birth, and a sharp decrease in the birth rate. The average number of children born per women has fallen from about 7 in the 1960s to 3.5 in the early 1980s to below replacement level today. Costa Rica's poverty rate is lower than in most Latin American countries, but it has stalled at around 20% for almost two decades.
Costa Rica is a popular regional immigration destination because of its job opportunities and social programs. Almost 9% of the population is foreign-born, with Nicaraguans comprising nearly three-quarters of the foreign population. Many Nicaraguans who perform unskilled seasonal labor enter Costa Rica illegally or overstay their visas, which continues to be a source of tension. Less than 3% of Costa Rica's population lives abroad. The overwhelming majority of expatriates have settled in the United States after completing a university degree or in order to work in a highly skilled field.
Panama is a country of demographic and economic contrasts. It is in the midst of a demographic transition, characterized by steadily declining rates of fertility, mortality, and population growth, but disparities persist based on wealth, geography, and ethnicity. Panama has one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America and dedicates substantial funding to social programs, yet poverty and inequality remain prevalent. The indigenous population accounts for a growing share of Panama's poor and extreme poor, while the non-indigenous rural poor have been more successful at rising out of poverty through rural-to-urban labor migration. The government's large expenditures on untargeted, indirect subsidies for water, electricity, and fuel have been ineffective, but its conditional cash transfer program has shown some promise in helping to decrease extreme poverty among the indigenous population.
Panama has expanded access to education and clean water, but the availability of sanitation and, to a lesser extent, electricity remains poor. The increase in secondary schooling - led by female enrollment - is spreading to rural and indigenous areas, which probably will help to alleviate poverty if educational quality and the availability of skilled jobs improve. Inadequate access to sanitation contributes to a high incidence of diarrhea in Panama's children, which is one of the main causes of Panama's elevated chronic malnutrition rate, especially among indigenous communities.
Contraceptive prevalence rate76.2% (2011)
62.8% (2013)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 45.4
youth dependency ratio: 32.4
elderly dependency ratio: 12.9
potential support ratio: 7.7 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 53.4
youth dependency ratio: 41.7
elderly dependency ratio: 11.7
potential support ratio: 8.5 (2015 est.)

