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South America :: Bolivia Print
Page last updated on June 17, 2020
  • Introduction :: Bolivia
  • Background field listing

    Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simon BOLIVAR, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825; much of its subsequent history has consisted of a series of coups and countercoups, with the last coup occurring in 1978. Democratic civilian rule was established in 1982, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and illegal drug production.

    In December 2005, Bolivians elected Movement Toward Socialism leader Evo MORALES president - by the widest margin of any leader since the restoration of civilian rule in 1982 - after he ran on a promise to change the country's traditional political class and empower the nation's poor, indigenous majority. In December 2009 and October 2014, President MORALES easily won reelection. His party maintained control of the legislative branch of the government, which has allowed him to continue his process of change. In February 2016, MORALES narrowly lost a referendum to approve a constitutional amendment that would have allowed him to compete in the 2019 presidential election. However, a 2017 Supreme Court ruling stating that term limits violate human rights provided the justification for MORALES to be chosen by his party to run again in 2019. MORALES attempted to claim victory in the 20 October 2019 election, but widespread allegations of electoral fraud, rising violence, and pressure from the military ultimately forced him to flee the country. An interim government is preparing new elections for 2020.

  • Geography :: Bolivia
  • Location field listing
    Central South America, southwest of Brazil
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    17 00 S, 65 00 W
    Map references field listing
    South America
    Area field listing
    total: 1,098,581 sq km
    land: 1,083,301 sq km
    water: 15,280 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 29
    Area - comparative field listing
    slightly less than three times the size of Montana
    Area comparison map: Area comparison map
    Land boundaries field listing
    total: 7,252 km
    border countries (5): Argentina 942 km, Brazil 3403 km, Chile 942 km, Paraguay 753 km, Peru 1212 km
    Coastline field listing
    0 km (landlocked)
    Maritime claims field listing
    none (landlocked)
    Climate field listing
    varies with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semiarid
    Terrain field listing
    rugged Andes Mountains with a highland plateau (Altiplano), hills, lowland plains of the Amazon Basin
    Elevation field listing
    mean elevation: 1,192 m
    lowest point: Rio Paraguay 90 m
    highest point: Nevado Sajama 6,542 m
    Natural resources field listing
    tin, natural gas, petroleum, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron, lead, gold, timber, hydropower
    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 34.3% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 3.6% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.2% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 30.5% (2011 est.)
    forest: 52.5% (2011 est.)
    other: 13.2% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land field listing
    3,000 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution field listing
    a high altitude plain in the west between two cordillera of the Andes, known as the Altiplano, is the focal area for most of the population; a dense settlement pattern is also found in and around the city of Santa Cruz, located on the eastern side of the Andes
    Natural hazards field listing

    flooding in the northeast (March to April)

    volcanism: volcanic activity in Andes Mountains on the border with Chile; historically active volcanoes in this region are Irruputuncu (5,163 m), which last erupted in 1995, and the Olca-Paruma volcanic complex (5,762 m to 5,167 m)

    Environment - current issues field listing
    the clearing of land for agricultural purposes and the international demand for tropical timber are contributing to deforestation; soil erosion from overgrazing and poor cultivation methods (including slash-and-burn agriculture); desertification; loss of biodiversity; industrial pollution of water supplies used for drinking and irrigation
    Environment - international agreements field listing
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation
    Geography - note field listing
    note 1: landlocked; shares control of Lago Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake (elevation 3,805 m), with Peru

    note 2: the southern regions of Peru and the extreme northwestern part of Bolivia are considered to be the place of origin for the common potato
  • People and Society :: Bolivia
  • Population field listing
    11,639,909 (July 2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Bolivian(s)
    adjective: Bolivian
    Ethnic groups field listing
    mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry) 68%, indigenous 20%, white 5%, cholo/chola 2%, black 1%, other 1%, unspecified 3% ; 44% of respondents indicated feeling part of some indigenous group, predominantly Quechua or Aymara (2009 est.)

