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.



Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simón BOLÍVAR, 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 1980. Democratic civilian rule was established in 1982, but leaders have faced problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and illegal drug production.

In 2005, Bolivians elected Movement Toward Socialism leader Evo MORALES as president -- by the widest margin of any leader since 1982 -- after he ran on a promise to change the country's traditional political class and empower the poor and indigenous majority. In 2009 and 2014, MORALES easily won reelection, and his party maintained control of the legislative branch. In 2016, MORALES narrowly lost a referendum to approve a constitutional amendment that would have allowed him to compete in the 2019 presidential election. A subsequent Supreme Court ruling stating that term limits violate human rights provided the justification for MORALES to run despite the referendum, but rising violence, pressure from the military, and widespread allegations of electoral fraud ultimately forced him to flee the country. An interim government, led by President Jeanine AÑEZ Chávez, held new elections in 2020, and Luis Alberto ARCE Catacora was elected president.

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



Central South America, southwest of Brazil

Geographic coordinates

17 00 S, 65 00 W

Map references

South America


total: 1,098,581 sq km

land: 1,083,301 sq km

water: 15,280 sq km

comparison ranking: total 29

Area - comparative

slightly less than three times the size of Montana

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 7,252 km

border countries (5): Argentina 942 km; Brazil 3,403 km; Chile 942 km; Paraguay 753 km; Peru 1,212 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)


varies with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semiarid


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


highest point: Nevado Sajama 6,542 m

lowest point: Rio Paraguay 90 m

mean elevation: 1,192 m

Natural resources

lithium, 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

2,972 sq km (2017)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lago Titicaca (shared with Peru) - 8,030 sq km

salt water lake(s): Lago Poopo - 1,340 sq km

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


total: 12,311,974

male: 6,192,774

female: 6,119,200 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 80; male 81; total 80


noun: Bolivian(s)

adjective: Bolivian

Ethnic groups

Mestizo (mixed White and Indigenous 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


Spanish (official) 68.1%, Quechua (official) 17.2%, Aymara (official) 10.5%, Guarani (official) 0.6%, other 1.5%, unspecified 2.1%; note - Bolivia's 2009 constitution designates Spanish and all Indigenous languages as official; 36 Indigenous languages are specified, including a few that are extinct (2012 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:


Roman Catholic 65%, Protestant 19.6% (Evangelical (non-specific) 11.9%, Evangelical Baptist 2.1%, Evangelical Pentecostal 1.8%, Evangelical Methodist 0.7%, Adventist 2.8%, Protestant (non-specific) 0.3%), Believer (not belonging to the church) 0.9%, other 4.8%, atheist 1.7%, agnostic 0.6%, none 6.1%, unspecified 1.3% (2023 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: 28.5% (male 1,792,803/female 1,718,081)

15-64 years: 64.5% (male 4,002,587/female 3,937,953)

65 years and over: 7% (2024 est.) (male 397,384/female 463,166)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 56.3

youth dependency ratio: 48.7

elderly dependency ratio: 12

potential support ratio: 8.3 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 26.6 years (2024 est.)

male: 26.2 years

female: 27 years

comparison ranking: total 163

Population growth rate

1% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 92

Birth rate

17.6 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 84

Death rate

6.6 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 130

Net migration rate

-1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 143

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


urban population: 71.2% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

1.936 million LA PAZ (capital), 1.820 million Santa Cruz, 1.400 million Cochabamba (2022); 278,000 Sucre (constitutional capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

21.1 years (2008 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

161 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 53

Infant mortality rate

total: 22.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 24.5 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 20 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 68

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 72.5 years (2024 est.)

male: 71 years

female: 74 years

comparison ranking: total population 161

Total fertility rate

2.2 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 85

Gross reproduction rate

1.07 (2024 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 99.2% of population

rural: 80.2% of population

total: 93.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.8% of population

rural: 19.8% of population

total: 6.5% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

7.9% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

1.03 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

1.3 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 97.8% of population

rural: 48.4% of population

total: 83.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.2% of population

rural: 51.6% of population

total: 16.9% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, sexually transmitted diseases: hepatitis B (2024)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

20.2% (2016)

comparison ranking: 103

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 2.98 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 2.22 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.14 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.54 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.08 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 115

Tobacco use

total: 12.7% (2020 est.)

male: 20.5% (2020 est.)

female: 4.8% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 120

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 3.4%

women married by age 18: 19.7%

men married by age 18: 5.2% (2016 est.)