Government

Costa RicaPanama
Country name"conventional long form: Republic of Costa Rica
conventional short form: Costa Rica
local long form: Republica de Costa Rica
local short form: Costa Rica
etymology: the name means ""rich coast"" in Spanish and was first applied in the early colonial period of the 16th century
"
"conventional long form: Republic of Panama
conventional short form: Panama
local long form: Republica de Panama
local short form: Panama
etymology: according to tradition, the name derives from a former indigenous fishing village and its nearby beach that were called ""Panama"" meaning ""an abundance of fish""
"
Government typepresidential republic
presidential republic
Capitalname: San Jose
geographic coordinates: 9 56 N, 84 05 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
name: Panama City
geographic coordinates: 8 58 N, 79 32 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions7 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limon, Puntarenas, San Jose
10 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia) and 3 indigenous territories* (comarcas); Bocas del Toro, Chiriqui, Cocle, Colon, Darien, Embera-Wounaan*, Herrera, Kuna Yala*, Los Santos, Ngobe-Bugle*, Panama, Panama Oeste, Veraguas
Independence15 September 1821 (from Spain)
3 November 1903 (from Colombia; became independent from Spain on 28 November 1821)
National holidayIndependence Day, 15 September (1821)
Independence Day (Separation Day), 3 November (1903)
Constitutionprevious 1825; latest effective 8 November 1949; amended many times, last in 2015 (2016)
several previous; latest effective 11 October 1972; amended several times, last in 2004 (2016)
Legal systemcivil law system based on Spanish civil code; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court
civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court of Justice
Suffrage18 years of age; universal and compulsory
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Luis Guillermo SOLIS Rivera (since 8 May 2014); First Vice President Helio FALLAS Venega (since 8 May 2014); Second Vice President Ana Helena CHACON Echeverria (since 8 May 2014); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Luis Guillermo SOLIS Rivera (since 8 May 2014); First Vice President Helio FALLAS Venegas (since 8 May 2014); Second Vice President Ana Helena CHACON Echeverria (since 8 May 2014)
cabinet: Cabinet selected by the president
elections/appointments: president and vice presidents directly elected on the same ballot by modified majority popular vote (40% threshold) for a 4-year term (eligible for non-consecutive terms); election last held on 2 February 2014 with a runoff on 6 April 2014 (next to be held in February 2018)
election results: Luis Guillermo SOLIS Rivera elected president; percent of vote - Luis Guillermo SOLIS Rivera (PAC) 77.8%; Johnny ARAYA (PLN) 22.2%
chief of state: President Juan Carlos VARELA (since 1 July 2014); Vice President Isabel de SAINT MALO de Alvarado (since 1 July 2014); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Juan Carlos VARELA (since 1 July 2014); Vice President Isabel de SAINT MALO de Alvarado (since 1 July 2014)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on the same ballot by simple majority popular vote for a 5-year term (president eligible for a single non-consecutive term); election last held on 4 May 2014; next to be held in 2019)
election results: Juan Carlos VARELA elected president; percent of vote - Juan Carlos VARELA (PP) 39.1%, Jose Domingo ARIAS (CD) 31.4%, Juan Carlos NAVARRO (PRD) 28.2%, other 1.3%
note: an alliance between the Panamenista Party and Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) fractured after the 2014 election, but a loose coalition composed of Panamenista and moderate PRD and CD legislators generally work together to support the president’s agenda
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa (57 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies - corresponding to the country's 7 provinces - by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 2 February 2014 (next to be held in February 2018)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLN 18, PAC 13, FA 9, PUSC 8, PML 4, other 5
description: unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (71 seats; 45 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies - populous towns and cities - by proportional representation vote and 26 directly elected in single-seat constituencies - outlying rural districts - by plurality vote; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held on 4 May 2014 (next to be held in May 2019)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PRD 26, CD 25, Panamenista 16, MOLIRENA 2, PP 1, independent 1
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of 22 judges organized into 3 cassation chambers each with 5 judges, and the Constitutional Chamber with 7 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court of Justice judges elected by the National Assembly for 8-year terms with renewal decided by the National Assembly
subordinate courts: appellate courts; trial courts; first instance and justice of the peace courts; Superior Electoral Tribunal
highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (consists of 9 magistrates and 9 alternates and divided into civil, criminal, administrative, and general business chambers)
judge selection and term of office: magistrates appointed by the president for staggered 10-year terms
subordinate courts: appellate courts or Tribunal Superior; Labor Supreme Courts; Court of Audit; circuit courts or Tribunal Circuital (2 each in 9 of the 10 provinces); municipal courts; electoral, family, maritime, and adolescent courts
Political parties and leadersAccessibility Without Exclusion or PASE [Oscar Andres LOPEZ Arias]