    note: results among surveys vary based on the wording of the ethnicity question and the available response choices; the 2001 national census did not provide "mestizo" as a response choice, resulting in a much higher proportion of respondents identifying themselves as belonging to one of the available indigenous ethnicity choices; the use of "mestizo" and "cholo" varies among response choices in surveys, with surveys using the terms interchangeably, providing one or the other as a response choice, or providing the two as separate response choices

    Languages field listing
    Spanish (official) 60.7%, Quechua (official) 21.2%, Aymara (official) 14.6%, Guarani (official) 0.6%, other native languages 0.4%, foreign languages 2.4%, none 0.1% (2001 est.)

    note: Bolivia's 2009 constitution designates Spanish and all indigenous languages as official; 36 indigenous languages are specified, including a few that are extinct

    Religions field listing
    Roman Catholic 76.8%, Evangelical and Pentecostal 8.1%, Protestant 7.9%, other 1.7%, none 5.5% (2012 est.)
    Demographic profile field listing

    Bolivia ranks at or near the bottom among Latin American countries in several areas of health and development, including poverty, education, fertility, malnutrition, mortality, and life expectancy. On the positive side, more children are being vaccinated and more pregnant women are getting prenatal care and having skilled health practitioners attend their births.

    Bolivia’s income inequality is the highest in Latin America and one of the highest in the world. Public education is of poor quality, and educational opportunities are among the most unevenly distributed in Latin America, with girls and indigenous and rural children less likely to be literate or to complete primary school. The lack of access to education and family planning services helps to sustain Bolivia’s high fertility rate—approximately three children per woman. Bolivia’s lack of clean water and basic sanitation, especially in rural areas, contributes to health problems.

    Between 7% and 16% of Bolivia’s population lives abroad (estimates vary in part because of illegal migration). Emigrants primarily seek jobs and better wages in Argentina (the principal destination), the US, and Spain. In recent years, more restrictive immigration policies in Europe and the US have increased the flow of Bolivian emigrants to neighboring countries. Fewer Bolivians migrated to Brazil in 2015 and 2016 because of its recession; increasing numbers have been going to Chile, mainly to work as miners.

    Age structure field listing
    0-14 years: 30.34% (male 1,799,925/female 1,731,565)
    15-24 years: 19.21% (male 1,133,120/female 1,103,063)
    25-54 years: 38.68% (male 2,212,096/female 2,289,888)
    55-64 years: 6.06% (male 323,210/female 382,139)
    65 years and over: 5.71% (male 291,368/female 373,535) (2020 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios field listing
    total dependency ratio: 60.5
    youth dependency ratio: 48.5
    elderly dependency ratio: 12
    potential support ratio: 8.3 (2020 est.)
    Median age field listing
    total: 25.3 years
    male: 24.5 years
    female: 26 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    Population growth rate field listing
    1.44% (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    Birth rate field listing
    20.8 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    Death rate field listing
    6.3 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 148
    Net migration rate field listing
    -0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    Population distribution field listing
    a high altitude plain in the west between two cordillera of the Andes, known as the Altiplano, is the focal area for most of the population; a dense settlement pattern is also found in and around the city of Santa Cruz, located on the eastern side of the Andes
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 70.1% of total population (2020)
    rate of urbanization: 1.97% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    278,000 Sucre (constitutional capital) (2018); 1.858 million LA PAZ (capital), 1.713 million Santa Cruz, 1.304 million Cochabamba (2020)
    Sex ratio field listing
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.85 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
    Mother's mean age at first birth field listing
    21.2 years (2008 est.)

