Photos of Uruguay



Montevideo, founded by the Spanish in 1726 as a military stronghold, soon became an important commercial center due to its natural harbor. Claimed by Argentina but annexed by Brazil in 1821, Uruguay declared its independence in 1825 and secured its freedom in 1828 after a three-year struggle. The administrations of President Jose BATLLE in the early 20th century launched widespread political, social, and economic reforms that established a statist tradition. A violent Marxist urban guerrilla movement named the Tupamaros (or Movimiento de Liberación Nacional-Tupamaros (MLN-T)), launched in the late 1960s, led Uruguay's president to cede control of the government to the military in 1973. By yearend, the rebels had been crushed, but the military continued to expand its hold over the government. Civilian rule was restored in 1985. In 2004, the left-of-center Frente Amplio (FA) Coalition won national elections that effectively ended 170 years of political control previously held by the Colorado and National (Blanco) parties. The left-of-center retained the presidency and control of both chambers of congress until 2019. Uruguay's political and labor conditions are among the freest on the continent.

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



Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Argentina and Brazil

Geographic coordinates

33 00 S, 56 00 W

Map references

South America


total: 176,215 sq km

land: 175,015 sq km

water: 1,200 sq km

comparison ranking: total 91

Area - comparative

about the size of Virginia and West Virginia combined; slightly smaller than the state of Washington

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 1,591 km

border countries (2): Argentina 541 km; Brazil 1,050 km


660 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or the edge of continental margin


warm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown


mostly rolling plains and low hills; fertile coastal lowland


highest point: Cerro Catedral 514 m

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 109 m

Natural resources

arable land, hydropower, minor minerals, fish

Land use

agricultural land: 87.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 10.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 76.9% (2018 est.)

forest: 10.2% (2018 est.)

other: 2.6% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

2,380 sq km (2012)

Major lakes (area sq km)

salt water lake(s): Lagoa Mirim (shared with Brazil) - 2,970 sq km

Major rivers (by length in km)

Rio de la Plata/Parana river mouth (shared with Brazil [s], Argentina, Paraguay) - 4,880 km; Uruguay river mouth (shared with Brazil [s] and Argentina) - 1,610 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major aquifers

Guarani Aquifer System

Population distribution

most of the country's population resides in the southern half of the country; approximately 80% of the populace is urban, living in towns or cities; nearly half of the population lives in and around the capital of Montevideo

Natural hazards

seasonally high winds (the pampero is a chilly and occasional violent wind that blows north from the Argentine pampas), droughts, floods; because of the absence of mountains, which act as weather barriers, all locations are particularly vulnerable to rapid changes from weather fronts

Geography - note

second-smallest South American country (after Suriname); most of the low-lying landscape (three-quarters of the country) is grassland, ideal for cattle and sheep raising

People and Society


3,416,264 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 132


noun: Uruguayan(s)

adjective: Uruguayan

Ethnic groups

White 87.7%, Black 4.6%, Indigenous 2.4%, other 0.3%, none or unspecified 5% (2011 est.)

note: data represent primary ethnic identity


Spanish (official) (many speak the Rioplatense dialect)

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 36.5%, Protestant 5% (Evangelical (non-specific) 4.6%, Adventist 0.2%, Protestant (non-specific) 0.3%), African American Cults/Umbanda 2.8%, Jehovah's Witness 0.6%, Church of Jesus Christ 0.2%, other 1%, Believer (not belonging to the church) 1.8%, agnostic 0.3%, atheist 1.3%, none 47.3%, unspecified 3.4%

Roman Catholic 42%, Protestant 15%, other 6%, agnostic 3%, atheist 10%, unspecified 24% (2023 est.)

Demographic profile

Uruguay rates high for most development indicators and is known for its secularism, liberal social laws, and well-developed social security, health, and educational systems. It is one of the few countries in Latin America and the Caribbean where the entire population has access to clean water. Uruguay's provision of free primary through university education has contributed to the country's high levels of literacy and educational attainment. However, the emigration of human capital has diminished the state's return on its investment in education. Remittances from the roughly 18% of Uruguayans abroad amount to less than 1 percent of national GDP. The emigration of young adults and a low birth rate are causing Uruguay's population to age rapidly.