Broad Front (Frente Amplio) or PFA [Ana Patricia MORA]
Citizen Action Party or PAC [Olivier PEREZ Gonzalez]
Costa Rican Renovation Party or PRC [Gerardo Justo OROZCO Alvarez]
Libertarian Movement Party or ML [Victor Danilo CUBERO Corrales]
National Integration Party or PIN [Walter MUNOZ Cespedes]
National Liberation Party or PLN [Bernal JIMENEZ]
National Restoration Party or PRN [Carlos AVENDANO]
Patriotic Alliance [Jorge ARAYA Westover]
Popular Vanguard [Humberto VARGAS]
Social Christian Unity Party or PUSC [Gerardo VARGAS]
"Democratic Change or CD [Ricardo MARTINELLI Berrocal]
Democratic Revolutionary Party or PRD [Benicio ROBINSON]
Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement or MOLIRENA [Francisco ""Pancho"" ALEMAN]
Panamenista Party [Jose Luis “Popi” VARELA Rodriguez] (formerly the Arnulfista Party)
Popular Party or PP [Milton C. HENRIQUEZ] (formerly Christian Democratic Party or PDC)
"
Political pressure groups and leadersAuthentic Confederation of Democratic Workers or CATD (Communist Party affiliate)
Chamber of Coffee Growers
Confederated Union of Workers or CUT (Communist Party affiliate)
Confederation of Workers Rerum Novarum or CTRN (National Libertion Party affiliate)
Costa Rican Confederation of Democratic Workers or CCTD (National Libertion Party affiliate)
Costa Rican Exporter's Chamber or CADEXCO
Costa Rican Solidarity Movement
Costa Rican Union of Private Sector Enterprises or UCCAEP
Federation of Public Service Workers or FTSP
National Association for Economic Development or ANFE
National Association of Educators or ANDE
National Association of Public and Private Employees or ANEP
Chamber of Commerce
Concertacion Nacional (mechanism for Government of Panama to formally dialogue with representatives of civil society)
National Council of Organized Workers or CONATO
National Council of Private Enterprise or CONEP
National Union of Construction and Similar Workers (SUNTRACS)
Panamanian Association of Business Executives or APEDE
Panamanian Industrialists Society or SIP
Workers Confederation of the Republic of Panama or CTRP
International organization participationBCIE, CACM, CD, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM (observer), OAS, OIF (observer), OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
BCIE, CAN (observer), CD, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, SICA, UN, UNASUR (observer), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Roman MACAYA Hayes (since 18 September 2014)
chancery: 2114 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 480-2200
FAX: [1] (202) 265-4795
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Tampa (FL), Washington DC
consulate(s): San Francisco
chief of mission: Ambassador Emanuel Arturo GONZALEZ-REVILLA Lince (since 18 September 2014)
chancery: 2862 McGill Terrace NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 483-1407
FAX: [1] (202) 483-8413
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Tampa, Washington DC
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Stafford Fitzgerald HANEY (since 30 June 2015)
embassy: Calle 98 Via 104, Pavas, San Jose
mailing address: APO AA 34020
telephone: [506] 2519-2000
FAX: [506] 2519-2305
chief of mission: Ambassador John D. FEELEY (since 15 February 2015)
embassy: Edificio 783, Avenida Demetrio Basilio Lakas Panama, Apartado Postal 0816-02561, Zona 5, Panama City
mailing address: American Embassy Panama, Unit 0945, APO AA 34002; American Embassy Panama, 9100 Panama City PL, Washington, DC 20521-9100
telephone: [507] 317-5000
FAX: [507] 317-5568
Flag descriptionfive horizontal bands of blue (top), white, red (double width), white, and blue, with the coat of arms in a white elliptical disk placed toward the hoist side of the red band; Costa Rica retained the earlier blue-white-blue flag of Central America until 1848 when, in response to revolutionary activity in Europe, it was decided to incorporate the French colors into the national flag and a central red stripe was added; today the blue color is said to stand for the sky, opportunity, and perseverance, white denotes peace, happiness, and wisdom, while red represents the blood shed for freedom, as well as the generosity and vibrancy of the people
note: somewhat resembles the flag of North Korea; similar to the flag of Thailand but with the blue and red colors reversed
divided into four, equal rectangles; the top quadrants are white (hoist side) with a blue five-pointed star in the center and plain red; the bottom quadrants are plain blue (hoist side) and white with a red five-pointed star in the center; the blue and red colors are those of the main political parties (Conservatives and Liberals respectively) and the white denotes peace between them; the blue star stands for the civic virtues of purity and honesty, the red star signifies authority and law
National anthem"name: ""Himno Nacional de Costa Rica"" (National Anthem of Costa Rica)
lyrics/music: Jose Maria ZELEDON Brenes/Manuel Maria GUTIERREZ
note: adopted 1949; the anthem's music was originally written for an 1853 welcome ceremony for diplomatic missions from the US and UK; the lyrics were added in 1903
"
"name: ""Himno Istmeno"" (Isthmus Hymn)
lyrics/music: Jeronimo DE LA OSSA/Santos A. JORGE
note: adopted 1925
"
International law organization participationaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)yiguirro (clay-colored robin); national colors: blue, white, red
harpy eagle; national colors: blue, white, red
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: yes
citizenship by descent: yes
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years
citizenship by birth: yes
citizenship by descent: yes
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Economy