    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

    Maternal mortality rate field listing
    155 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    Infant mortality rate field listing
    total: 32.2 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 35.5 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 28.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    Life expectancy at birth field listing
    total population: 70.4 years
    male: 67.6 years
    female: 73.4 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    Total fertility rate field listing
    2.48 children born/woman (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 76
    Contraceptive prevalence rate field listing
    66.5% (2016)
    Drinking water source field listing
    improved: urban: 96.7% of population
    rural: 75.6% of population
    total: 90% of population
    unimproved: urban: 3.3% of population
    rural: 24.4% of population
    total: 10% of population (2015 est.)
    Current Health Expenditure field listing
    6.4% (2017)
    Physicians density field listing
    1.61 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
    Hospital bed density field listing
    1.1 beds/1,000 population (2014)
    Sanitation facility access field listing
    improved: urban: 60.8% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 27.5% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 50.3% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 39.2% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 72.5% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 49.7% of population (2015 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    0.3% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    22,000 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    <1000 (2018 est.)
    Major infectious diseases field listing
    degree of risk: very high (2020)
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate field listing
    20.2% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 102
    Children under the age of 5 years underweight field listing
    3.4% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    Education expenditures field listing
    7.3% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    Literacy field listing
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 92.5%
    male: 96.5%
    female: 88.6% (2015)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 field listing
    total: 6.9%
    male: 6.8%
    female: 7.1% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
  • Government :: Bolivia
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: Plurinational State of Bolivia
    conventional short form: Bolivia
    local long form: Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia
    local short form: Bolivia
    etymology: the country is named after Simon BOLIVAR, a 19th-century leader in the South American wars for independence
    Government type field listing
    presidential republic
    Capital field listing
    name: La Paz (administrative capital); Sucre (constitutional [legislative and judicial] capital)
    geographic coordinates: 16 30 S, 68 09 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    etymology: La Paz is a shortening of the original name of the city, Nuestra Senora de La Paz (Our Lady of Peace); Sucre is named after Antonio Jose de Sucre (1795-1830), military hero in the independence struggle from Spain and the second president of Bolivia

    at approximately 3,630 m above sea level, La Paz's elevation makes it the highest capital city in the world
    Administrative divisions field listing
    9 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Beni, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosi, Santa Cruz, Tarija
    Independence field listing
    6 August 1825 (from Spain)
    National holiday field listing
    Independence Day, 6 August (1825)
    Constitution field listing
    history: many previous; latest drafted 6 August 2006 to 9 December 2008, approved by referendum 25 January 2009, effective 7 February 2009; note - in late 2017, the Constitutional Tribunal declared inapplicable provisions of the constitution that prohibit elected officials, including the president, from serving more than 2 consecutive terms
    amendments: proposed through public petition by at least 20% of voters or by the Plurinational Legislative Assembly; passage requires approval by at least two-thirds majority vote of the total membership of the Assembly and approval in a referendum; amended 2013
    International law organization participation field listing
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    Citizenship field listing
    citizenship by birth: yes
    citizenship by descent only: yes
    dual citizenship recognized: yes
    residency requirement for naturalization: 3 years
    Suffrage field listing
    18 years of age; universal and compulsory
    Executive branch field listing
    chief of state: Interim President Jeanine ANEZ Chavez (since 12 November 2019); Vice President (vacant); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

    note: former President Juan Evo MORALES Ayma resigned from office on 10 November 2019 over alleged election rigging; resignations of all his constitutionally designated successors followed, including the Vice President, President of the Senate, President of the Chamber of Deputies, and First Vice President of the Senate, leaving the Second Vice President of the Senate, Jeanine ANEZ Chavez, the highest-ranking official still in office; her appointment to the presidency was endorsed by Bolivia's Constitutional Court
    head of government: Interim President Jeanine ANEZ Chavez (since 12 November 2019); Vice President (vacant)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
    elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on the same ballot one of 3 ways: candidate wins at least 50% of the vote, or at least 40% of the vote and 10% more than the next highest candidate; otherwise a second round is held and the winner determined by simple majority vote; president and vice president are elected by majority vote to serve a 5-year term; no term limits (changed from two consecutive term limit by Constitutional Court in late 2017); election last held on 20 October 2019 (next originally scheduled for 3 May 2020, but has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic); note - on 10 November 2019, as a result of an Organization of American States report citing manipulations of the voting system, President Juan Evo MORALES Ayma announced that the October election results would be annulled and called for fresh elections; MORALES resigned from his position later that day
    election results:
    results from the 12 October 2014 election: Juan Evo MORALES Ayma reelected president; percent of vote - Juan Evo MORALES Ayma (MAS) 61%; Samuel DORIA MEDINA Arana (UN) 24.5%; Jorge QUIROGA Ramirez (POC) 9.1%; other 5.4%  

