Nicaragua Demographics

What is the population of Nicaragua?

Population 6,203,441
Population Growth Rate 1.05%
Urban Population 57.5%
Population in Major Urban Areas MANAGUA (capital) 970,000
Nationality Noun Nicaraguan(s)
Nationality Adjective Nicaraguan
Ethnic Groups mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 69%, white 17%, black 9%, Amerindian 5%
Languages Spoken Spanish (official)

Nicaragua Health Information

What are the health conditions in Nicaragua?

Contraceptive Prevalance Rate - female 15-49 72.4%
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 5.06
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 67.8%
Drinking Water Source - percent of total population unimproved 15%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 97.6%
Food or Waterborne Disease (s) bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 10.1%
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.2%
HIV/Aids Deaths 100
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population 1.1
Infant Mortality Rate - female deaths/1,000 live births 17.84
Infant Mortality Rate - male deaths/1,000 live births 24.19
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 21.09
Major Infectious Diseases - degree of risk high
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 95
Mean Age for Mother's First Birth 19.7
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 22.2%
People Living with HIV/AIDS 6,900
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population .37
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of total population unimproved 47.9%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 63.2%
Sanitation Facitlity Access - percent of rural population improved 37%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 2.03
Underweight - percent of children under five years 5.7%
Vectorborne Disease (s) dengue fever and malaria

Nicaragua Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Nicaragua?

Life Expectancy at Birth 72 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - female 74 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - male 70 Years
Median Age 23 Years
Median Age - female 24 Years
Median Age - male 22 Years

Nicaragua Infant Mortality - per 1,000 live births

Nicaragua median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 19
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 5.06
Median Age 23 Years
Median Age - female 24 Years
Median Age - male 22 Years
Net Migration Rate - migrant(s)/1,000 population -3.26
Population Growth Rate 1.05%
Sex Ratio 0-14 Years - male/female 1.04
Sex Ratio 15-24 Years - male/female 1.01
Sex Ratio 25-54 Years - male/female .9
Sex Ratio 55-64 Years - male/female .96
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.05
Sex Ratio of Total Population - male/female .96
Sex Ratio Over 64 Years - male/female .83

Nicaragua Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Nicaragua?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical care is very limited, particularly outside of Managua. Basic and emergency medical services are available in Managua and in many of the smaller towns and villages. However, treatment for many serious medical problems is either unavailable or available only in Managua. Ambulance services, where available, provide transportation and basic first aid only. More advanced medical equipment, and some medications and treatments, are not available in Nicaragua. Physicians and hospital personnel frequently do not speak English, and medical reports are written in Spanish.

In an emergency, individuals are taken to the nearest hospital that will accept a patient. This is usually a public hospital unless the individual or someone acting on their behalf indicates that they can pay for a private hospital. Payment for medical services is typically done on a cash basis, although some private hospitals will accept major credit cards for payment. U.S. health insurance plans are generally not accepted in Nicaragua, however, the Embassy has been informed that Hospital Metropolitano in Managua accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield and Tricare.

Tap water is not considered potable in Nicaragua. All persons should drink only bottled water.

Individuals traveling to Nicaragua should ensure that all their routine vaccinations are up to date. Vaccinations against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, rabies, and typhoid are strongly recommended. A yellow fever vaccination is not required to enter Nicaragua unless the traveler has recently visited a country where yellow fever is endemic. Travelers taking prescription medications should bring an adequate supply with them when coming to Nicaragua. Many newer combination medications are not available in local pharmacies.

In July 2013, the Nicaraguan government declared an alert based on an increase in cases of Dengue Fever, H1N1 flu, and leptospirosis. We advise U.S. citizens to take appropriate precautions and consult with your medical professional for advice before you visit Nicaragua.

Nicaragua Education

What is school like in Nicaragua?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 4.6%
Literacy - female 67.8%
Literacy - male 67.2%
Literacy - total population 67.5%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write
School Life Expectancy - female 11 Years
School Life Expectancy - male 10 Years
Total School Life Expectancy - (primary to tertiary) 11 Years

Nicaragua Literacy

Can people in Nicaragua read?

Literacy - female 67.8%
Literacy - male 67.2%
Literacy - total population 67.5%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write
Predominant Language Spanish (official)

Nicaragua Crime

Is Nicaragua a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

While less than in neighboring countries, violent crime in Managua exists, and petty street crimes are common. Gang activity exists, but also remains less prevalent than in neighboring Central American countries. Pick-pocketing and occasional armed robberies occur on crowded buses, at bus stops, in taxis, and in open markets like the Oriental and Huembes Markets. Violence, robbery, assault, and stabbings are mostly confined to poorer neighborhoods, including the area around the Ticabus terminal, a major arrival and departure point for tourist buses. However, over the past year, acts of petty crime have taken place in more upscale neighborhoods and near major hotels, including in the Zona Hippos, Galerias Mall, Santo Domingo, Las Colinas, and South Highway neighborhoods. We also advise U.S. citizens not to leave any valuables or passports in a car, especially while shopping at gas station convenience stores, as there have been a large number of reports by U.S. citizens of cars being burglarized in these locations.