Costa RicaPanama
Economy - overviewSince 2010 Costa Rica has enjoyed strong and stable economic growth - 4.3% in 2016. Exports of bananas, coffee, sugar, and beef are the backbone of its commodity exports. Various industrial and processed agricultural products have broadened exports in recent years, as have high value-added goods, including medical devices. And Costa Rica's impressive biodiversity makes it a key destination for ecotourism.

Foreign investors remain attracted by the country's political stability and relatively high education levels, as well as the incentives offered in the free-trade zones; Costa Rica has attracted one of the highest levels of foreign direct investment per capita in Latin America. The US-Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), which entered into force on 1 January, helped increase foreign direct investment in key sectors of the economy, including insurance and telecommunication. However, poor infrastructure, high energy costs, a complex bureaucracy, weak investor protection, and uncertainty of contract enforcement impede greater investment.

Costa Rica’s economy also faces challenges due to a rising fiscal deficit, rising public debt, and relatively low levels of domestic revenue. Poverty has remained around 20-25% for nearly 20 years, and the government’s strong social safety net has eroded due to increased constraints on its expenditures. Costa Rica’s credit rating was downgraded from stable to negative in 2015, upping pressure on lending rates - which could hurt small business, on the budget deficit - which could hurt infrastructure development, and on the rate of return on investment - which could soften foreign direct investment. Unlike the rest of Central America, Costa Rica is not highly dependent on remittances - which represented just 0.7% of GDP in 2015, but instead relies on FDI - which accounted for 4% of GDP.
Panama's dollar-based economy rests primarily on a well-developed services sector that accounts for more than three-quarters of GDP. Services include operating the Panama Canal, logistics, banking, the Colon Free Trade Zone, insurance, container ports, flagship registry, and tourism and Panama is a center for offshore banking. Panama's transportation and logistics services sectors, along with infrastructure development projects, have boosted economic growth; however, public debt surpassed $37 billion in 2016 because of excessive government spending and public works projects. The US-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement was approved by Congress and signed into law in October 2011, and entered into force in October 2012.

Future growth will be bolstered by the Panama Canal expansion project that began in 2007 and was completed in 2016 at a cost of $5.3 billion - about 10-15% of current GDP. The expansion project will more than double the Canal's capacity, enabling it to accommodate high-capacity vessels such as tankers and neopanamax vessels that are too large to traverse the existing canal. The US and China are the top users of the Canal.