    results from the annulled 20 October 2019 election: Juan Evo MORALES Ayma reelected president; percent of vote - Juan Evo MORALES Ayma (MAS) 47.1%; Carlos Diego MESA Gisbert (CC) 36.5%; CHI Hyun Chung (PDC) 8.8%; Oscar ORTIZ Antelo (MDS) 4.2%, other 3.4%; note - MORALES was reelected without runoff because his margin over the runner-up was more than 10%
    note: weeks of protest in La Paz and other cities over allegations of fraud following the October 2019 general election, an announcement by the Organization of American States that the election was manipulated, and pressure from the Bolivian military all culminated in the annulment of the election and the resignation of President Juan Evo MORALES Ayma on 10 November 2019; Interim President Jeanine ANEZ Chavez has pledged to hold new elections as soon as possible
    Legislative branch field listing
    description: bicameral Plurinational Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional consists of:
    Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (36 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)
    Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (130 seats; 70 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote, 53 directly elected in single-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote, and 7 - apportioned to non-contiguous, rural areas in 7 of the 9 states - directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote; members serve 5-year terms)
    Chamber of Senators - last held on 20 October 2019 (next to be held in 2020 with new presidential elections)
    Chamber of Deputies - last held on 20 October 2019 (next to be held in 2020 with new presidential elections)
    election results:
    Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - MAS 21, ACC 14, MDS 1
    Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - MAS 67, ACC 50, PDC 9, MDS 4
    Judicial branch field listing
    highest courts: Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (consists of 12 judges or ministros organized into civil, penal, social, and administrative chambers); Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal (consists of 7 primary and 7 alternate magistrates); Plurinational Electoral Organ (consists of 7 members and 6 alternates); National Agro-Environment Court (consists of 5 primary and 5 alternate judges; Council of the Judiciary (consists of 3 primary and 3 alternate judges)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court, Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal, National Agro-Environmental Court, and Council of the Judiciary candidates pre-selected by the Plurinational Legislative Assembly and elected by direct popular vote; judges elected for 6-year terms; Plurinational Electoral Organ judges appointed - 6 by the Legislative Assembly and 1 by the president of the republic; members serve single 6-year terms
    subordinate courts: National Electoral Court; District Courts (in each of the 9 administrative departments); agro-environmental lower courts
    Political parties and leaders field listing
    Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Jorge Fernando QUIROGA Ramirez]
    Community Citizen Alliance or ACC [Carlos Diego MESA Gisbert]
    Movement Toward Socialism or MAS [Juan Evo MORALES Ayma]
    National Unity or UN [Samuel DORIA MEDINA Arana]
    Social Democrat Movement or MDS [Ruben COSTAS Aguilera]
    note: the Democrat Unity Coalition or UD [Samuel DORIA MEDINA Arana] was a coalition comprised of several of the largest opposition parties participating in the 2014 election, which included the Democrats (MDS), National Unity Front (UN), and Without Fear Movement
    International organization participation field listing
    CAN, CD, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (associate), MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNAMID, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    Ambassador Walter Oscar SERRATE CUELLAR (since 2 December 2019)
    chancery: 3014 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 483-4410
    FAX: [1] (202) 328-3712
    consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Washington, DC

    note: in September 2008, the US expelled the Bolivian ambassador to the US in reciprocity for Bolivia expelling the US ambassador to Bolivia; in November 2019, the interim Bolivian Government names Oscar SERRATE Cuellar as its temporary special representative to the US

    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Bruce WILLIAMSON (since December 2017)
    telephone: [591] (2) 216-8000
    embassy: Avenida Arce 2780, Casilla 425, La Paz
    mailing address: 3220 La Paz Place, Dulles, VA, 20189-3220
    FAX: [591] (2) 216-8111

    note: in September 2008, the Bolivian Government expelled the US Ambassador to Bolivia, Philip GOLDBERG, and both countries have yet to reinstate their ambassadors

    Flag description field listing
    three equal horizontal bands of red (top), yellow, and green with the coat of arms centered on the yellow band; red stands for bravery and the blood of national heroes, yellow for the nation's mineral resources, and green for the fertility of the land

    note: similar to the flag of Ghana, which has a large black five-pointed star centered in the yellow band; in 2009, a presidential decree made it mandatory for a so-called wiphala - a square, multi-colored flag representing the country's indigenous peoples - to be used alongside the traditional flag

