Page last modified 20 August 2023

 

Costa Rica

Community

Area 51,100 square kilometres (land area 51,060 square kilometres)

Population,


200,000 (1850)

213,785 (1885)

243,205 (1892)

322,618 (1903)

380,000 (1910)

471,524 (1927)

639,197 (1939)

746,535 (1945)

800,875 (1950)

1,336,274 (1960) +66.9%

1,849,000 (1970) +38.4%

2,389,000 (1980) +29.2%

3,096,000 (1990) +29.6%

3,925,000 (2000) +26.8%

4,545,000 (2010) +15.8%

5,094,100 (2020) +12.1%


Ethnicity % Note, different years may use different racial categories

 

Black

Indigenous

Mixed

White

1945

3.0

1.0

16.0

80.0

1970

1.0

0.5

8.0

86.8

 

Religion, %

 

Buddhist

Christian

Evangelical

Christian

J W

Christian

R C

None

1960

 

 

 

95.0

 

2010

2.1

13.7

1.3

76.3

3.2

Birth and death rates Below replacement rate = 2.1

 

Fertility Rate

Birth

Rate

Infant

Mortality

Death

Rate

% Aged

Under 15

% Aged

Over

65

% Urban

1952

 

47.0 (+34.0)

94.0

13.0

43.5

3.4

33.3

1962

6.3

45.0 (+35.7)

 

9.3

44.9

3.0

34.4

1972

4.3

32.0 (+25.8)

56.0

6.2

42.5

3.5

40.1

1980

3.6

30.0 (+25.3)

22.0

4.7

36.9

4.1

43.1

1990

3.2

27.5 (+23.5)

14.3

4.0

35.1

4.7

50.0

2000

2.4

20.4 (+16.4)

11.1

4.0

30.7

5.7

59.0

2010

1.8

16.5 (+11.9)

8.8

4.6

24.6

7.5

71.7

2015

1.8

14.5 (+9.6)

7.9

4.9

22.3

8.7

76.8

2017

1.8

14.2 (+9.2)

7.6

5.0

 

 

 

2018

 

 

7.6

 

21.3

9.6

79.3

Life expectancy,


57.3 (1950); 56.0 (M), 59.0 (F)

60.6 (1960); 59.4 (M), 62.0 (F)

66.5 (1970); 64.7 (M), 68.3 (F)

72.1 (1980); 69.6 (M), 74.7 (F)

75.7 (1990); 73.1 (M), 78.3 (F)

77.4 (2000); 75.1 (M), 79.8 (F)

78.7 (2010); 76.3 (M), 81.2 (F)

80.4 (2020); 77.9 (M), 83.0 (F)


Population of principal cities, 1,000s MA = |Metropolitan Area

 

Alajuela

Cartago1

Limon

Puntarenas

SAN JOSE3

1840

 

372

 

 

 

1890

 

6

 

 

 

1900

 

4

 

 

24

1904

5

5

3

4

25

1927

7

7

8

7

51

1945

9

9

11

9

80

1950

14

13

20

20

87

1973

 

 

 

 

395 MA

1984

35

24

53

29

241

1988

47

101

 

 

900 MA

1994

 

117

 

 

 

2000

54

 

62

 

347

2009

 

425 MA

 

 

1,416 MA

2012

123 MA

 

59

34

 

2015

 

 

 

 

2,158 MA

1Cartago was founded in 1563 by Spanish colonialists.

2Cartago was devastated by a volcanic eruption in 1841.

3San Jose, founded in 1737, has been the capital of Costa Rica since 1823.

Wealth; Gross Domestic Product (nominal values)

 

GDP,

US$ million

Total GDP,

% of USA

GDP per capita,

US$

GDP per capita

% of USA

1956

310

0.09

 

 

1960

508

0.09

380

12.64

1965

592

0.08

373

9.74

1970

980

0.09

669

12.75

1975

1,960

0.12

1,000

12.79

1980

4,830

0.17

2,147

17.04

1985

3,920

0.09

1,490

8.16

1990

5,710

0.10

1,909

7.97

1995

11,580

0.16

3,345

11.12

2000

16,280

0.16

3,800

10.43

2005

19,400

0.15

4,700

10.61

2010

35,020

0.23

8,200

16.95

2015

54,840

0.30

11,400

20.28

2016

57,400

0.31

11,825

20.58

GDP by primary sector

 