Education expenditures

9.8% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 5


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 92.5%

male: 96.5%

female: 88.6% (2015)


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


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.)


urban population: 71.2% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.33% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 78

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 171

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 25.23 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 21.61 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 21.01 megatons (2020 est.)

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 lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lago Titicaca (shared with Peru) - 8,030 sq km

salt water lake(s): Lago Poopo - 1,340 sq km

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: 140 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 30 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 1.92 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

574 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)


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 Simón BOLÍVAR, a 19th-century leader in the South American wars for independence

Government type

presidential republic


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 Señora de La Paz (Our Lady of Peace); Sucre is named after Antonio José 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


6 August 1825 (from Spain)

National holiday

Independence Day, 6 August (1825)


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 by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 3 years


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%

2019: 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 8 November 2020 inauguration of Luis Alberto ARCE Catacora, who won 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; composition - men 16, women 20, percentage women 55.6%

Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - MAS 75, ACC 39, Creemos 16; composition - men 70, women 60, percentage women 46.2%; total Plurinational Legislative Assembly percentage women - 48.2%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): 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

Community Citizen Alliance or ACC [Carlos Diego MESA Gisbert]
Front for Victory or FPV [Jaime SOLIZ]
Movement Toward Socialism or MAS [Juan Evo MORALES Ayma]
National Unity or UN [Samuel DORIA MEDINA Auza]
Revolutionary Left Front or FRI [Edgar GÚZMAN Jáuregui]
Revolutionary Nationalist Movement or MNR [Luis Eduardo SILES]
Social Democrat Movement or MDS [Ruben COSTAS Aguilera]
Third System Movement or MTS [Félix PATZI]
We Believe or Creemos [Luis Fernando CAMACHO Vaca]

note: We Believe or Creemos [Luis Fernando CAMACHO Vaca] is a coalition comprised of several opposition parties that participated in the 2020 election, which includes the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) and Solidarity Civic Unity (UCS)

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d'Affaires Henry BALDELOMAR CHÁVEZ (since 11 October 2023)

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

telephone: [1] (202) 483-4410

FAX: [1] (202) 328-3712

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d'Affaires Debra HEVIA (since September 2023)

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:

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

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 7 (6 cultural, 1 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: City of Potosi (c); El Fuerte de Samaipata (c); Historic Sucre (c); Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos (c); Noel Kempff Mercado National Park (n); Tiahuanacu (c); Qhapaq Ñan/Andean Road System (c)


Economic overview

resource-rich economy benefits during commodity booms; has bestowed juridical rights to Mother Earth, impacting extraction industries; increasing Chinese lithium mining trade relations; hard hit by COVID-19; increased fiscal spending amid poverty increases; rampant banking and finance corruption

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$100.778 billion (2022 est.)
$97.271 billion (2021 est.)
$91.669 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 94

Real GDP growth rate

3.61% (2022 est.)
6.11% (2021 est.)
-8.74% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 120

Real GDP per capita

$8,200 (2022 est.)
$8,100 (2021 est.)
$7,700 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 151

GDP (official exchange rate)

$44.008 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.75% (2022 est.)
0.74% (2021 est.)
0.94% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 26

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B (2020)

Moody's rating: B2 (2020)

Standard & Poors rating: B+ (2020)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 13.8% (2017 est.)

industry: 37.8% (2017 est.)

services: 48.2% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 187; industry 39; agriculture 70

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

sugarcane, soybeans, potatoes, maize, rice, sorghum, milk, chicken, plantains, wheat (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage


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

Industrial production growth rate

1.03% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 149

Labor force

5.912 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 72

Unemployment rate

3.55% (2022 est.)
5.09% (2021 est.)
7.9% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 58

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 17.4% (2021 est.)

male: 16.8%

female: 18.4%

comparison ranking: total 99

Population below poverty line

36.4% (2021 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

40.9 (2021 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 47

Average household expenditures

on food: 29.2% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 2.1% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.8%

highest 10%: 30.3% (2021 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population


3.31% of GDP (2022 est.)
3.51% of GDP (2021 est.)
3.08% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities


revenues: $11.796 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $14.75 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-7.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 197

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

comparison ranking: 107

Taxes and other revenues

39.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 11

Current account balance

-$183.602 million (2022 est.)
$871.196 million (2021 est.)
-$26.05 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 94


