Reference > World Factbook, 2008
  The World Factbook.  2008.
Flag of Uruguay                                Map of Uruguay
Background:Montevideo, founded by the Spanish in 1726 as a military stronghold, soon took advantage of its natural harbor to become an important commercial center. Claimed by Argentina but annexed by Brazil in 1821, Uruguay declared its independence four years later and secured its freedom in 1828 after a three-year struggle. The administrations of President Jose BATLLE in the early 20th century established widespread political, social, and economic reforms that established a statist tradition. A violent Marxist urban guerrilla movement named the Tupamaros, launched in the late 1960s, led Uruguay's president to cede control of the government to the military in 1973. By yearend, the rebels had been crushed, but the military continued to expand its hold over the government. Civilian rule was not restored until 1985. In 2004, the left-of-center Frente Amplio Coalition won national elections that effectively ended 170 years of political control previously held by the Colorado and Blanco parties. Uruguay's political and labor conditions are among the freest on the continent.
Location:Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Argentina and Brazil
Geographic coordinates:33 00 S, 56 00 W
Map references:South America
Area:total: 176,220 sq km
land: 173,620 sq km
water: 2,600 sq km
Area—comparative:slightly smaller than the state of Washington
Land boundaries:total: 1,648 km
border countries: Argentina 580 km, Brazil 1,068 km
Coastline:660 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or edge of continental margin
Climate:warm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown
Terrain:mostly rolling plains and low hills; fertile coastal lowland
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Catedral 514 m
Natural resources:arable land, hydropower, minor minerals, fisheries
Land use:arable land: 7.77%
permanent crops: 0.24%
other: 91.99% (2005)
Irrigated land:2,100 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:139 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):total: 3.15 cu km/yr (2%/1%/96%)
per capita: 910 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:seasonally high winds (the pampero is a chilly and occasional violent wind that blows north from the Argentine pampas), droughts, floods; because of the absence of mountains, which act as weather barriers, all locations are particularly vulnerable to rapid changes from weather fronts
Environment—current issues:water pollution from meat packing/tannery industry; inadequate solid/hazardous waste disposal
Environment—international agreements:party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation
Geography—note:second-smallest South American country (after Suriname); most of the low-lying landscape (three-quarters of the country) is grassland, ideal for cattle and sheep raising
Population:3,460,607 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 23% (male 403,745/female 390,623)
15-64 years: 63.8% (male 1,096,225/female 1,112,568)
65 years and over: 13.2% (male 184,303/female 273,143) (2007 est.)
Median age:total: 32.9 years
male: 31.5 years
female: 34.4 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:0.504% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:14.41 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:9.16 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:-0.21 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.034 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.985 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.675 male(s)/female
total population: 0.948 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:total: 12.02 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.49 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.49 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:total population: 75.93 years
male: 72.68 years
female: 79.3 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:1.97 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS—adult prevalence rate:0.3% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS—people living with HIV/AIDS:6,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS—deaths:less than 500 (2003 est.)
Nationality:noun: Uruguayan(s)
adjective: Uruguayan
Ethnic groups:white 88%, mestizo 8%, black 4%, Amerindian (practically nonexistent)
Religions:Roman Catholic 66% (less than half of the adult population attends church regularly), Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, nonprofessing or other 31%
Languages:Spanish, Portunol, or Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian frontier)
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: 97.6%
female: 98.4% (2003 est.)