Agriculture

% GDP

Agriculture

% employed

Industry

% GDP

Industry

% employed

Services

% GDP

Services

% employed

1960

 

50.0

 

19.0

 

30.0

1970

 

43.0

 

 

 

 

1980

23.0

29.0

27.0

23.0

53.0

48.0

2000

11.0

20.0

37.0

22.0

52.0

58.0

2010

6.3

14.0

22.9

22.0

70.8

64.0

2016

5.5

 

21.5

 

73.0

 

Communications

Language Official; Spanish.English also spoken

Literacy


79.0% (1950)

88.0% (1955)

93.0% (1980); 93.2% (M), 92.8% (F)

93.5% (1985); 94.0% (M), 93.0% (F)

95.8% (2000); 95.7% (M), 95.8% (F)

96.1% (2005); 96.0% (M), 96.2% (F)

95.9% (2010); 95.7% (M), 96.2% (F)

97.8% (2015); 97.7% (M), 97.8% (F)


Physical communications � roads and railways,

First railway opened 1890, Limon to San Jose. The rail network was closed in 1995 following an earthquake in 1991.By 2005, limited freight and commuter services had been restored.

 

Roads (km)

Surfaced (km)

Motor vehicles

Cars

Commercial Vehicles

Railways

(km)

Electrified

%

1890

 

 

 

 

 

303

 

1900

 

 

 

 

 

303

 

1910

 

 

 

 

 

654

 

1920

 

 

 

 

 

654

 

1930

 

 

 

 

 

654

 

1938

 

295

 

 

 

654

 

1945

 

 

 

2,494

1,310

 

 

1948

1,635

1,490

 

 

 

 

 

1951

 

 

 

4,645

2,308

 

 

1952

 

 

9,600

5,500

4,100

805

 

1961

 

 

 

18,100

9,400

 

 

1962

9,764

 

 

 

 

 

 

1968

 

 

50,564

 

 

805

 

1975

 

 

 

42,700

 

 

 

1982

 

 

 

48,188

27,143

 

 

1984

15,400

 

217,324

 

 

829

15.0

1986

29,100

2,850

 

80,000

 

 

 

1988

35,343

5,037

 

 

 

829

34.0

1996

 

 

424,305

277,888

 

0

 

2000

 

 

519,865

341,990

 

0

 

2002

35,303

 

651,030

367,832

 

0

 

2004

35,330

8,621

 

 

 

0

 

2007

36,654

 

690,000

525,400

139,600

278

 

2010

39,018

10,133

792,000

600,000

 

 

 

2011

 

 

1,060,000

 

 

 

 

2013

 

 

 

 

 

278

 

2017

 

 

2,000,000

1,400,000

 

 

 

The entire rail system fell into disuse in the 1990s. Some lines have been reopened since 2005.

Electronic communications, TV broadcasts began 1960

 

Telephones (landlines)

Mobile Telephones

Radios

Televisions

PCs

Internet Users

1940

4,000

 

21,000

 

 

 

1950

 

 

23,000

 

 

 

1960

15,360

 

75,000

 

 

 

1962

16,591

 

81,000

 

 

 

1969

50,093

 

 

 

 

 

1976

 

 

 

155,000

 

 

1978

145,100

 

 

 

 

 

1980

157,400

 

190,000

277,700

 

 

1990

281,433

 

780,000

420,000

 

 

1992

 

3,000

 

 

 

 

1995

 

19,000

924,000

495,000

 

 

1997

 

 

980,000

 

250,000

50,000

2000

898,734

212,000

 

930,000

600,000

 

2002

 

 

 

 

 

800,000

2004

 

 

 

 

930,000

1,000,000

2006

 

1.,400,000

 

1,100,000

 

 

2009

1,493,000

 

 

 

 

1,485,000

2010

 

3,035,000

 

 

 

1,750,000

2012

1,018,000

 

 

 

 

 

2016

827,000

8,063,100

 

 

 

3,217,000

Tourism: Visitors to Costa Rica,


170,396 (1971)

246,825 (1973)

328,000 (1977)

317,200 (1979)

273,901 (1984)

278,000 (1987)

435,037 (1990)

785,000 (1995)

1,088,000 (2000)

1,679,051 (2005)

2,100,000 (2010)

2,660,000 (2015)