Population of Costa Rica 2017


Current population of Costa Rica is 4,930,258 people (July 2017 est.).


noun: Costa Rican(s)
adjective: Costa Rican

Ethnic Groups

white or mestizo 83.6%, mulato 6.7%, indigenous 2.4%, black of African descent 1.1%, other 1.1%, none 2.9%, unspecified 2.2% (2011 est.)


Spanish (official), English


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

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: 22.61% (male 570,063/female 544,502)
15-24 years: 16.35% (male 410,993/female 394,865)
25-54 years: 44.03% (male 1,092,504/female 1,078,458)
55-64 years: 9.2% (male 220,879/female 232,530)
65 years and over: 7.82% (male 177,882/female 207,582) (2017 est.)

Dependency Ratios

total dependency ratio: 45.4
youth dependency ratio: 32.4
elderly dependency ratio: 12.9
potential support ratio: 7.7 (2015 est.)

Median Age

total: 30.9 years
male: 30.4 years
female: 31.3 years (2016 est.)

Population Growth Rate

1.2% (2017 est.)

Birth Rate

15.5 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Death Rate

4.7 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Net Migration Rate

0.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 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: 78.5% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 2.1% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major Urban Areas – Population:

SAN JOSE (capital) 1.17 million (2015)

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: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate

25 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate

total: 8.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth

total population: 78.6 years
male: 75.9 years
female: 81.4 years (2016 est.)

Total Fertility Rate

1.89 children born/woman (2017 est.)

Contraceptive Prevalence Rate

76.2% (2011)

Health Expenditures

9.3% of GDP (2014)

Physicians Density

1.15 physicians/1,000 population (2013)

Hospital Bed Density

1.2 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking Water Source

urban: 99.6% of population
rural: 91.9% of population
total: 97.8% of population

urban: 0.4% of population
rural: 8.1% of population
total: 2.2% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation Facility Access

urban: 95.2% of population
rural: 92.3% of population
total: 94.5% of population

urban: 4.8% of population
rural: 7.7% of population
total: 5.5% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Adult Prevalence Rate

0.4% (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – People Living with HIV/AIDS

13,000 (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Deaths

<500 (2016 est.)

Major Infectious Disease

degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever

note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)

Obesity – Adult Prevalence Rate

24% (2014)

Children Under the Age of 5 Years Underweight

1.1% (2009)

Education Expenditures

7.6% of GDP (2015)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.8%
male: 97.7%
female: 97.8% (2015 est.)

School Life Expectancy (Primary to Tertiary Education)

total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2015)

Child Labor – Children Ages 5-14

total number: 39,082
percentage: 5% (2002 est.)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24

total: 23.3%
male: 18.8%
female: 31.7% (2016 est.)