Costa Rica Demographics

Costa Rica – Demographics

Some researchers have stated that around 95% of the Costa Rican population has some native or African ancestry. Franklin Parker in his Central American Republics (1964) writes? In the highland basins about the capital a great majority of the persons are European in stock – wholly so in some instances, in others only preponderantly so with a trace of Indian or Negro also present?. Although it is true that some do not have any native or African ancestry, to claim that the population of Costa Rica is ?98% white? is a misrepresentation of the facts. It is, though, one to which many Costa Ricans subscribe, believing it sets them apart from their darker-skinned neighbors to the north and south.

The indigenous population today numbers about 29,000 or less than 1% of the population. Descendants of 19th century Jamaican immigrant workers constitute an English-speaking minority and — at 3% of the population — number about 96,000. An important and growing ethnic group in Costa Rica are Nicaraguans who represent 10% of the population. Most of these Nicaraguans are refugees from the Sandinista regime that existed in Nicaragua, and today work as manual laborers. Racism against the Nicaraguans is common, and their position in society has been compared to the Mexican situation in the United States.

The main migrants were once those of German, Polish, Italian, and Jewish ancestry, but today there is a growing number of Amerindian people who migrate for seasonal work opportunities as agricultural workers. There is also a growing number of Colombian, Panamanian and Peruvian refugees who call Costa Rica home, an example of Costa Rica’s hospitality and peaceful government in Latin America.

Demographic data from the CIA World Factbook:

4,016,173 (July 2005 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 28.9% (male 593,540/female 566,361)
15-64 years: 65.5% (male 1,330,481/female 1,300,664)
65 years and over: 5.6% (male 104,564/female 120,563) (2005 est.)

Median age:
Total: 26.03 years
Male: 25.59 years
Female: 26.5 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:
1.48% (2005 est.)

Birth rate:
18.6 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Death rate:
4.33 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Net migration rate:
0.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Sex ratio:
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female

Total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
Total: 9.95 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 10.85 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 9 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
Total population: 76.84 years
Male: 74.26 years
Female: 79.55 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:
2.28 children born/woman (2005 est.)

Adult prevalence rate: 0.6% (2003 est.)
People living with HIV/AIDS: 12,000 (2003 est.)
Deaths: 900 (2003 est.)

Noun: Costa Rican(s)
Adjective: Costa Rican

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

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

Spanish (official), English

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 96%
Male: 95.9%
Female: 96.1% (2003 est.)