In the 1960s, Uruguayans for the first time emigrated en masse - primarily to Argentina and Brazil - because of economic decline and the onset of more than a decade of military dictatorship. Economic crises in the early 1980s and 2002 also triggered waves of emigration, but since 2002 more than 70% of Uruguayan emigrants have selected the US and Spain as destinations because of better job prospects. Uruguay had a tiny population upon its independence in 1828 and welcomed thousands of predominantly Italian and Spanish immigrants, but the country has not experienced large influxes of new arrivals since the aftermath of World War II. More recent immigrants include Peruvians and Arabs.

Age structure

0-14 years: 19.02% (male 330,536/female 319,132)

15-64 years: 65.55% (male 1,110,881/female 1,128,546)

65 years and over: 15.43% (2023 est.) (male 213,750/female 313,419)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 53.6

youth dependency ratio: 29.9

elderly dependency ratio: 23.7

potential support ratio: 4.2 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 36.2 years (2023 est.)

male: 34.6 years

female: 37.9 years

comparison ranking: total 87

Population growth rate

0.27% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 170

Birth rate

12.7 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 138

Death rate

9.1 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 57

Net migration rate

-0.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 140

Population distribution

most of the country's population resides in the southern half of the country; approximately 80% of the populace is urban, living in towns or cities; nearly half of the population lives in and around the capital of Montevideo


urban population: 95.8% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.4% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

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

Major urban areas - population

1.774 million MONTEVIDEO (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female

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

15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female

total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

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

comparison ranking: 127

Infant mortality rate

total: 8.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 9.3 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 7 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 146

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 78.7 years (2023 est.)

male: 75.6 years

female: 81.9 years

comparison ranking: total population 69

Total fertility rate

1.75 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 149

Gross reproduction rate

0.86 (2023 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

79.6% (2015)

note: percent of women aged 15-44

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

9.2% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

4.94 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

2.4 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 99.2% of population

rural: 99.6% of population

total: 99.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.8% of population

rural: 0.4% of population

total: 0.8% of population (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

27.9% (2016)

comparison ranking: 33

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 5.42 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 1.86 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 2.86 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.71 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 82

Tobacco use

total: 21.5% (2020 est.)

male: 24.4% (2020 est.)

female: 18.5% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 76

Education expenditures

4.6% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 91


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 98.8%

male: 98.5%

female: 99% (2019)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 19 years

male: 17 years

female: 20 years (2019)


Environment - current issues

water pollution from meat packing, tannery industries; heavy metal pollution; inadequate solid and hazardous waste disposal; deforestation

Environment - international agreements

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

signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Life Conservation


warm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown

Land use

agricultural land: 87.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 10.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 76.9% (2018 est.)

forest: 10.2% (2018 est.)

other: 2.6% (2018 est.)


urban population: 95.8% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.4% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

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

Revenue from forest resources

1.56% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 41

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 104

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 8.48 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 6.77 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 25.59 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 1,260,140 tons (2012 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 100,811 tons (2011 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 8% (2011 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

salt water lake(s): Lagoa Mirim (shared with Brazil) - 2,970 sq km

Major rivers (by length in km)

Rio de la Plata/Parana river mouth (shared with Brazil [s], Argentina, Paraguay) - 4,880 km; Uruguay river mouth (shared with Brazil [s] and Argentina) - 1,610 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major aquifers

Guarani Aquifer System

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 410 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 80 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 3.17 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

172.2 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)


total global geoparks and regional networks: 1

global geoparks and regional networks: Grutas del Palacio (2023)


Country name

conventional long form: Oriental Republic of Uruguay

conventional short form: Uruguay

local long form: República Oriental del Uruguay

local short form: Uruguay

former: Banda Oriental, Cisplatine Province

etymology: name derives from the Spanish pronunciation of the Guarani Indian designation of the Uruguay River, which makes up the western border of the country and whose name later came to be applied to the entire country

Government type

presidential republic


name: Montevideo

geographic coordinates: 34 51 S, 56 10 W

time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the name "Montevidi" was originally applied to the hill that overlooked the bay upon which the city of Montevideo was founded; the earliest meaning may have been "[the place where we] saw the hill"

