Nicaragua People - 2021


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese


6,243,931 (July 2021 est.)


noun: Nicaraguan(s)

adjective: Nicaraguan

Ethnic groups

Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and White) 69%, White 17%, Black 9%, Amerindian 5%


Spanish (official) 95.3%, Miskito 2.2%, Mestizo of the Caribbean coast 2%, other 0.5%; note - English and indigenous languages found on the Caribbean coast (2005 est.)

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 50%, Evangelical 33.2%, other 2.9%, none 0.7%, unspecified 13.2% (2017 est.)

Demographic profile

Despite being one of the poorest countries in Latin America, Nicaragua has improved its access to potable water and sanitation and has ameliorated its life expectancy, infant and child mortality, and immunization rates. However, income distribution is very uneven, and the poor, agriculturalists, and indigenous people continue to have less access to healthcare services. Nicaragua's total fertility rate has fallen from around 6 children per woman in 1980 to below replacement level today, but the high birth rate among adolescents perpetuates a cycle of poverty and low educational attainment.

Nicaraguans emigrate primarily to Costa Rica and to a lesser extent the United States. Nicaraguan men have been migrating seasonally to Costa Rica to harvest bananas and coffee since the early 20th century. Political turmoil, civil war, and natural disasters from the 1970s through the 1990s dramatically increased the flow of refugees and permanent migrants seeking jobs, higher wages, and better social and healthcare benefits. Since 2000, Nicaraguan emigration to Costa Rica has slowed and stabilized. Today roughly 300,000 Nicaraguans are permanent residents of Costa Rica - about 75% of the foreign population - and thousands more migrate seasonally for work, many illegally.

Age structure

0-14 years: 25.63% (male 811,731/female 777,984)

15-24 years: 19.51% (male 609,962/female 600,567)

25-54 years: 42.41% (male 1,254,683/female 1,376,052)

55-64 years: 6.63% (male 188,591/female 222,766)

65 years and over: 5.82% (male 159,140/female 201,965) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 54.3

youth dependency ratio: 45.5

elderly dependency ratio: 8.8

potential support ratio: 11.4 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 27.3 years

male: 26.4 years

female: 28.2 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

0.93% (2021 est.)

Birth rate

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

Death rate

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

Net migration rate

-2.27 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

Population distribution

the overwhelming majority of the population resides in the western half of the country, with much of the urban growth centered in the capital city of Managua; coastal areas also show large population clusters


urban population: 59.3% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 1.45% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

1.073 million MANAGUA (capital) (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.91 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.85 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female

total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

19.2 years (2011/12 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality rate

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

Infant mortality rate

total: 19.57 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 22.83 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 16.16 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 74.51 years

male: 72.28 years

female: 76.86 years (2021 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.81 children born/woman (2021 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

80.4% (2011/12)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 97.6% of population

rural: 62.6% of population

total: 83.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.4% of population

rural: 37.4% of population

total: 16.9% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

8.6% (2018)

Physicians density

0.98 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

0.9 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 89.8% of population

rural: 66.5% of population

total: 80.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 10.2% of population

rural: 33.5% of population

total: 19.9% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.2% (2020 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

12,000 (2020 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

23.7% (2016)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

4.6% (2011/12)

Education expenditures

4.4% of GDP (2017)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 82.6%

male: 82.4%

female: 82.8% (2015)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 8.5%

male: 6.4%

female: 12.9% (2014 est.)

NOTE: The information regarding Nicaragua 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 Nicaragua 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Nicaragua 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.