Nicaragua’s population is 6 million people and the population growth rate is 1.3 % a year. In addition Nicaraguan’s life expectancy at birth is 73 years and mortality infant rate is 21 per 1,000 live births, while fertility rate is 2.8 children per woman. Approximately 60% of the Nicaraguan population lives in the Pacific Region, while 30% lives in the Central Region and a very small percentage of 10% lives in the big expanse of the Nicaraguan Caribbean. Also the urban Nicaragua population reaches about 57%. The country is divided into 15 local administrative areas (departments) and two Atlantic Autonomous Regions, North and South, (RAAN and RAAS). Mestizos are Nicaragua’s predominant ethnic group with 76%, Caucasians represents around 10% and the rest are of diverse origins such as Miskitos, Sumos-Mayangnas, Garifunas, Ramas and Creoles, most of which are settled in the Caribbean.
Education has been for Nicaragua, in the last ten years, one of the main areas of concern which is why the government has dynamically involved all the possible resources to diminish illiteracy to the low level of 3.5 %. The public spending on education for 2008 represented about 5.3 % of the Gross Domestic Product, while the public spending on education per student for this same year was US$203. Public Education is free from elementary through high school but there is also private education. Both public and private school students wear uniforms which colors are blue and white representing the colors of the national flag of Nicaragua. Students are required to take and pass special math and Spanish tests to be admitted at Public universities.
Public Health Care is also free in Nicaragua but there are also private clinics and hospitals. Public clinics are located in neighborhoods where people are attended for free mainly to treat minor diseases. Major hospitals are located in every big city which will assist patients for more severe cases. As Nicaragua is a developing country there are still many things to improve and to take care of, so the government is supported by international medical missions in assisting the most needy in urban and rural areas.
Nicaragua has a developing economy which has been growing substantially in the last years. The Gross Domestic Product for 2012 is US$10.5 billion growing 3.2% a year and per-capita national income for this year was $1,756. As well official numbers from the Nicaraguan government affirm a 6.1% unemployment rate on the total labor force, although the realty over exceeds the official figures. Nicaragua’s agriculture represents a significant 20% of the Gross Domestic Product and 40% of the total employment.
Nicaragua is essentially a Catholic country with about 70% of the population being Catholic. Protestants represents 25% of the Nicaraguan population. The rest of the inhabitants do not profess any religion. Through the whole year it is very common to see cultural and religious manifestations in some Nicaraguan cities or towns. These are very colorful festivities which strongly blend indigenous traditions with Spanish inheritance.