Administrative divisions

19 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Artigas, Canelones, Cerro Largo, Colonia, Durazno, Flores, Florida, Lavalleja, Maldonado, Montevideo, Paysandu, Rio Negro, Rivera, Rocha, Salto, San Jose, Soriano, Tacuarembo, Treinta y Tres


25 August 1825 (from Brazil)

National holiday

Independence Day, 25 August (1825)


history: several previous; latest approved by plebiscite 27 November 1966, effective 15 February 1967, reinstated in 1985 at the conclusion of military rule

amendments: initiated by public petition of at least 10% of qualified voters, proposed by agreement of at least two fifths of the General Assembly membership, or by existing "constitutional laws" sanctioned by at least two thirds of the membership in both houses of the Assembly; proposals can also be submitted by senators, representatives, or by the executive power and require the formation of and approval in a national constituent convention; final passage by either method requires approval by absolute majority of votes cast in a referendum; amended many times, last in 2004

Legal system

civil law system based on the Spanish civil code

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 3-5 years


18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch

chief of state: President Luis Alberto LACALLE POU (since 1 March 2020); Vice President Beatriz ARGIMON Cedeira (since 1 March 2020); the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Luis Alberto LACALLE POU (since 1 March 2020); Vice President Beatriz ARGIMON Cedeira (since 1 March 2020)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president with approval of the General Assembly

elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on the same ballot by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for nonconsecutive terms); election last held on 27 October 2019 with a runoff on 24 November 2019 (next to be held in October 2024 and a runoff, if needed, in November 2024)

election results:
2019: Luis Alberto LACALLE POU elected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - Daniel MARTINEZ (FA) 40.7%, Luis Alberto LACALLE POU (Blanco) 29.7%, Ernesto TALVI (Colorado Party) 12.8%, Guido MANINI RIOS (Open Cabildo) 11.3%, other 5.5%; percent of vote in second round - Luis Alberto LACALLE POU 50.6%, Daniel MARTINEZ 49.4%

2014: Tabare VAZQUEZ elected president in second round; percent of vote - Tabare VAZQUEZ (Socialist Party) 56.5%, Luis Alberto LACALLE Pou (Blanco) 43.4%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral General Assembly or Asamblea General consists of:
Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (30 seats; members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by proportional representation vote; the vice-president serves as the presiding ex-officio member; elected members serve 5-year terms)
Chamber of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (99 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by party-list proportional representation vote using the D'Hondt method; members serve 5-year terms)

Chamber of Senators - last held on 27 October 2019 (next to be held on 27 October 2024)
Chamber of Representatives - last held on 27 October 2019 (next to be held on 27 October 2024)

election results:
Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by coalition/party - NA; seats by coalition/party - Frente Amplio 13, National Party 10, Colorado Party 4, Open Cabildo 3; composition as of February 2024 - men 21, women 10, percent of women 32.3%

Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by coalition/party - NA; seats by coalition/party - Frente Amplio 42, National Party 30, Colorado Party 13, Open Cabildo 11, Independent Party 1, other 2; composition as of February 2024 - men 74, women 25, percent of women 25.3%; note - total General Assembly percent of women 26.9%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of 5 judges)

judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the president and appointed by two-thirds vote in joint conference of the General Assembly; judges serve 10-year terms, with reelection possible after a lapse of 5 years following the previous term

subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; District Courts (Juzgados Letrados); Peace Courts (Juzgados de Paz); Rural Courts (Juzgados Rurales)

Political parties and leaders

Broad Front or FA (Frente Amplio) [Fernando PEREIRA] - (a broad governing coalition that comprises 34 factions including Uruguay Assembly [Danilo ASTORI], Progressive Alliance [Rodolfo NIN NOVOA], New Space [Rafael MICHELINI], Socialist Party [Gonzalo CIVILA], Vertiente Artiguista [Enrique RUBIO], Christian Democratic Party [Jorge RODRIGUEZ], For the People’s Victory [Luis PUIG], Popular Participation Movement or MPP [Jose MUJICA], Big House [Constanza MOREIRA], Communist Party [Juan CASTILLO], The Federal League [Sergio LIER], Fuerza Renovadora [Mario BERGARA])
Colorado Party (including Batllistas [Julio Maria SANGUINETTI] and Ciudadanos [Adrian PENA])
Independent Party [Pablo MIERES]
National Party or Blanco (including Todos (Everyone) [Luis LACALLE POU] and National Alliance [Carlos CAMY])
Open Cabildo [Guido MANINI RIOS]
Popular Unity [Gonzalo ABELLA]

