Photos of Uruguay

Introduction

Background

Montevideo, founded by the Spanish in 1726 as a military stronghold, soon took advantage of its natural harbor to become an important commercial center. Claimed by Argentina but annexed by Brazil in 1821, Uruguay declared its independence four years later 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, 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 Coalition won national elections that effectively ended 170 years of political control previously held by the Colorado and National (Blanco) parties. 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.

Geography

Location

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

Geographic coordinates

33 00 S, 56 00 W

Map references

South America

Area

total: 176,215 sq km

land: 175,015 sq km

water: 1,200 sq km

country comparison to the world: 91

Area - comparative

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

Land boundaries

total: 1,591 km

border countries (2): Argentina 541 km, Brazil 1050 km

Coastline

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

Climate

warm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown

Terrain

mostly rolling plains and low hills; fertile coastal lowland

Elevation

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)

Total renewable water resources

172.2 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

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

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

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

Nationality

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

Languages

Spanish (official)

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 47.1%, non-Catholic Christians 11.1%, nondenominational 23.2%, Jewish 0.3%, atheist or agnostic 17.2%, other 1.1% (2006 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: 19.51% (male 336,336/female 324,563)

15-24 years: 15.14% (male 259,904/female 252,945)

25-54 years: 39.86% (male 670,295/female 679,850)

55-64 years: 10.79% (male 172,313/female 193,045)

65 years and over: 14.71% (male 200,516/female 297,838) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 54.9

youth dependency ratio: 31.5

elderly dependency ratio: 23.4

potential support ratio: 4.3 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 35.5 years

male: 33.8 years

female: 37.3 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 85

Birth rate

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

country comparison to the world: 145

Death rate

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

country comparison to the world: 51

Net migration rate

-0.88 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 139

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

Urbanization

urban population: 95.6% of total population (2021)

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

Major urban areas - population

1.760 million MONTEVIDEO (capital) (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female

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

15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.89 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female

total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

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

Infant mortality rate

total: 8.48 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 9.65 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 7.27 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 149

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 78.19 years

male: 75.06 years

female: 81.42 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 72

Contraceptive prevalence rate

79.6% (2015)

note: percent of women aged 15-44

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 93.9% of population

total: 99.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 95% of population

total: 100% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

5.08 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

2.4 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 99% of population

rural: 98.3% of population

total: 98.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 1% of population

rural: 1.7% of population

total: 2.1% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

<200 (2020 est.)

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 98.7%

male: 98.4%

female: 99% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 17 years

male: NA

female: NA (2017)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 28.7%

male: 24.8%

female: 33.9% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 35

Maternal mortality ratio

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

country comparison to the world: 134

Environment

Environment - current issues

water pollution from meat packing/tannery industry; heavy metal pollution; inadequate solid/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

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 8.63 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 6.77 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 25.59 megatons (2020 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 410 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 80 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 3.17 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

172.2 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Climate

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.)

Revenue from coal

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

country comparison to the world: 184

Urbanization

urban population: 95.6% of total population (2021)

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

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Oriental Republic of Uruguay

conventional short form: Uruguay

local long form: Republica 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

Capital

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

Independence

25 August 1825 (from Brazil)

National holiday

Independence Day, 25 August (1825)

Constitution

history: several previous; latest approved by plebiscite 27 November 1966, effective 15 February 1967

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 2009

Legal system

civil law system based on the Spanish civil code

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 3-5 years

Suffrage

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 election 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 - results of the first round of presidential elections: percent of vote - Daniel MARTINEZ (FA) 40.7%, Luis Alberto LACALLE POU (Blanco) 29.7%, Ernesto TALVI (Colorado Party) 12.8%, and Guido MANINI RIOS (Open Cabildo) 11.3%, other 5.5%; results of the second round: percent of vote - Luis Alberto LACALLE POU (Blanco) 50.6%, Daniel MARTINEZ (FA) 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 (31 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 proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms)

elections:
Chamber of Senators - last held on 27 October 2019 (next to be held in October 2024)
Chamber of Representatives - last held on 27 October 2019 (next to be held in 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 - 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 - men 75, women 24, percent of women 24.2%; note - total General Assembly percent of women 26.2%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court of Justice (consists of 5 judges)

judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the president and appointed 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) [Javier MIRANDA] - (a broad governing coalition that includes Uruguay Assembly [Danilo ASTORI], Progressive Alliance [Rodolfo NIN NOVOA], New Space [Rafael MICHELINI], Socialist Party [Monica XAVIER], Vertiente Artiguista [Enrique RUBIO], Christian Democratic Party [Jorge RODRIGUEZ], For the People’s Victory [Luis PUIG], Popular Participation Movement (MPP) [Jose MUJICA], Broad Front Commitment [Raul SENDIC], Big House [Constanza MOREIRA], Communist Party [Marcos CARAMBULA], The Federal League [Dario PEREZ]
Colorado Party (including Vamos Uruguay (or Let's Go Uruguay), Open Space [Tabare VIERA], and Open Batllism [Ope PASQUET])
Independent Party [Pablo MIERES]
National Party or Blanco (including Everyone [Luis LACALLE POU] and National Alliance [Jorge LARRANAGA])
Popular Unity [Gonzalo ABELLA]
Open Cabildo [Guido MANINI RIOS]

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, 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:
urueeuu@mrree.gub.uy

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

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Jennifer SAVAGE (since 20 January 2021)

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:
MontevideoACS@state.gov

https://uy.usembassy.gov/

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

Economy

Economic overview

Uruguay has a free market economy characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated workforce, and high levels of social spending. Uruguay has sought to expand trade within the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) and with non-Mercosur members, and President VAZQUEZ has maintained his predecessor's mix of pro-market policies and a strong social safety net. 

