Photos of Bolivia

Begun in 1835, the Catedral Metropolitana Nuestra Senora de La Paz (Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace or Metropolitan Cathedral) in La Paz was built in the neo-classical style and was not completed until 1987.

Introduction

Background

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, led by President Jeanine ANEZ Chavez, prepared new elections that took place on 18 October 2020.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Central South America, southwest of Brazil

Geographic coordinates

17 00 S, 65 00 W

Map references

South America

Area

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

slightly less than three times the size of Montana

<p>slightly less than three times the size of Montana</p>

Land boundaries

total: 7,252 km

border countries (5): Argentina 942 km, Brazil 3403 km, Chile 942 km, Paraguay 753 km, Peru 1212 km

Coastline

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)

Climate

varies with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semiarid

Terrain

rugged Andes Mountains with a highland plateau (Altiplano), hills, lowland plains of the Amazon Basin

Elevation

highest point: Nevado Sajama 6,542 m

lowest point: Rio Paraguay 90 m

mean elevation: 1,192 m

Natural resources

tin, natural gas, petroleum, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron, lead, gold, timber, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 34.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 3.6% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 30.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 52.5% (2018 est.)

other: 13.2% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

3,000 sq km (2012)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Amazon (6,145,186 sq km), Paraná (2,582,704 sq km)

Major aquifers

Amazon Basin

Population distribution

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

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)

Geography - note

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, while southeast Bolivia and northwest Argentina seem to be the original development site for peanuts

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Bolivian(s)

adjective: Bolivian

Ethnic groups

Mestizo (mixed White and Amerindian ancestry) 68%, Indigenous 20%, White 5%, Cholo/Chola 2%, African descent 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

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%; note - Bolivia's 2009 constitution designates Spanish and all indigenous languages as official; 36 indigenous languages are specified, including a few that are extinct (2001 est.)

major-language sample(s):
La Libreta Informativa del Mundo, la fuente indispensable de información básica. (Spanish)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Spanish audio sample:

Religions

Roman Catholic 70%, Evangelical 14.5%, Adventist 2.5%, Mormon 1.2%, agnostic 0.3%, atheist 0.8%, other 3.5%, none 6.6%, unspecified 0.6% (2018 est.)

Demographic profile

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

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.)

This is the population pyramid for Bolivia. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 60.5

youth dependency ratio: 48.5

elderly dependency ratio: 12

potential support ratio: 8.3 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 25.3 years

male: 24.5 years

female: 26 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 160

Birth rate

20.36 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 72

Death rate

6.26 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 147

Net migration rate

-0.23 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 111

Population distribution

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

urban population: 70.5% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 1.87% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

278,000 Sucre (constitutional capital) (2018); 1.882 million LA PAZ (capital), 1.749 million Santa Cruz, 1.337 million Cochabamba (2021)

Sex ratio

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

21.2 years (2008 est.)

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

Maternal mortality ratio

155 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 56

Infant mortality rate

total: 39.27 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 43.95 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 34.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 70.7 years

male: 67.87 years

female: 73.67 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 168

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 78.1% of population

total: 92.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 21.9% of population

total: 7.1% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

1.59 physicians/1,000 population (2016)

Hospital bed density

1.3 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 94.1% of population

rural: 42.2% of population

total: 78% of population

unimproved: urban: 5.9% of population

rural: 57.8% of population

total: 22% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

<200 (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

Literacy

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

total: 8.8%

male: 8.2%

female: 9.7% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 138

Environment

Environment - current issues

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

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands,

signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 20.24 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 21.61 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 21.01 megatons (2020 est.)