International organization participation

CAN (associate), CD, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM (observer), OAS, OIF (observer), OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, SICA (observer), UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNISFA, UNMOGIP, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Andres Augusto DURAN HAREAU (since 23 December 2020)

chancery: 1913 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20006

telephone: [1] (202) 331-1313

FAX: [1] (202) 331-8142

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Miami, New York, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Heide B. FULTON (since 22 March 2023)

embassy: Lauro Muller 1776, Montevideo 11200

mailing address: 3360 Montevideo Place, Washington DC  20521-3360

telephone: (+598) 1770-2000

FAX: [+598] 1770-2128

email address and website:

Flag description

nine equal horizontal stripes of white (top and bottom) alternating with blue; a white square in the upper hoist-side corner with a yellow sun bearing a human face (delineated in black) known as the Sun of May with 16 rays that alternate between triangular and wavy; the stripes represent the nine original departments of Uruguay; the sun symbol evokes the legend of the sun breaking through the clouds on 25 May 1810 as independence was first declared from Spain (Uruguay subsequently won its independence from Brazil); the sun features are said to represent those of Inti, the Inca god of the sun

note: the banner was inspired by the national colors of Argentina and by the design of the US flag

National symbol(s)

Sun of May (a sun-with-face symbol); national colors: blue, white, yellow

National anthem

name: "Himno Nacional" (National Anthem of Uruguay)

lyrics/music: Francisco Esteban ACUNA de Figueroa/Francisco Jose DEBALI

note: adopted 1848; the anthem is also known as "Orientales, la Patria o la tumba!" ("Uruguayans, the Fatherland or Death!"); it is the world's longest national anthem in terms of music (105 bars; almost five minutes); generally only the first verse and chorus are sung

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 3 (all cultural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Historic City of Colonia del Sacramento; Fray Bentos Industrial Landscape; The work of engineer Eladio Dieste: Church of Atlántida


Economic overview

high-income, export-oriented South American economy; South America’s largest middle class; low socioeconomic inequality; growing homicide rates; growing Chinese and EU relations; 2019 Argentine recession hurt; key milk, beef, rice, and wool exporter

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$83.607 billion (2022 est.)
$79.685 billion (2021 est.)
$75.692 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 98

Real GDP growth rate

4.92% (2022 est.)
5.28% (2021 est.)
-6.26% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 77

Real GDP per capita

$24,400 (2022 est.)
$23,300 (2021 est.)
$22,100 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 82

GDP (official exchange rate)

$71.177 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

9.1% (2022 est.)
7.75% (2021 est.)
9.76% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 149

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: BBB- (2013)

Moody's rating: Baa2 (2014)

Standard & Poors rating: BBB (2015)

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

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 6.2% (2017 est.)

industry: 24.1% (2017 est.)

services: 69.7% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 72; industry 116; agriculture 118

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 66.8% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 14.3% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 16.7% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -1% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 21.6% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -18.4% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

soybeans, milk, rice, maize, wheat, barley, beef, sugar cane, sorghum, oranges


food processing, electrical machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, textiles, chemicals, beverages

Industrial production growth rate

1.76% (2022 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 134

Labor force

1.751 million (2022 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 130

Unemployment rate

7.87% (2022 est.)
9.29% (2021 est.)
10.33% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 145

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 32.9% (2021 est.)

male: 28.3%

female: 38.7%

comparison ranking: total 29

Population below poverty line

9.9% (2022 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

40.8 (2021 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 48

Average household expenditures

on food: 18.6% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 1.3% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.2%

highest 10%: 30.8% (2021 est.)

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


0.18% of GDP (2022 est.)
0.2% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.21% of GDP (2020 est.)