Strong economic performance has not translated into broadly shared prosperity, as Panama has the second worst income distribution in Latin America. About one-fourth of the population lives in poverty; however, from 2006 to 2012 poverty was reduced by 10 percentage points.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$79.26 billion (2016 est.)
$76.02 billion (2015 est.)
$73.33 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$93.12 billion (2016 est.)
$88.52 billion (2015 est.)
$83.69 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate4.3% (2016 est.)
3.7% (2015 est.)
3.5% (2014 est.)
5.2% (2016 est.)
5.8% (2015 est.)
6.1% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$16,100 (2016 est.)
$15,700 (2015 est.)
$15,300 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$22,800 (2016 est.)
$22,100 (2015 est.)
$21,300 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 5.5%
industry: 18.6%
services: 75.9% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 2.7%
industry: 14.3%
services: 83% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line21.7% (2014 est.)
23% (2015 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 1.5%
highest 10%: 36.9% (2014 est.)
lowest 10%: 1.1%
highest 10%: 38.9% (2014 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)0.6% (2016 est.)
0.8% (2015 est.)
1% (2016 est.)
0.1% (2015 est.)
Labor force2.295 million
note: official estimate; excludes Nicaraguans living in Costa Rica (2016 est.)
1.611 million
note: shortage of skilled labor, but an oversupply of unskilled labor (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 14%
industry: 22%
services: 64% (2006 est.)
agriculture: 17%
industry: 18.6%
services: 64.4% (2009 est.)
Unemployment rate9.3% (2016 est.)
9.4% (2015 est.)
4.5% (2016 est.)
4.5% (2015 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index48.5 (2014)
49.2 (2013)
50.7 (2014 est.)
56.1 (2003)
Budgetrevenues: $8.115 billion
expenditures: $11.31 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $11.7 billion
expenditures: $12.41 billion (2016 est.)
Industriesmedical equipment, food processing, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products
construction, brewing, cement and other construction materials, sugar milling
Industrial production growth rate4% (2016 est.)
4.8% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productsbananas, pineapples, coffee, melons, ornamental plants, sugar, corn, rice, beans, potatoes; beef, poultry, dairy; timber
bananas, rice, corn, coffee, sugarcane, vegetables; livestock; shrimp
Exports$9.824 billion (2016 est.)
$9.422 billion (2015 est.)
$15.19 billion (2016 est.)
$15.92 billion (2015 est.)
note: includes the Colon Free Zone
Exports - commoditiesbananas, pineapples, coffee, melons, ornamental plants, sugar; beef; seafood; electronic components, medical equipment
fruit and nuts, fish, iron and steel waste, wood
Exports - partnersUS 35.2%, China 6.5%, Mexico 4.8%, Netherlands 4.4% (2015)
US 19.7%, Germany 13.2%, Costa Rica 7.7%, China 5.9%, Netherlands 4.1% (2015)
Imports$14.76 billion (2016 est.)
$14.38 billion (2015 est.)
$22.08 billion (2016 est.)
$22.48 billion (2015 est.)
note: includes the Colon Free Zone
Imports - commoditiesraw materials, consumer goods, capital equipment, petroleum, construction materials
fuels, machinery, vehicles, iron and steel rods, pharmaceuticals
Imports - partnersUS 46.8%, China 10.1%, Mexico 7.3% (2015)
US 25.9%, China 9.6%, Mexico 5.1% (2015)
Debt - external$24.91 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$23.18 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$22.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$21.03 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesCosta Rican colones (CRC) per US dollar -
543.4 (2016 est.)
534.57 (2015 est.)
534.57 (2014 est.)
538.32 (2013 est.)
502.9 (2012 est.)
balboas (PAB) per US dollar -
1 (2016 est.)
1 (2015 est.)
1 (2014 est.)
1 (2013 est.)
1 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt62.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
60.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
39.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
38.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$7.96 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.834 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$3.878 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.378 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance-$2.055 billion (2016 est.)
-$2.493 billion (2015 est.)
-$2.94 billion (2016 est.)
-$3.798 billion (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$57.69 billion (2016 est.)
$55.23 billion (2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$31.86 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$28.75 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$49.79 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$45.28 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$3.354 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.154 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$10.26 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$9.755 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$2.015 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$1.443 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$1.445 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$12.54 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$10.68 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$8.348 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate14.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
14.24% (31 December 2015 est.)
7.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
7.46% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$35.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$30.53 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$46.85 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$42.98 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$5.946 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.273 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$8.845 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$8.215 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$21.55 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$18 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$38.97 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$36.19 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Taxes and other revenues14.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
21.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-5.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
-1.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 25%
male: 21.3%
female: 31.4% (2014 est.)
total: 12.6%
male: 11.2%
female: 14.9% (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 62.3%
government consumption: 16.9%
investment in fixed capital: 22.2%
investment in inventories: 0.5%
exports of goods and services: 29.6%
imports of goods and services: -31.5% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 49.7%
government consumption: 9.4%
investment in fixed capital: 43.9%
investment in inventories: 3.3%
exports of goods and services: 52%
imports of goods and services: -58.3% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving14.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
15.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
14.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
41.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
41% of GDP (2015 est.)
37.3% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