Country name:conventional long form: Oriental Republic of Uruguay
conventional short form: Uruguay
local long form: Republica Oriental del Uruguay
local short form: Uruguay
former: Banda Oriental, Cisplatine Province
Government type:constitutional republic
Capital:name: Montevideo
geographic coordinates: 34 53 S, 56 11 W
time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in October; ends second Sunday in March
Administrative divisions:19 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Artigas, Canelones, Cerro Largo, Colonia, Durazno, Flores, Florida, Lavalleja, Maldonado, Montevideo, Paysandu, Rio Negro, Rivera, Rocha, Salto, San Jose, Soriano, Tacuarembo, Treinta y Tres
Independence:25 August 1825 (from Brazil)
National holiday:Independence Day, 25 August (1825)
Constitution:27 November 1966, effective 15 February 1967; suspended 27 June 1973, new constitution rejected by referendum 30 November 1980; two constitutional reforms approved by plebiscite 26 November 1989 and 7 January 1997
Legal system:based on Spanish civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:chief of state: President Tabare VAZQUEZ Rosas (since 1 March 2005); Vice President Rodolfo NIN NOVOA (since 1 March 2005); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Tabare VAZQUEZ Rosas (since 1 March 2005); Vice President Rodolfo NIN NOVOA (since 1 March 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president with parliamentary approval
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held 31 October 2004 (next to be held in October 2009)
election results: Tabare VAZQUEZ elected president; percent of vote - Tabare VAZQUEZ 50.5%, Jorge LARRANAGA 35.1%, Guillermo STIRLING 10.3%; other 4.1%
Legislative branch:bicameral General Assembly or Asamblea General consists of Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (30 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms; vice president has one vote in the Senate) and Chamber of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (99 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Senators - last held 31 October 2004 (next to be held October 2009); Chamber of Representatives - last held 31 October 2004 (next to be held October 2009)
election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - EP-FA 16, Blanco 11, Colorado Party 3; Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - EP-FA 52, Blanco 36, Colorado Party 10, Independent Party 1
Judicial branch:Supreme Court (judges are nominated by the president and elected for 10-year terms by the General Assembly)
Political parties and leaders:Broad Front Coalition (Frente Amplio) (formerly known as the Progressive Encounter/Broad Front Coalition or EP-FA); Colorado Party [Julio Maria SANGUINETTI]; Independent Party (Partido Independiente) [Pablo MIERES]; Movement of Popular Participation or MPP [Jose MUJICA]; National Party or Blanco [Jorge LARRANAGA]; New Sector/Space Coalition (Nuevo Espacio) [Rafael MICHELINI]; Uruguayan Assembly or Asamblea Uruguay [Danilo ASTORI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:Architect's Society of Uruguay (professional organization); Catholic Church; Chamber of Uruguayan Industries (manufacturer's association); Chemist and Pharmaceutical Association (professional organization); PIT-CNT (powerful federation of Uruguayan unions); Rural Association of Uruguay (rancher's association); students; Uruguayan Construction League
Diplomatic representation in the US:chief of mission: Ambassador Carlos Alberto GIANELLI Derois
chancery: 1913 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20006
telephone: [1] (202) 331-1313 through 1316
FAX: [1] (202) 331-8142
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York
consulate(s): San Juan (Puerto Rico)
Diplomatic representation from the US:chief of mission: Ambassador Frank BAXTER
embassy: Lauro Muller 1776, Montevideo 11200
mailing address: APO AA 34035
telephone: [598] (2) 418-7777
FAX: [598] (2) 418-8611
Flag description:nine equal horizontal stripes of white (top and bottom) alternating with blue; there is a white square in the upper hoist-side corner with a yellow sun bearing a human face known as the Sun of May with 16 rays that alternate between triangular and wavy
Economy—overview:Uruguay's economy is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated work force, and high levels of social spending. After averaging growth of 5% annually during 1996-98, in 1999-2002 the economy suffered a major downturn, stemming largely from the spillover effects of the economic problems of its large neighbors, Argentina and Brazil. For instance, in 2001-02 Argentina made massive withdrawals of dollars deposited in Uruguayan banks, which led to a plunge in the Uruguayan peso and a massive rise in unemployment. Total GDP in these four years dropped by nearly 20%, with 2002 the worst year due to the banking crisis. The unemployment rate rose to nearly 20% in 2002, inflation surged, and the burden of external debt doubled. Cooperation with the IMF helped stem the damage. Uruguay in 2007 improved its debt profile by paying off $1.1 billion in IMF debt, and continues to follow the orthodox economic plan set by the Fund in 2005. The construction of a pulp mill in Fray Bentos, which represents the largest foreign direct investment in Uruguay's history at $1.2 billion, came online in November 2007 and is expected to add 1.6% to GDP and boost already rising exports. The economy has grown strongly since 2004 as a result of high commodity prices for Uruguayan exports, a strong peso, growth in the region, and low international interest rates.
GDP (purchasing power parity):$37.05 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$21.17 billion (2007 est.)
GDP—real growth rate:7.2% (2007 est.)
GDP—per capita (PPP):$10,700 (2007 est.)
GDP—composition by sector:agriculture: 9.2%
industry: 33%
services: 57.8% (2007 est.)
Labor force:1.5 million (2007 est.)