In the past, some U.S. citizens were targeted shortly after arriving in the country by criminals posing as Nicaraguan police officers who pull over their vehicles – including those operated by reputable hotels – for inspection. In each case, the incidents happened after dark and involved gun-wielding assailants who robbed passengers of all valuables and abandoned them in remote locations. Some assailants employed threats of physical violence. While the traditional scene of these attacks has been the Tipitapa-Masaya Highway, also known as Carretera Norte, this activity has also spread to the Managua-Leon Highway. There has also been an increase in armed robbery attempts by masked individuals along roadsides leading to popular tourist destinations. Assailants will step out of roadside vegetation with weapons in an attempt to stop the vehicle and rob passengers. Another criminal strategy is to set up make-shift blockades of tree branches and rocks to force travelers to stop. Once vehicle occupants exit their vehicles to move the items, they are typically robbed at gun or knife point.

U.S. citizens should exercise particular caution when approached by strangers offering assistance with finding a taxi cab. Dozens of U.S. citizens have reported being victimized by fellow travelers who offered to assist them in locating and/or sharing a taxi in and around San Juan del Sur, San Jorge, Granada, Managua, Masaya, and other popular tourist destinations. Upon entering the taxi, the U.S. citizens were held at knife- or gunpoint, threatened with bodily injury and/or rape, robbed of their valuables, and driven around to ATMs to withdraw funds from their accounts. Taxi drivers have also picked up additional passengers along the route who then threaten and rob the U.S. citizen, generally in conjunction with the taxi driver. After the assault, the U.S. citizen victims were left abandoned and destitute in remote areas. In 2011, two U.S. citizen victims were beaten and raped after providing incorrect bank card PIN numbers to assailants.

Before taking a taxi, make sure that it has a red license plate and that the number is legible. Pick taxis carefully and note the driver's name and license number. Instruct the driver not to pick up other passengers, agree on the fare before entering the taxi, and have small bills available for payment, as taxi drivers often do not make change. Also, check that the taxi is properly labeled with the cooperativa (company) name and logo. Purse and jewelry snatchings sometimes occur at stoplights. While riding in a vehicle, windows should be closed, car doors locked and valuables placed out of sight. Radio dispatched cabs are recommended and can be summoned at Managua’s international airport and to most major hotels and restaurants.

Many consider the police presence in the tourist destination of San Juan del Sur to be inadequate. There have been incidents of sexual assaults of foreign tourists on beaches in Nicaragua. U.S. citizens were the victims of such assaults in 2011 at a popular beach hotel in San Juan del Sur and in 2013 at a beach hostel at Playa Majagualnot far from San Juan del Sur. The Embassy recommends travelling in groups when going to the beach or to isolated areas. Single travelers should exercise special caution while traveling to beach areas, to the Atlantic Coast, and in other remote areas of the country.

Police coverage is extremely sparse outside of major urban areas, including in the remote beach communities on the Pacific Coast and Nicaragua’s Atlantic coast autonomous regions. Lack of adequate police coverage has resulted in these areas being used by drug traffickers and other criminal elements. Street crime and petty theft are common problems in Puerto Cabezas, Bluefields, and other urban areas along the Atlantic coast. Given the area’s geographical isolation, the Embassy’s ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens who choose to travel in the Atlantic coastal area is limited. Police presence is minimal on the Corn Islands as well.

Throughout Nicaragua, U.S. citizens should utilize hotels and guest houses which have security measures in place, including but not limited to rooms equipped with safes for securing valuables and travel documents and adequate access control precautions. U.S. citizens report that even in hotels with safes, items have gone missing.

Do not resist a robbery attempt. Many criminals have weapons, and most injuries and deaths have resulted when victims resisted. Do not hitchhike or go home with strangers, particularly from nightclubs. Do not accept rides from strangers at major bus terminals or border crossings. Travel in groups of two or more persons whenever possible. Use the same common sense while traveling in Nicaragua that you would in any high-crime area of a large U.S. city. Do not wear excessive jewelry or utilize your smart/cell phone in a fashion that attracts attention to its inherent value. Do not carry large sums of money, other valuables, or ATM or credit cards that are not needed.

Do not leave valuables inside parked vehicles. U.S. citizens residing in Nicaragua are urged to review residential security procedures, including with their domestic employees, and strengthen security measures to help safeguard their houses.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law. Be wary when making purchases from street vendors or in markets. Buying pirated goods undermines legitimate businesses.

Nicaragua Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Nicaragua, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, for example, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Nicaragua, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.

Persons violating Nicaraguan laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Nicaragua are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and fines. Nicaragua’s judicial system is subject to political interference and suffers from widespread corruption. Laws are not enforced uniformly. Detainees, both Nicaraguan and foreign, have been subject to imprisonment for lengthy periods without charges being filed against them. U.S. citizens should be aware that Embassy officials are limited in what they can do to assist detainees.

Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Nicaragua, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest, and to have communications from you forwarded to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Nicaragua Population Comparison

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