Costa RicaPanama
Electricity - production10 billion kWh (2014 est.)
9 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption9.2 billion kWh (2014 est.)
7.8 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports600 million kWh (2014 est.)
99 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - imports800 million kWh (2014 est.)
200 million kWh (2014 est.)
Oil - production0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - imports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports1,300 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves0 bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
Natural gas - production0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity2.9 million kW (2014 est.)
2.7 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels30.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
38.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants55.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
61.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources13.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption53,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
136,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
66 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports51,300 bbl/day (2013 est.)
127,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy7.616 million Mt (2013 est.)
17 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesspopulation without electricity: 24,362
electrification - total population: 99.5%
electrification - urban areas: 99.9%
electrification - rural areas: 98.3% (2013)
population without electricity: 300,000
electrification - total population: 91%
electrification - urban areas: 94%
electrification - rural areas: 80% (2013)

Telecommunications

Costa RicaPanama
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 859,514
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 18 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 620,436
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 17 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 7.536 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 157 (July 2015 est.)
total: 6.947 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 190 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: good domestic telephone service in terms of breadth of coverage
domestic: point-to-point and point-to-multi-point microwave, fiber-optic, and coaxial cable link rural areas; Internet service is available
international: country code - 506; landing points for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1), MAYA-1, and the Pan American Crossing submarine cables that provide links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; connected to Central American Microwave System; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2015)
general assessment: domestic and international facilities well-developed
domestic: mobile-cellular telephone subscribership has increased rapidly
international: country code - 507; landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1), the MAYA-1, and PAN-AM submarine cable systems that together provide links to the US and parts of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); connected to the Central American Microwave System (2015)
Internet country code.cr
.pa
Internet userstotal: 2.877 million
percent of population: 59.8% (July 2015 est.)
total: 1.873 million
percent of population: 51.2% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast mediamultiple privately owned TV stations and 1 publicly owned TV station; cable network services are widely available; more than 100 privately owned radio stations and a public radio network (2017)
multiple privately owned TV networks and a government-owned educational TV station; multi-channel cable and satellite TV subscription services are available; more than 100 commercial radio stations (2007)