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


revenues: $14.991 billion (2020 est.)

expenditures: $17.571 billion (2020 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-3.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 146

Public debt

60.28% of GDP (2020 est.)
50.27% of GDP (2019 est.)
47.44% of GDP (2018 est.)

note: central government debt as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 78

Taxes and other revenues

18.52% (of GDP) (2020 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 98

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$2.62 billion (2022 est.)
-$1.555 billion (2021 est.)
-$435.211 million (2020 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 156


$22.565 billion (2022 est.)
$19.527 billion (2021 est.)
$13.851 billion (2020 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 87

Exports - partners

China 29%, Brazil 12%, United States 5%, Netherlands 5%, Argentina 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

sulfate wood pulp, beef, soybeans, concentrated milk, rice (2019)


$18.894 billion (2022 est.)
$15.125 billion (2021 est.)
$11.43 billion (2020 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 97

Imports - partners

Brazil 25%, China 15%, United States 11%, Argentina 11% (2019)

Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, packaged medicines, cars, broadcasting equipment, delivery trucks (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$15.127 billion (2022 est.)
$16.963 billion (2021 est.)
$16.25 billion (2020 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 72

Debt - external

$43.705 billion (2019 est.)
$42.861 billion (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 73

Exchange rates

Uruguayan pesos (UYU) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
41.171 (2022 est.)
43.555 (2021 est.)
42.013 (2020 est.)
35.255 (2019 est.)
30.725 (2018 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)


installed generating capacity: 5.348 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 11,461,960,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 1.148 billion kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 515 million kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 1,329,700,000 kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: imports 86; exports 58; installed generating capacity 84; transmission/distribution losses 113; consumption 95

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

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

solar: 3.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 42.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 30.6% 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: 21.6% 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: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


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

refined petroleum consumption: 50,200 bbl/day (2019 est.)

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

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 41,500 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

42,220 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 81

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 208

Refined petroleum products - imports

9,591 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 150

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 96.872 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 96.872 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

6.45 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

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

from petroleum and other liquids: 6.259 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 190,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 129

Energy consumption per capita

66.909 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 85


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 1,258,557 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 36 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 64

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 4.7 million (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 140 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 126

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Uruguay has an advanced telecom market, with excellent infrastructure and one of the highest broadband penetration rates in Latin America; fixed-line teledensity is also particularly high for the region, while mobile penetration is the second highest after Panama; in terms of computer penetration, Uruguay tops all other countries in the region by a considerable margin, and this has facilitated growth in fixed-line broadband adoption; the government and telecom regulator have introduced a range of measures to help develop the deployment of fiber infrastructure, partly in a bid to encourage economic growth and stimulate e-commerce; fiber accounted for about 77% of all fixed and fixed-wireless broadband connections as of June 2020; with investment projected to reach $800 million, the state-owned incumbent Antel is expected to provide national FttP coverage by early 2022; together with the FttP network, the opening of the submarine cable system in early 2012 and August 2017 have helped boost Uruguay’s internet bandwidth, and increase the data rate available to end-users; Uruguay is one of the very few Latin American countries where the local fixed-line market is neither privatized nor liberalized; other segments of the telecom market have been opened to competition, including international long-distance telephony, mobile telephony, and fixed-wireless broadband; Uruguay is also one of the few countries in the world where broadband access via cable modem does not exist; although cable networks are well equipped technologically, and digital cable TV is widely available, telecom legislation prohibits data transmission over pay TV networks; the government announced in December 2020 that it intended to introduce changes to the law to permit pay TV providers to offer internet and telephony packages over their own networks; all three operators offer mobile broadband through 3G and LTE networks; operators have achieved nationwide 3G coverage and the number of mobile broadband subscribers continues to grow; at the end of 2019, spectrum in the 5G-suitable range was auctioned, enabling operators to launch 5G services; the regulator is working on a spectrum and connectivity policy that emphasizes 5G (2021)

domestic: fixed-line is 36 per 100 and mobile-cellular teledensity 140 per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 598; landing points for the Unisor, Tannat, and Bicentenario submarine cable system providing direct connectivity to Brazil and Argentina; Bicentenario 2012 and Tannat 2017 cables helped end-users with Internet bandwidth; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2020)

Broadcast media

mixture of privately owned and state-run broadcast media; more than 100 commercial radio stations and about 20 TV channels; cable TV is available; many community radio and TV stations; adopted the hybrid Japanese/Brazilian HDTV standard (ISDB-T) in December 2010 (2019)