Climate

varies with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semiarid

Land use

agricultural land: 34.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 3.6% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 30.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 52.5% (2018 est.)

other: 13.2% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 70.5% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 1.87% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 2,219,052 tons (2015 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 268,727 tons (2015 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 12.1% (2015 est.)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Amazon (6,145,186 sq km), Paraná (2,582,704 sq km)

Major aquifers

Amazon Basin

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 136 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 32 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 1.92 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

574 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Government

Country name

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

presidential republic

Capital

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

note: at approximately 3,630 m above sea level, La Paz's elevation makes it the highest capital city in the world

Administrative divisions

9 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Beni, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosi, Santa Cruz, Tarija

Independence

6 August 1825 (from Spain)

National holiday

Independence Day, 6 August (1825)

Constitution

history: many previous; latest drafted 6 August 2006 to 9 December 2008, approved by referendum 25 January 2009, effective 7 February 2009

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

Legal system

civil law system with influences from Roman, Spanish, canon (religious), French, and indigenous law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 3 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch

chief of state: President Luis Alberto ARCE Catacora (since 8 November 2020); Vice President David CHOQUEHUANCA Cespedes (since 8 November 2020); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Luis Alberto ARCE Catacora (since 8 November 2020); Vice President David CHOQUEHUANCA Cespedes (since 8 November 2020)

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 18 October 2020 (next to be held in October 2025)

election results:
2020: Luis Alberto ARCE Catacora elected president; percent of vote - Luis Alberto ARCE Catacora (MAS) 55.1%; Carlos Diego MESA Gisbert (CC) 28.8%; Luis Fernando CAMACHO Vaca (Creemos) 14%; other 2.1%

2018: 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%; note - MORALES 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, and she served as interim president until the inauguration of Luis Alberto ARCE Catacora, winner of the 18 October 2020 presidential election

Legislative branch

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 party-list 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 closed party-list 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)

elections:
Chamber of Senators - last held on 18 October 2020 (next to be held in 2025)
Chamber of Deputies - last held on 18 October 2020 (next to be held in 2025)

election results:
Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - MAS 21, ACC 11, Creemos 4;
Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - MAS 75, ACC 39, Creemos 16

Judicial branch

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

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]
We Believe or Creemos [Luis Fernando CAMACHO Vaca]

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

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

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Alejandro Roberto BILBAO LA VIEJA RUIZ, First Secretary (since 6 July 2021)

chancery: 3014 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 483-4410

FAX: [1] (202) 328-3712

email address and website:
embolivia.wdc@gmail.com

consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles, Maple Grove (MN), 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

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Charisse PHILLIPS (since August 2020)

embassy: Avenida Arce 2780, La Paz

mailing address: 3220 La Paz Place, Washington DC  20512-3220

telephone: [591] (2) 216-8000

FAX: [591] (2) 216-8111

email address and website:
ConsularLaPazACS@state.gov

https://bo.usembassy.gov/

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

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)

llama, Andean condor, two national flowers: the cantuta and the patuju; national colors: red, yellow, green

National anthem

name: "Cancion Patriotica" (Patriotic Song)

lyrics/music: Jose Ignacio de SANJINES/Leopoldo Benedetto VINCENTI

note: adopted 1852

Economy

Economic overview

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.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$92.59 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$100.45 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$98.27 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 94

Real GDP growth rate

2.22% (2019 est.)

4.23% (2018 est.)

4.19% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 127

Real GDP per capita

$7,900 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$8,700 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$8,700 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 152

GDP (official exchange rate)

$40.822 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.8% (2019 est.)

2.2% (2018 est.)

2.8% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 99

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B (2020)

Moody's rating: B2 (2020)

Standard & Poors rating: B+ (2020)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 13.8% (2017 est.)

industry: 37.8% (2017 est.)

services: 48.2% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

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.)

Agricultural products

sugar cane, soybeans, potatoes, maize, sorghum, rice, milk, plantains, poultry, bananas

Industries

mining, smelting, electricity, petroleum, food and beverages, handicrafts, clothing, jewelry

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 29.4%

industry: 22%

services: 48.6% (2015 est.)

Unemployment rate

4% (2017 est.)

4% (2016 est.)

note: data are for urban areas; widespread underemployment

country comparison to the world: 58

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 0.9%

highest 10%: 36.1% (2014 est.)

Budget

revenues: 15.09 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 18.02 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

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

calendar year

Current account balance

-$2.375 billion (2017 est.)

-$1.932 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 171

Exports

$7.55 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2020 est.)

