Costa Rica People - 2023



5,256,612 (2023 est.)


noun: Costa Rican(s)

adjective: Costa Rican

Ethnic groups

White or Mestizo 83.6%, Mulatto 6.7%, Indigenous 2.4%, Black or African descent 1.1%, other 1.1%, none 2.9%, unspecified 2.2% (2011 est.)


Spanish (official), English

major-language sample(s):
La Libreta Informativa del Mundo, la fuente indispensable de información básica. (Spanish)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Spanish audio file:


Roman Catholic 47.5%, Evangelical and Pentecostal 19.8%, Jehovah's Witness 1.4%, other Protestant 1.2%, other 3.1%, none 27% (2021 est.)

Demographic profile

Costa 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.

Age structure

0-14 years: 21.49% (male 577,782/female 552,041)

15-64 years: 68.59% (male 1,813,827/female 1,791,510)

65 years and over: 9.92% (2023 est.) (male 238,971/female 282,481)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 45.1

youth dependency ratio: 29.8

elderly dependency ratio: 15.3

potential support ratio: 6.5 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 32.6 years

male: 32.1 years

female: 33.1 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

0.98% (2023 est.)

Birth rate

14.03 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Death rate

4.97 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Net migration rate

0.76 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Population distribution

roughly 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


urban population: 82.6% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.5% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

1.462 million SAN JOSE (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

22 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 8.2 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 9.24 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 7.12 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 79.87 years

male: 77.23 years

female: 82.65 years (2023 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.86 children born/woman (2023 est.)

Gross reproduction rate

0.91 (2023 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

70.9% (2018)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

7.9% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

3.3 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

1.1 beds/1,000 population (2019)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 99% of population

rural: 97.1% of population

total: 98.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 1% of population

rural: 2.9% of population

total: 1.3% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: intermediate (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever

note: on 17 April 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for an outbreak of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in the province of Limón, Costa Rica; there is also malaria transmission in Alajuela Province; public health authorities in Costa Rica are responding to this outbreak by enhancing malaria surveillance; CDC now recommends malaria chemoprohylaxis for travelers visiting Limón and Alajuela Provinces in Costa Rica prior to travel; the parasite P. falciparum, which is found worldwide in tropical and subtropical areas is spread through the bite of female mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles; P. falciparum can cause severe malaria because it multiples rapidly in the blood, and can thus cause severe blood loss (anemia); in addition, the infected parasites can clog small blood vessels; when this occurs in the brain, cerebral malaria results, a complication that can be fatal; seek medical care if you develop fever, chills, sweats, headache, vomiting, or body aches; malaria is a medical emergency, and appropriate treatment should not be delayed (see attached map)

There is currently an outbreak of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in the province of Limón, Costa Rica. There is also malaria transmission in Alajuela Province. Map courtesy of CDC.:

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

25.7% (2016)

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 3.07 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 2.17 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.15 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.36 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.39 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

Tobacco use

total: 8.8% (2020 est.)

male: 12.9% (2020 est.)

female: 4.6% (2020 est.)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

2.9% (2018)

Currently married women (ages 15-49)

48.4% (2023 est.)

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 2%

women married by age 18: 17.1% (2018 est.)

Education expenditures

6.7% of GDP (2020 est.)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 98%

male: 98%

female: 98.1% (2021)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 17 years

male: 16 years

female: 17 years (2019)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 45.4%

male: 37%

female: 56.3% (2021 est.)

NOTE: The information regarding Costa Rica on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Costa Rica 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Costa Rica 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 10 Nov 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.