Following financial difficulties in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Uruguay's economic growth averaged 8% annually during the 2004-08 period. The 2008-09 global financial crisis put a brake on Uruguay's vigorous growth, which decelerated to 2.6% in 2009. Nevertheless, the country avoided a recession and kept growth rates positive, mainly through higher public expenditure and investment; GDP growth reached 8.9% in 2010 but slowed markedly in the 2012-16 period as a result of a renewed slowdown in the global economy and in Uruguay's main trade partners and Mercosur counterparts, Argentina and Brazil. Reforms in those countries should give Uruguay an economic boost. Growth picked up in 2017.

Real GDP growth rate

2.7% (2017 est.)

1.7% (2016 est.)

0.4% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 107

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

7.8% (2019 est.)

7.5% (2018 est.)

6.2% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 199

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: BBB- (2013)

Moody's rating: Baa2 (2014)

Standard & Poors rating: BBB (2015)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$74.638 billion (2019 est.)

$74.473 billion (2018 est.)

$73.285 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 102

GDP (official exchange rate)

$56.108 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$21,561 (2019 est.)

$21,591 (2018 est.)

$21,325 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 88

Gross national saving

13% of GDP (2019 est.)

12% of GDP (2018 est.)

12.6% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 156

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 6.2% (2017 est.)

industry: 24.1% (2017 est.)

services: 69.7% (2017 est.)

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.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 61.5 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 89.6 (2020)

Trading score: 58.4 (2020)

Enforcement score: 56.3 (2020)

Agricultural products

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

Industries

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

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 13%

industry: 14%

services: 73% (2010 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.9%

highest 10%: 30.8% (2014 est.)

Budget

revenues: 17.66 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 19.72 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

65.7% of GDP (2017 est.)

61.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data cover general government debt and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions.

country comparison to the world: 58

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$879 million (2017 est.)

$410 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 51

Exports

$11.41 billion (2017 est.)

$8.387 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 93

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)

Imports

$8.607 billion (2017 est.)

$8.463 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 114

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

$15.96 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$13.47 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 66

Debt - external

$43.705 billion (2019 est.)

$42.861 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 73

Exchange rates

Uruguayan pesos (UYU) per US dollar -

42.645 (2020 est.)

37.735 (2019 est.)

32.2 (2018 est.)

27.52 (2014 est.)

23.25 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 1,165,373

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 34.47 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 72

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 4,779,787

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 141.39 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 122

Telecommunication systems

general assessment:

Uruguay has an advanced telecom market, with excellent infrastructure and one of the highest broadband penetration rates in Latin America; fully digitized; high computer use and fixed-line/mobile penetrations; deployment of fiber infrastructure will encourage economic growth and stimulate e-commerce; state-owned monopoly on fixed-line market and dominance of mobile market; nationwide 3G coverage and LTE networks; limited 5G commercial reach; strong focus on fiber infrastructure with high percentage of residential fixed-broadband connections and near total business connections; importer of broadcasting equipment from China (2021)

(2020)

domestic: most modern facilities concentrated in Montevideo; nationwide microwave radio relay network; overall fixed-line 34 per 100 and mobile-cellular teledensity 138 per 100 persons (2019)

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)

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

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: 2,300,557

percent of population: 68.28% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 115

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1,012,410

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 29.95 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 71

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 5

Airports - with paved runways

total: 11 (2013)

over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2013)

under 914 m: 2 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 122 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 40 (2013)

under 914 m: 79 (2013)

Pipelines

257 km gas, 160 km oil (2013)

Railways

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

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

country comparison to the world: 80

Roadways

total: 77,732 km (2010)

paved: 7,743 km (2010)

unpaved: 69,989 km (2010)

country comparison to the world: 64

Merchant marine

total: 60

by type:  container ship 1, general cargo 5, oil tanker 3, other 51 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 112

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 Maritime National Prefecture (Coast Guard)), Uruguayan Air Force (Fuerza Aerea); Guardia Nacional Republicana (paramilitary regiment of the National Police) (2021)

Military expenditures

2% of GDP (2019)

2.1% of GDP (2018)

2% of GDP (2017)

1.9% of GDP (2016)

1.8% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 62

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Armed Forces of Uruguay have approximately 22,000 active personnel (14,500 Army; 5,000 Navy; 2,500 Air Force) (2021)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the inventory of the Armed Forces of Uruguay includes a wide variety of older or second-hand equipment; since 2010, it has imported limited amounts of military hardware from about 10 countries with Spain as the leading supplier (2020)

Military deployments

925 Democratic Republic of the Congo (MINUSCO); 210 Golan Heights (UNDOF) (Jan 2021)

Military service age and obligation

18-30 years of age (18-22 years of age for Navy) for male or female voluntary military service; up to 40 years of age for specialists; enlistment is voluntary in peacetime, but the government has the authority to conscript in emergencies (2021)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

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; 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): 15,200 (Venezuela) (economic and political crisis; includes Venezuelans who have claimed asylum or have received alternative legal stay) (2021)

Illicit drugs

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