Nicaragua 101

If you're like me, your geography and demographic statistics on Nicaragua may be a bit rusty; so I thought I'd give you a little refresher course!

I would normally inundate you with pie charts and graphs (I'm such a nerd), but I'll spare you and just state the facts.

Located in Central America, Nicaragua is bordered by Honduras, Costa Rica, the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean and is slightly larger than New York State.

With a population of 5.4 million, 61% of the population is between the ages of 15-64, with the median age being 21 years. Average life expectancy is 70 years (78 years USA) with infant mortality at 27/1000 (6/1000 USA). More than half the deaths of children under four are caused by preventable diseases such as diarrhea, pnuemonia, malnutrition etc.

Ethnic Groups
69% Mestizo (mixed European and indigenous)
17% White
9% Black (Jamaican origin)
5% Indigenous

While the country is predominantly Roman Catholic there is a rapidly growing percentage of Evangelical Protestants.

Elementary education is free and compulsory; however, many children in rural areas are unable to attend due to lack of schools and other reasons. Only 28% of first graders eventually finish the sixth grade. Overall literacy is only 67% of the population, with only 7% holding a university degree.

Nicaragua is primarily an agricultural country, but light industry (maquila), tourism, banking, mining, fisheries, and general commerce are expanding. Nonetheless, Nicaragua remains the second-poorest nation in the Western hemisphere.

Out of a population of 5.4 million, 6% are unemployed with 47% underemployed. Forty-eight percent of the population in Nicaragua live in poverty.

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