$14.467 billion (2022 est.)
$11.424 billion (2021 est.)
$7.443 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 98

Exports - partners

India 16%, Brazil 14%, Argentina 13%, Colombia 8%, Japan 7% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

natural gas, gold, zinc ore, soybean meal, soybean oil (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars


$14.577 billion (2022 est.)
$10.726 billion (2021 est.)
$8.078 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 107

Imports - partners

Brazil 20%, China 19%, Chile 13%, Peru 9%, Argentina 6% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cars, pesticides, plastic products, trucks (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$3.752 billion (2022 est.)
$4.73 billion (2021 est.)
$5.247 billion (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 93

Debt - external

$12.81 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$7.268 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 106

Exchange rates

bolivianos (BOB) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
6.91 (2022 est.)
6.91 (2021 est.)
6.91 (2020 est.)
6.91 (2019 est.)
6.91 (2018 est.)


Electricity access

population without electricity: 2 million (2020)

electrification - total population: 98.5% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 100% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 95.1% (2021)


installed generating capacity: 3.834 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 8,756,690,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 1.227 billion kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 98; transmission/distribution losses 109; imports 126; exports 106; consumption 105

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 64.4% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 2.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0.7% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 30.5% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 1.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 1 million metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 65,400 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 87,800 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 240.9 million barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

65,960 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 75

Refined petroleum products - exports

9,686 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 82

Refined petroleum products - imports

20,620 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 118

Natural gas

production: 15,328,422,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 2,918,839,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 11,818,215,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 302.99 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

17.786 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 12.071 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 5.715 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 89

Energy consumption per capita

27.094 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 126


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 550,000 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 5 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 87

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 12.034 million (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 100 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 83

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: the structure of Bolivia’s fixed telecom market is different from most other countries; local services are primarily provided by 15 telecom cooperatives; these are non-profit-making companies privately owned and controlled by their users; since the market was liberalized, the cooperatives have also provided long-distance telephony, while several also offer broadband and pay TV service; they have invested in network upgrades in a bid to improve services for customers, and to expand their footprints; Bolivia has a multi-carrier system wherein consumers can choose a long-distance carrier for each call by dialing the carrier’s prefix; several operators have also adopted fixed-wireless technologies, and some rent fiber-optic capacity; the fixed broadband services remain expensive, though the cost of bandwidth is only a fraction of what it was only a few years ago; services are still unavailable in many rural and remote areas, and even in some of the major urban areas; being a landlocked country, Bolivia had no direct access to submarine cable networks, and relies on satellite services or terrestrial links across neighboring countries; in September 2020 a new cable running via Peru, has increased capacity and contributed to a dramatic fall in end-user prices; fixed broadband services are fast migrating from DSL to fiber, while there are also cable broadband services available in some major cities; in 2007 the focus was on providing telecom services in rural areas under a project known as ‘Territory with Total Coverage’; this project aims to increase telecom coverage through mobile rather than through fixed networks; Bolivia has almost twenty times as many mobile phone subscribers as fixed line connections, and the trend towards fixed-mobile substitution continues; all the mobile companies offer 3G and LTE services; due to the poor quality, high cost, and poor reach of DSL, mobile networks have become the principal platform for voice services and data access; by early 2021 companies’ networks reached more than 95% of the population; about 92% of all internet accesses are via smartphones (2021)

domestic: 4 per 100 fixed-line, mobile-cellular telephone use expanding rapidly and teledensity stands at 100 per 100 persons; most telephones are concentrated in La Paz, Santa Cruz, and other capital cities (2021)

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)

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 (2019)

Internet users

total: 7.92 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 66% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 76

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 931,918 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 8 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 76


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 (2018) mt-km


200 (2024)

comparison ranking: 32


3 (2024)


5,457 km gas, 51 km liquid petroleum gas, 2,511 km oil, 1,627 km refined products (2013)


total: 3,960 km (2019)

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

comparison ranking: total 49


total: 90,568 km

paved: 9,792 km

unpaved: 80,776 km (2017)

comparison ranking: total 55


10,000 km (2012) (commercially navigable almost exclusively in the northern and eastern parts of the country)

comparison ranking: 15

Merchant marine

total: 50 (2023)

by type: general cargo 30, oil tanker 2, other 18

comparison ranking: total 121

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Bolivian Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas de Bolivia or FAB): 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) (2024)

note: the PNB includes two paramilitary forces, the Anti-Narcotics Special Forces (Fuerza Especial de Lucha Contra el Narcotráfico, FELCN) and the Anti-Terrorist Group (GAT); the PNB is part of the reserves for the Armed Forces; the police and military share responsibility for border enforcement

