Costa Rica People - 2021


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese


5,151,140 (July 2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 124


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

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

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.


Roman Catholic 71.8%, Evangelical and Pentecostal 12.3%, other Protestant 2.6%, Jehovah's Witness 0.5%, other 2.4%, none 10.4% (2016 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: 22.08% (male 575,731/female 549,802)

15-24 years: 15.19% (male 395,202/female 379,277)

25-54 years: 43.98% (male 1,130,387/female 1,111,791)

55-64 years: 9.99% (male 247,267/female 261,847)

65 years and over: 8.76% (male 205,463/female 241,221) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 45.1

youth dependency ratio: 30.2

elderly dependency ratio: 14.9

potential support ratio: 6.7 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 32.6 years

male: 32.1 years

female: 33.1 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 109

Population growth rate

1.04% (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 93

Birth rate

14.53 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 124

Death rate

4.86 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 200

Net migration rate

0.78 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 63

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: 81.4% of total population (2021)

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

Major urban areas - population

1.421 million SAN JOSE (capital) (2021)

Sex ratio

at 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: 1.02 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

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

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

27 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 116

Infant mortality rate

total: 8.59 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 9.66 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 7.46 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 147

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 79.41 years

male: 76.75 years

female: 82.22 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 59

Total fertility rate

1.87 children born/woman (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 134

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 (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

7.6% (2018)

Physicians density

2.89 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

1.1 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 98.4% of population

rural: 95.8% of population

total: 97.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 1.6% of population

rural: 4.2% of population

total: 2.2% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.4% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 73

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

16,000 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 90

HIV/AIDS - deaths

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: intermediate (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

25.7% (2016)

country comparison to the world: 48

Education expenditures

7% of GDP (2019)

country comparison to the world: 13


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 97.9%

male: 97.8%

female: 97.9% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years

male: 17 years

female: 17 years (2019)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 31.5%

male: 28%

female: 37.1% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 28

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

2.9% (2018)

country comparison to the world: 97

NOTE: The information regarding Costa Rica on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Costa Rica 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Costa Rica 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.