Country Summary



The Pacific coast of Nicaragua was settled as a Spanish colony from Panama in the early 16th century. Independence from Spain was declared in 1821 and the country became an independent republic in 1838. Democratic institutions have weakened as the president has garnered full control over all branches of government.



total: 130,370 sq km
land: 119,990 sq km
water: 10,380 sq km


tropical in lowlands, cooler in highlands

Natural resources

gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, timber, fish

People and Society


6,359,689 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

Mestizo (mixed Indigenous and White) 69%, White 17%, Black 9%, Indigenous 5%


Spanish (official) 95.3%, Miskito 2.2%, Mestizo of the Caribbean coast 2%, other 0.5%; note - English and indigenous languages found on the Caribbean coast (2005 est.)


Roman Catholic 50%, Evangelical 33.2%, other 2.9%, none 0.7%, unspecified 13.2% (2017 est.)

Population growth rate

0.97% (2023 est.)


Government type

presidential republic


name: Managua

Executive branch

chief of state: President Jose Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra (since 10 January 2007); Vice President Rosario MURILLO Zambrana (since 10 January 2017); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Jose Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra (since 10 January 2007); Vice President Rosario MURILLO Zambrana (since 10 January 2017)

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (92 statutory seats, current 91; 70 members in multi-seat constituencies, representing the country's 15 departments and 2 autonomous regions, and 20 members in a single nationwide constituency directly elected by party-list proportional representation vote; up to 2 seats reserved for the previous president and the runner-up candidate in the previous presidential election; members serve 5-year terms)


Economic overview

low-income Central American economy; until 2018, nearly 20 years of sustained GDP growth; recent struggles due to COVID-19, political instability, and hurricanes; significant remittances; increasing poverty and food scarcity since 2005; sanctions limit investment

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$40.456 billion (2022 est.)
$38.994 billion (2021 est.)
$35.337 billion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$5,800 (2022 est.)
$5,700 (2021 est.)
$5,200 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

sugar cane, milk, rice, maize, plantains, groundnuts, cassava, beans, coffee, poultry


food processing, chemicals, machinery and metal products, knit and woven apparel, petroleum refining and distribution, beverages, footwear, wood, electric wire harness manufacturing, mining


$7.87 billion (2022 est.)
$6.618 billion (2021 est.)
$5.342 billion (2020 est.)

Exports - partners

United States 60%, El Salvador 5%, Mexico 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

clothing and apparel, gold, insulated wiring, coffee, beef, cigars (2021)


$10.213 billion (2022 est.)
$8.342 billion (2021 est.)
$5.952 billion (2020 est.)

Imports - partners

United States 27%, Mexico 12%, China 11%, Guatemala 9%, Costa Rica 7%, El Salvador 6%, Honduras 6% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, clothing and apparel, crude petroleum, packaged medicines, insulated wiring (2019)

Exchange rates

cordobas (NIO) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
35.874 (2022 est.)
35.171 (2021 est.)
34.342 (2020 est.)
33.122 (2019 est.)
31.553 (2018 est.)

Page last updated: Wednesday, April 17, 2024