Population of Nicaragua 2017


Current population of Nicaragua is 6,025,951 people (July 2017 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.)


Roman Catholic 51.6%, Evangelical 33.9%, other 1.5%, unspecified 12.9%, none 0.2% (2016 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 continueto have less access to healthcare services. Nicaragua’s total fertility rate has fallen from around 6 children per woman in 1980 to just above 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: 27.24% (male 837,465/female 803,985)
15-24 years: 21.26% (male 644,153/female 636,787)
25-54 years: 40.24% (male 1,149,747/female 1,274,818)
55-64 years: 5.98% (male 166,782/female 193,781)
65 years and over: 5.28% (male 141,816/female 176,617) (2017 est.)

Dependency Ratios

total dependency ratio: 54.1
youth dependency ratio: 46.3
elderly dependency ratio: 7.8
potential support ratio: 12.8 (2015 est.)

Median Age

total: 25.2 years
male: 24.3 years
female: 26 years (2016 est.)

Population Growth Rate

1% (2017 est.)

Birth Rate

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

Death Rate

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

Net Migration Rate

-2.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 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: 59.4% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 1.84% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major Urban Areas – Population:

MANAGUA (capital) 956,000 (2015)

Sex Ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.86 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Mother’s Mean Age at First Birth

19.2 years

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2011/12 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate

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

Infant Mortality Rate

total: 19 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth

total population: 73.2 years
male: 71.1 years
female: 75.5 years (2016 est.)

Total Fertility Rate

1.89 children born/woman (2017 est.)

Contraceptive Prevalence Rate

80.4% (2011/12)

Health Expenditures

9% of GDP (2014)

Physicians Density

0.91 physicians/1,000 population (2014)

Hospital Bed Density

0.9 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking Water Source

urban: 99.3% of population
rural: 69.4% of population
total: 87% of population

urban: 0.7% of population
rural: 30.6% of population
total: 13% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation Facility Access

urban: 76.5% of population
rural: 55.7% of population
total: 67.9% of population

urban: 23.5% of population
rural: 44.3% of population
total: 32.1% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Adult Prevalence Rate

0.2% (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – People Living with HIV/AIDS

8,900 (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Deaths

<500 (2016 est.)

Major Infectious Disease

degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: dengue fever and malaria

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

15.5% (2014)

Children Under the Age of 5 Years Underweight

5.7% (2007)

Education Expenditures

4.5% of GDP (2010)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 82.8%
male: 82.4%
female: 83.2% (2015 est.)

Child Labor – Children Ages 5-14

total number: 223,992
percentage: 14%

note: data represent children ages 5-17 (2005 est.)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24

total: 11.9%
male: 9.8%
female: 15.6% (2010 est.)