    National symbol(s) field listing
    llama, Andean condor, two national flowers: the cantuta and the patuju; national colors: red, yellow, green
    National anthem field listing
    name: "Cancion Patriotica" (Patriotic Song)
    lyrics/music: Jose Ignacio de SANJINES/Leopoldo Benedetto VINCENTI

    note: adopted 1852

  • Economy :: Bolivia
  • Economy - overview field listing

    Bolivia is a resource rich country with strong growth attributed to captive markets for natural gas exports – to Brazil and Argentina. However, the country remains one of the least developed countries in Latin America because of state-oriented policies that deter investment.

    Following an economic crisis during the early 1980s, reforms in the 1990s spurred private investment, stimulated economic growth, and cut poverty rates. The period 2003-05 was characterized by political instability, racial tensions, and violent protests against plans - subsequently abandoned - to export Bolivia's newly discovered natural gas reserves to large Northern Hemisphere markets. In 2005-06, the government passed hydrocarbon laws that imposed significantly higher royalties and required foreign firms then operating under risk-sharing contracts to surrender all production to the state energy company in exchange for a predetermined service fee; the laws engendered much public debate. High commodity prices between 2010 and 2014 sustained rapid growth and large trade surpluses with GDP growing 6.8% in 2013 and 5.4% in 2014. The global decline in oil prices that began in late 2014 exerted downward pressure on the price Bolivia receives for exported gas and resulted in lower GDP growth rates - 4.9% in 2015 and 4.3% in 2016 - and losses in government revenue as well as fiscal and trade deficits.

    A lack of foreign investment in the key sectors of mining and hydrocarbons, along with conflict among social groups, pose challenges for the Bolivian economy. In 2015, President Evo MORALES expanded efforts to court international investment and boost Bolivia’s energy production capacity. MORALES passed an investment law and promised not to nationalize additional industries in an effort to improve the investment climate. In early 2016, the Government of Bolivia approved the 2016-2020 National Economic and Social Development Plan aimed at maintaining growth of 5% and reducing poverty.

    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
    $83.72 billion (2017 est.)
    $80.35 billion (2016 est.)
    $77.07 billion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 94
    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
    $37.78 billion (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    4.2% (2017 est.)
    4.3% (2016 est.)
    4.9% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $7,600 (2017 est.)
    $7,400 (2016 est.)
    $7,200 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 154
    Gross national saving field listing
    15.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
    15.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
    14.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 132
    GDP - composition, by end use field listing
    household consumption: 67.7% (2017 est.)
    government consumption: 17% (2017 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 21.3% (2017 est.)
    investment in inventories: 3.8% (2017 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 21.7% (2017 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -31.3% (2017 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
    agriculture: 13.8% (2017 est.)
    industry: 37.8% (2017 est.)
    services: 48.2% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    soybeans, quinoa, Brazil nuts, sugarcane, coffee, corn, rice, potatoes, chia, coca
    Industries field listing
    mining, smelting, electricity, petroleum, food and beverages, handicrafts, clothing, jewelry
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    2.2% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    Labor force field listing
    5.719 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    Labor force - by occupation field listing
    agriculture: 29.4%
    industry: 22%
    services: 48.6% (2015 est.)
    Unemployment rate field listing
    4% (2017 est.)
    4% (2016 est.)

    note: data are for urban areas; widespread underemployment

    country comparison to the world: 49
    Population below poverty line field listing
    38.6% (2015 est.)

    note: based on percent of population living on less than the international standard of $2/day

    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: 0.9%
    highest 10%: 36.1% (2014 est.)
    Budget field listing
    revenues: 15.09 billion (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 18.02 billion (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    39.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 39
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    -7.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 196
    Public debt field listing
    49% of GDP (2017 est.)
    44.9% of GDP (2016 est.)