Transportation

Costa RicaPanama
Railwaystotal: 278 km
narrow gauge: 278 km 1.067-m gauge
note: the entire rail network fell into disrepair and out of use at the end of the 20th century; since 2005, certain sections of rail have been rehabilitated (2014)
total: 77 km
standard gauge: 77 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
Roadwaystotal: 39,018 km
paved: 10,133 km
unpaved: 28,885 km (2010)
total: 15,137 km
paved: 6,351 km
unpaved: 8,786 km (2010)
Waterways730 km (seasonally navigable by small craft) (2011)
800 km (includes the 82-km Panama Canal that is being widened) (2011)
Pipelinesrefined products 662 km (2013)
oil 128 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean) - Puerto Limon; Pacific Ocean - Caldera
major seaport(s): Balboa, Colon, Cristobal
container port(s) (TEUs): Balboa (3,232,265), Colon (2,390,976), Manzanillo (2,391,066)
Merchant marinetotal: 1
by type: passenger/cargo 1 (2010)
total: 6,413
by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 2,525, cargo 1,115, carrier 27, chemical tanker 588, combination ore/oil 1, container 742, liquefied gas 205, passenger 42, passenger/cargo 51, petroleum tanker 545, refrigerated cargo 191, roll on/roll off 87, specialized tanker 3, vehicle carrier 290
foreign-owned: 5,157 (Albania 4, Argentina 5, Australia 4, Bahamas 6, Bangladesh 5, Belgium 1, Bermuda 27, Brazil 3, Bulgaria 6, Burma 3, Canada 6, Chile 14, China 534, Colombia 2, Croatia 2, Cuba 2, Cyprus 5, Denmark 41, Ecuador 3, Egypt 11, Finland 2, France 7, Gabon 1, Germany 24, Gibraltar 1, Greece 379, Hong Kong 144, India 24, Indonesia 10, Iran 5, Ireland 1, Israel 1, Italy 25, Japan 2372, Jordan 11, Kuwait 12, Lebanon 2, Lithuania 3, Luxembourg 1, Malaysia 12, Maldives 2, Malta 2, Mexico 5, Monaco 11, Netherlands 6, Nigeria 6, Norway 81, Oman 10, Pakistan 3, Peru 9, Philippines 5, Portugal 10, Qatar 1, Romania 3, Russia 49, Saudi Arabia 11, Singapore 92, South Korea 373, Spain 30, Sweden 2, Switzerland 15, Syria 34, Taiwan 328, Tanzania 2, Thailand 6, Turkey 62, UAE 83, UK 37, Ukraine 8, US 90, Venezuela 13, Vietnam 43, Yemen 4)
registered in other countries: 1 (Honduras 1) (2010)
Airports161 (2013)
117 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 47
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 27
under 914 m: 16 (2013)
total: 57
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 20
under 914 m: 30 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 114
914 to 1,523 m: 18
under 914 m: 96 (2013)
total: 60
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 51 (2013)

Military

Costa RicaPanama
Military branchesno regular military forces; Ministry of Public Security, Government, and Police (2011)
no regular military forces; Panamanian Public Security Forces (subordinate to the Ministry of Public Security), comprising the National Police (PNP), National Air-Naval Service (SENAN), National Border Service (SENAFRONT) (2013)

Transnational Issues

Costa RicaPanama
Disputes - internationalCosta Rica and Nicaragua regularly file border dispute cases over the delimitations of the San Juan River and the northern tip of Calero Island to the International Court of Justice (ICJ); in 2009, the ICJ ruled that Costa Rican vessels carrying out police activities could not use the river, but official Costa Rican vessels providing essential services to riverside inhabitants and Costa Rican tourists could travel freely on the river; in 2011, the ICJ provisionally ruled that both countries must remove personnel from the disputed area; in 2013, the ICJ rejected Nicaragua's 2012 suit to halt Costa Rica's construction of a highway paralleling the river on the grounds of irreparable environmental damage; in 2013, the ICJ, regarding the disputed territory, ordered that Nicaragua should refrain from dredging or canal construction and refill and repair damage caused by trenches connecting the river to the Caribbean and upheld its 2010 ruling that Nicaragua must remove all personnel; in early 2014, Costa Rica brought Nicaragua to the ICJ over offshore oil concessions in the disputed region
organized illegal narcotics operations in Colombia operate within the remote border region with Panama
Illicit drugstransshipment country for cocaine and heroin from South America; illicit production of cannabis in remote areas; domestic cocaine consumption, particularly crack cocaine, is rising; significant consumption of amphetamines; seizures of smuggled cash in Costa Rica and at the main border crossing to enter Costa Rica from Nicaragua have risen in recent years (2008)
major cocaine transshipment point and primary money-laundering center for narcotics revenue; money-laundering activity is especially heavy in the Colon Free Zone; offshore financial center; negligible signs of coca cultivation; monitoring of financial transactions is improving; official corruption remains a major problem
Refugees and internally displaced personsstateless persons: 127 (2016)
refugees (country of origin): 15,614 (Colombia) (2016)

Source: CIA Factbook