Internet users

total: 3.06 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 90% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 118

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1,063,701 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 31 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 71


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 5


64 (2024)

comparison ranking: 75


3 (2024)


257 km gas, 160 km oil (2013)


total: 1,673 km (2016) (operational; government claims overall length is 2,961 km)

standard gauge: 1,673 km (2016) 1.435-m gauge

comparison ranking: total 79


total: 77,732 km

paved: 7,743 km

unpaved: 69,989 km (2010)

comparison ranking: total 65


1,600 km (2011)

comparison ranking: 50

Merchant marine

total: 58 (2023)

by type: container ship 1, general cargo 4, oil tanker 3, other 50

comparison ranking: total 115

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Montevideo

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Armed Forces of Uruguay (Fuerzas Armadas del Uruguay): National Army (Ejercito Nacional), National Navy (Armada Nacional, includes Coast Guard (Prefectura Nacional Naval or PRENA)), Uruguayan Air Force (Fuerza Aerea)

Ministry of Interior: National Police (2024)

note: the National Police includes the paramilitary National Republican Guard (Guardia Nacional Republicana); the National Police maintains internal security, while the National Directorate for Migration is responsible for migration and border enforcement

Military expenditures

1% of GDP (2022 est.)
2.3% of GDP (2021 est.)
2% of GDP (2020 est.)
2.1% of GDP (2019 est.)
2.1% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 130

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 23,000 active-duty personnel (15,000 Army; 5,000 Navy; 3,000 Air Force) (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory includes a wide variety of older or second-hand equipment; in recent years, it has imported limited amounts of military hardware from a variety of countries with Spain as the leading supplier (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-30 years of age (18-22 years of age for Navy) for voluntary military service for men and women; up to 40 years of age for specialists; enlistment is voluntary in peacetime, but the government has the authority to conscript in emergencies (2024)

note: as of 2023, women comprised nearly 20% of the active military

Military deployments

825 Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO); 210 Golan Heights (UNDOF) (2023)

Military - note

the armed forces are responsible for defense of the country’s independence, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity, as well as protecting strategic resources; it has some domestic responsibilities, including perimeter security for a number of prisons and border security and providing humanitarian/disaster assistance; in 2020, the military deployed more than 1,000 troops to assist the National Police in securing the land border with Brazil and the riverine border with Argentina as part of a border control law passed in 2018; Uruguay has traditionally held security ties with Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and the US

the Army has four regionally based divisions comprised of approximately eight small brigades of infantry and mechanized cavalry; the Navy includes the Coast Guard, a naval aviation command, and a small naval infantry force; the Navy in recent years has undertaken a modest program to modernize its aging fleet, decommissioning several ships, including its only frigates, and acquiring secondhand patrol vessels from the US Coast Guard; it is also attempting to acquire larger and more modern offshore patrol vessels; the Air Force has a single squadron of light ground attack aircraft (2023)


Space agency/agencies

drafted a bill to establish a space agency to be named the Uruguayan Space Agency, 2022  (2023)

Space program overview

nascent program; the bill to establish a space agency declared its purpose to be promoting the development of the space sector in Uruguay with emphasis on the economic and social development of its inhabitants (2023)

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

Disputes - international

Uruguay-Argentina: in 2010, the ICJ ruled in favor of Uruguay's operation of two paper mills on the Uruguay River, which forms the border with Argentina; the two countries formed a joint pollution monitoring regime, which ended the dispute

Uruguay-Brazil: uncontested boundary dispute between Brazil and Uruguay over Braziliera/Brasiliera Island in the Quarai/Cuareim River leaves the tripoint with Argentina in question; smuggling of firearms and narcotics continues to be an issue along the Uruguay-Brazil border

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 19,000 (Venezuela) (economic and political crisis; includes Venezuelans who have claimed asylum or have received alternative legal stay) (2022)

stateless persons: 5 (2022)

Illicit drugs

transit country for drugs mainly bound for Europe, often through sea-borne containers; limited law enforcement corruption; money laundering; weak border control along Brazilian frontier; increasing consumption of cocaine base and synthetic drugs