$10.26 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$10.35 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 111

Exports - partners

Argentina 16%, Brazil 15%, United Arab Emirates 12%, India 10%, United States 6%, South Korea 5%, Peru 5%, Colombia 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

natural gas, gold, zinc, soybean oil and soy products, tin, silver, lead (2019)

Imports

$8.27 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2020 est.)

$11.95 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$12.44 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 117

Imports - partners

Brazil 22%, Chile 15%, China 13%, Peru 11%, Argentina 8%, United States 7% (2017)

Imports - commodities

cars, refined petroleum, delivery trucks, iron, buses (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$10.26 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$10.08 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 74

Debt - external

$12.81 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$7.268 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 107

Exchange rates

bolivianos (BOB) per US dollar -

6.91 (2020 est.)

6.91 (2019 est.)

6.91 (2018 est.)

6.91 (2014 est.)

6.91 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 93% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 99.3% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 79% (2019)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 652,272

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 5.71 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 86

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 11,688,830

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 102.25 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 78

Telecommunication systems

general assessment:

with low national GDP and remote landlocked geography, Bolivia’s telecom services are historically expensive and neglected resulting in low penetration; fixed telecom market is provided by non-profit cooperatives focused on improvement of services such as broadband and paid TV services; some operators adopted fixed-wireless technologies and fiber-optic capacity; fixed broadband services migrating from DSL to fiber remain expensive and largely unavailable in many areas; historically relied on satellite services or terrestrial links and inaugurated a new cable running via Peru to the Pacific; operator aims to increase coverage through mobile networks for voice and data access, especially to rural areas; space agency plans to boost satellite-based Internet; in 2020, communications towers in Yapacani were destroyed due to pandemic conspiracy fears; importer of broadcasting equipment from China

(2021)

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 (2019)

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 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

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 users

total: 4,955,569

percent of population: 43.83% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 83

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 746,872

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 6.53 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 77

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 7 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 39

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 4,122,113 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 13.73 million mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 21

over 3,047 m: 5

2,438 to 3,047 m: 4

1,524 to 2,437 m: 6

914 to 1,523 m: 6 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 834

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 4

1,524 to 2,437 m: 47

914 to 1,523 m: 151

under 914 m: 631 (2013)

Pipelines

5457 km gas, 51 km liquid petroleum gas, 2511 km oil, 1627 km refined products (2013)

Railways

total: 3,960 km (2019)

narrow gauge: 3,960 km 1.000-m gauge (2014)

country comparison to the world: 51

Roadways

total: 90,568 km (2017)

paved: 9,792 km (2017)

unpaved: 80,776 km (2017)

country comparison to the world: 54

Waterways

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

total: 42

by type: general cargo 27, oil tanker 1, other 14 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 122

Ports and terminals

river port(s): Puerto Aguirre (Paraguay/Parana)

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

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Bolivian Armed Forces: Bolivian Army (Ejercito de Boliviano, EB), Bolivian Naval Force (Fuerza Naval Boliviana, FNB), Bolivian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Boliviana, FAB); Ministry of Government: National Police (Policía Nacional de Bolivia, PNB; includes paramilitary Anti-Narcotics Special Forces (Fuerza Especial de Lucha Contra el Narcotráfico, FELCN)) and an Anti-Terrorist Group (GAT)  (2021)

note - the National Police is part of the reserves for the Armed Forces

Military expenditures

1.3% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.4% of GDP (2019)

1.5% of GDP (2018)

1.5% of GDP (2017)

1.6% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 97

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies widely; approximately 50,000 active troops (37,000 Army; 5,000 Navy; 8,000 Air Force); note - a considerable portion of the Navy personnel are marines and naval police; approximately 40,000 National Police (2021)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Bolivian Armed Forces are equipped with a mix of mostly older Brazilian, Chinese, European, and US equipment; since 2010, China and France are the leading suppliers of military hardware to Bolivia (2020)

Military service age and obligation

compulsory for all men between the ages of 18 and 22; men can volunteer from the age of 16, women from 18; service is for one year; Search and Rescue service can be substituted for citizens who have reached the age of compulsory military service; duration of this service is 2 years (2019)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

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)

Illicit drugs

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