Labor force—by occupation:agriculture: 9%
industry: 15%
services: 76% (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate:9.2% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:27.37% of households (2006)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: 1.9%
highest 10%: 34% (2003)
Distribution of family income—Gini index:45.2 (2006)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):8.5% (2007)
Investment (gross fixed):16% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget:revenues: $6.6 billion
expenditures: $6.3 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:67% of GDP (2007)
Agriculture—products:rice, wheat, soybeans, barley; livestock, beef; fish; forestry
Industries:food processing, electrical machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, textiles, chemicals, beverages
Industrial production growth rate:6% (2007 est.)
Electricity—production:9.2 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity—consumption:7.03 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity—exports:1 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity—imports:780 million kWh (2007)
Oil—production:27,830 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil—consumption:33,400 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil—exports:4,410 bbl/day (2007)
Oil—imports:43,670 bbl/day (2007)
Oil—proved reserves:0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas—production:0 cu m (2007)
Natural gas—consumption:102.8 million cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas—exports:0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas—imports:116.9 million cu m (2007)
Natural gas—proved reserves:0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:$-400 million (2007 est.)
Exports:$4.5 billion f.o.b. (2007)
Exports—commodities:meat, rice, leather products, wool, fish, dairy products
Exports—partners:Brazil 15.1%, US 12.1%, Argentina 6.8%, Mexico 6.4%, China 6%, Germany 5%, Russia 4.9% (2006)
Imports:$5.5 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports—commodities:crude petroleum and petroleum products, machinery, chemicals, road vehicles, paper, plastics
Imports—partners:Argentina 20.4%, Brazil 17.1%, US 8.2%, Paraguay 7.2%, China 6.9%, Venezuela 4.8%, Nigeria 4.4% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$4.1 billion (December 2007 est.)
Debt—external:$12 billion (30 September 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment—at home:$4.19 billion $NA
Stock of direct foreign investment—abroad:$156 million $NA
Market value of publicly traded shares:$224 (2007)
Economic aid—recipient:$14.62 million (2005)
Currency (code):Uruguayan peso (UYU)
Exchange rates:Uruguayan pesos per US dollar - 23.947 (2007), 24.048 (2006), 24.479 (2005), 28.704 (2004), 28.209 (2003)
Fiscal year:calendar year
Telephones—main lines in use:987,000 (2006)
Telephones—mobile cellular:2.333 million (2006)
Telephone system:general assessment: fully digitalized
domestic: most modern facilities concentrated in Montevideo; new nationwide microwave radio relay network; overall fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity is approaching 100 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 598; the UNISOR submarine cable system provides direct connectivity to Brazil and Argentina; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2002)
Radio broadcast stations:AM 93, FM 191, shortwave 7 (2005)
Television broadcast stations:62 (2005)
Internet country
Internet hosts:279,114 (2007)
Internet users:756,000 (2006)
Airports:60 (2007)
Airports—with paved runways:total: 9
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2007)
Airports—with unpaved runways:total: 51
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 19
under 914 m: 29 (2007)
Pipelines:gas 257 km; oil 160 km (2007)
Railways:total: 2,073 km
standard gauge: 2,073 km 1.435-m gauge
note: 461 km have been taken out of service and 460 km are in partial use (2006)
Roadways:total: 77,732 km
paved: 7,743 km
unpaved: 69,989 km (2004)
Waterways:1,600 km (2005)
Merchant marine:total: 14 ships (1000 GRT or over) 36,041 GRT/22,274 DWT
by type: cargo 2, chemical tanker 2, passenger/cargo 7, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 4 (Argentina 3, Greece 1)
registered in other countries: 7 (Argentina 1, Bahamas 1, Liberia 3, Spain 2) (2007)
Ports and terminals:Montevideo
Military branches:Army, Navy (includes naval air arm, Marines, Maritime Prefecture in wartime), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Uruguaya, FAU) (2006)
Military service age and obligation:18 years of age for voluntary and compulsory military service; enlistment is voluntary in peacetime, but the government has the authority to conscript in emergencies (2007)
Manpower available for military service:males age 18-49: 764,408
females age 18-49: 760,341 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:males age 18-49: 637,445
females age 18-49: 631,046 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures—percent of GDP:1.6% (2006)
Transnational Issues
Disputes—international:in Jan 2007, ICJ provisionally ruled Uruguay may begin construction of two paper mills on the Uruguay River, which forms the border with Argentina, while the court examines further whether Argentina has the legal right to stop such construction with potential environmental implications to both countries; uncontested dispute with Brazil over certain islands in the Quarai/Cuareim and Invernada streams and the resulting tripoint with Argentina


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