    note: data cover general government debt and includes debt instruments issued by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities

    country comparison to the world: 104
    Fiscal year field listing
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    2.8% (2017 est.)
    3.6% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    Current account balance field listing
    -$2.375 billion (2017 est.)
    -$1.932 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    Exports field listing
    $7.746 billion (2017 est.)
    $7.214 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    Exports - partners field listing
    Brazil 17.9%, Argentina 16%, US 7.8%, Japan 7.3%, India 6.6%, South Korea 6.3%, Colombia 5.8%, China 5.1%, UAE 4.7% (2017)
    Exports - commodities field listing
    natural gas, silver, zinc, lead, tin, gold, quinoa, soybeans and soy products
    Imports field listing
    $8.601 billion (2017 est.)
    $7.888 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    Imports - commodities field listing
    machinery, petroleum products, vehicles, iron and steel, plastics
    Imports - partners field listing
    China 21.7%, Brazil 16.8%, Argentina 12.6%, US 8.4%, Peru 6.5% (2017)
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold field listing
    $10.26 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $10.08 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    Debt - external field listing
    $12.81 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $7.268 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 106
    Exchange rates field listing
    bolivianos (BOB) per US dollar -
    6.86 (2017 est.)
    6.86 (2016 est.)
    6.91 (2015 est.)
    6.91 (2014 est.)
    6.91 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Bolivia
  • Electricity access field listing
    population without electricity: 1.2 million (2013)
    electrification - total population: 93% (2016)
    electrification - urban areas: 99.3% (2016)
    electrification - rural areas: 79.1% (2016)
    Electricity - production field listing
    8.951 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    7.785 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    Electricity - exports field listing
    0 kWh (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 108
    Electricity - imports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
    2.764 million kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
    76% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 52
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
    18% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing
    7% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    Crude oil - production field listing
    60,000 bbl/day (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    Crude oil - exports field listing
    1,274 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    Crude oil - imports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    211.5 million bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    65,960 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
    83,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    9,686 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
    20,620 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 118
    Natural gas - production field listing
    18.69 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 32
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    3.171 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 71
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    15.46 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 94
    Natural gas - proved reserves field listing
    295.9 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy field listing
    17.66 million Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
  • Communications :: Bolivia
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 711,961
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 6 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 11,445,830
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 101 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Telecommunication systems field listing
    general assessment: lowest GDP in the area; much of the population live in remote valleys and telecommunications is poor; consumers pick from multiple long-distance carriers for each call; reliability, and coverage have steadily improved, but some remote areas are still underserved; operators plan to extend fiber to all 339 municipal capital cities by 2022; move from 3G to LTE available by all 3 mobile companies; 92% of all Internet is through smartphone; broadband services remain expensive by the lack of competition and that fact that Bolivia is landlocked and does not have access through submarine cables; MNP (mobile number portability) launched in October 2018; Bolivian Space Agency planning to launch a second telecom satellite after 2020 (2020)
    domestic: 6 per 100 fixed-line, mobile-cellular telephone use expanding rapidly and teledensity stands at 101 per 100 persons; most telephones are concentrated in La Paz, Santa Cruz, and other capital cities (2018)
    international: country code - 591; Bolivia has no direct access to submarine cable networks and must therefore connect to the rest of the world either via satellite or through terrestrial links across neighboring countries; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)
    note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
    Broadcast media field listing
    large number of radio and TV stations broadcasting with private media outlets dominating; state-owned and private radio and TV stations generally operating freely, although both pro-government and anti-government groups have attacked media outlets in response to their reporting
    Internet country code field listing
    Internet users field listing
    total: 4,354,678
    percent of population: 39.7% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing
    total: 504,097
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 4 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
  • Military and Security :: Bolivia
  • Military expenditures field listing
    1.4% of GDP (2019)
    1.5% of GDP (2018)
    1.5% of GDP (2017)
    1.6% of GDP (2016)
    1.7% of GDP (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    Military and security forces field listing
    Bolivian Armed Forces: Bolivian Army (Ejercito Boliviano, EB), Bolivian Naval Force (Fuerza Naval Boliviana, FNB, includes Marines), Bolivian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Boliviana, FAB); Ministry of Interior: National Police (Policía Nacional de Bolivia, PNB; includes Anti-Narcotics Special Forces (Fuerza Especial de Lucha Contra el Narcotráfico, FELCN) and other paramilitary units (2019)
    Military service age and obligation field listing
    16-49 years of age for 12-month voluntary male and female military service; Bolivian citizenship required; minimum age for combat duty is 18; when annual number of volunteers falls short of goal, compulsory recruitment is effected, including conscription of boys as young as 14; 15-19 years of age for voluntary premilitary service, provides exemption from further military service (2017)
    Military and security service personnel strengths field listing
    size assessments for the Bolivian Armed Forces vary; approximately 34-44,000 total active troops (23-29,000 Army; 4,800-6,300 Navy; 6,500-8,500 Air Force); est. 37,000 National Police (2019 est.)
    Military equipment inventories and acquisitions field listing
    the Bolivian Armed Forces are equipped with a mix of mostly Brazilian, Chinese, European, and US equipment; since 2010, China and France are the leading suppliers of military hardware to Bolivia (2019 est.)
  • Transportation :: Bolivia
  • National air transport system field listing
    number of registered air carriers: 7 (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 39 (2015)
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 2,578,959 (2015)
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 9,456,548 mt-km (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix field listing
    CP (2016)
    Airports field listing
    855 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    total: 21 (2017)
    over 3,047 m: 5 (2017)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 4 (2017)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 6 (2017)
    914 to 1,523 m: 6 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways field listing
    total: 834 (2013)
    over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 4 (2013)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 47 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 151 (2013)
    under 914 m: 631 (2013)
    Pipelines field listing
    5457 km gas, 51 km liquid petroleum gas, 2511 km oil, 1627 km refined products (2013)
    Railways field listing
    total: 3,960 km (2019)
    narrow gauge: 3,960 km 1.000-m gauge (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 51
    Roadways field listing
    total: 90,568 km (2017)
    paved: 9,792 km (2017)
    unpaved: 80,776 km (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    Waterways field listing
    10,000 km (commercially navigable almost exclusively in the northern and eastern parts of the country) (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    Merchant marine field listing
    total: 43
    by type: general cargo 27, oil tanker 2, other 14 (2019)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    Ports and terminals field listing
    river port(s): Puerto Aguirre (Paraguay/Parana)