Military expenditures

1.2% of GDP (2023 est.)
1.3% of GDP (2022 est.)
1.4% of GDP (2021 est.)
1.4% of GDP (2020 est.)
1.4% of GDP (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 116

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 40,000 active-duty military personnel; approximately 40,000 National Police (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military is equipped with a mix of mostly older Brazilian, Chinese, European, and US equipment; in recent years, France has been the leading supplier (2023)

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 12 months; Search and Rescue service can be substituted for citizens who have reached the age of compulsory military service; duration of this service is 24 months (2024)

note 1: foreign nationals 18-22 residing in Bolivia may join the armed forces; joining speeds the process of acquiring Bolivian citizenship by naturalization

note 2: as of 2022, women comprised about 8% of the Bolivian military's personnel

Military - note

the Bolivian Armed Forces (FAB) are responsible for territorial defense but also have some internal security duties, particularly counternarcotics and border security; the FAB shares responsibility for border enforcement with the National Police (PNB), and it may be called out to assist the PNB with maintaining public order in critical situations; the Army is the largest service and is organized into six military regions and 10 divisional headquarters; most of the combat units are light, motorized, or mechanized infantry along with a sizeable contingent of mechanized, motorized, or horse cavalry; the Army also has a special operations command with airborne, ranger, and special forces units; the Air Force does not have any fighter aircraft but rather a small force of reconnaissance and transport aircraft and multirole helicopters 

Bolivia has a small naval force for patrolling some 5,000 miles of navigable rivers to combat narcotics trafficking and smuggling, provide disaster relief, and deliver supplies to remote rural areas, as well as for maintaining a presence on Lake Titicaca; the Navy also exists in part to cultivate a maritime tradition and as a reminder of Bolivia’s desire to regain the access to the Pacific Ocean that the country lost to Chile in the War of the Pacific (1879-1884); every year on 23 March, the Navy participates in parades and government ceremonies commemorating the Día Del Mar (Day of the Sea) holiday that remembers the loss (2023)


Space agency/agencies

Bolivian Space Agency (la Agencia Boliviana Espacial, ABE; established 2010 as a national public company) (2024)

Space program overview

has a small space program focused on acquiring and operating satellites; operates a telecommunications satellite and two ground stations; has cooperated with China and India and member states of the Latin American and Caribbean Space Agency (ALCE) (2024)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 16,350 (Venezuela) (2023)

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List — Bolivia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so; the government adopted a National Action Plan for the elimination of trafficking and reportedly sentenced three traffickers who had been detained since 2016; however, Bolivia did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period; officials did not report investigating, prosecuting, or convicting traffickers and did not report identifying or referring victims to care; therefore, Bolivia was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List (2023)

trafficking profile: Human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Bolivia, and victims from Bolivia abroad; Bolivian adults and children are exploited in sex trafficking and forced labor at home and abroad; officials report 63% of the victims identified were female; to a lesser extent, women from neighboring countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, Paraguay, and Venezuela, are exploited in sex trafficking in Bolivia; some migrants from Chile, The Gambia, Venezuela, and the Caribbean travelling to or through Bolivia are subject to sex trafficking and forced labor; child sex tourists exploit children within Bolivia; rural, poor, mostly indigenous Bolivians, and LGBTQIA+ youth are particularly at risk for sex and labor trafficking; Bolivian women and girls are exploited in sex trafficking at home and abroad in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Panama, and Peru; within Bolivia, adults and children are exploited in domestic work, mining, ranching, and agriculture; forced criminality continues, including cases of children being forced to commit crimes, such as robbery and drug production, as well as forced begging; traffickers exploit Bolivians in forced labor in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile in sweatshops, agriculture, brickmaking, domestic work, textile factories, and the informal sector; social media is used as the primary recruitment tool, luring vulnerable individuals with fraudulent employment opportunities  (2023)

Illicit drugs

the third-largest source country of cocaine and a major transit country for Peruvian cocaine; coca cultivation in 2021 totaled 39,700 hectares (ha); most  cocaine is exported to other Latin American countries, especially Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina, for domestic consumption, or for onward transit from those countries to West Africa and Europe, not the United States.