    note: Bolivia has free port privileges in maritime ports in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay

  • Transnational Issues :: Bolivia
  • Disputes - international field listing

    Chile and Peru rebuff Bolivia's reactivated claim to restore the Atacama corridor, ceded to Chile in 1884, but Chile offers instead unrestricted but not sovereign maritime access through Chile for Bolivian products; contraband smuggling, human trafficking, and illegal narcotic trafficking are problems in the porous areas of its border regions with all of its neighbors (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Peru)

    Trafficking in persons field listing
    current situation: Bolivia is a source country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking domestically and abroad; rural and poor Bolivians, most of whom are indigenous, and LGBT youth are particularly vulnerable; Bolivians perform forced labor domestically in mining, ranching, agriculture, and domestic service, and a significant number are in forced labor abroad in sweatshops, agriculture, domestic service, and the informal sector; women and girls are sex trafficked within Bolivia and in neighboring countries, such as Argentina, Peru, and Chile; a limited number of women from nearby countries are sex trafficked in Bolivia
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Bolivia does not comply fully with the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government did not demonstrate overall increasing anti-trafficking efforts, and poor data collection made it difficult to assess the number of investigations, prosecutions, and victim identifications and referrals to care services; authorities did not adequately differentiate between human trafficking and other crimes, such as domestic violence and child abuse; law enforcement failed to implement an early detection protocol for identifying trafficking cases and lacked a formal process for identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations; specialized victim services were inadequately funded and virtually non-existent for adult women and male victims (2015)
    Illicit drugs field listing
    world's third-largest cultivator of coca (after Colombia and Peru) with an estimated 37,500 hectares under cultivation in 2016, a 3 percent increase over 2015; third largest producer of cocaine, estimated at 275 metric tons potential pure cocaine in 2016; transit country for Peruvian and Colombian cocaine destined for Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Europe; weak border controls; some money-laundering activity related to narcotics trade; major cocaine consumption