Country Summary



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. Uruguay's political and labor conditions are among the freest on the continent.



total: 176,215 sq km
land: 175,015 sq km
water: 1,200 sq km


warm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown

Natural resources

arable land, hydropower, minor minerals, fish

People and Society


3,416,264 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

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


Spanish (official) (many speak the Rioplatense dialect)


Roman Catholic 42%, Protestant 15%, other 6%, agnostic 3%, atheist 10%, unspecified 24% (2014 est.)

Population growth rate

0.27% (2023 est.)


Government type

presidential republic


name: Montevideo

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)

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)


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)

$78.121 billion (2021 est.)
$74.852 billion (2020 est.)
$79.733 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$22,800 (2021 est.)
$21,800 (2020 est.)
$23,300 (2019 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


0.21% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.21% of GDP (2020 est.)
0.18% of GDP (2019 est.)


$18.82 billion (2021 est.)
$13.596 billion (2020 est.)
$17.087 billion (2019 est.)

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)


$15.051 billion (2021 est.)
$11.212 billion (2020 est.)
$13.336 billion (2019 est.)

Imports - partners

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

Imports - commodities

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

Exchange rates

Uruguayan pesos (UYU) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
43.555 (2021 est.)
42.013 (2020 est.)
35.255 (2019 est.)
30.725 (2018 est.)
28.676 (2017 est.)

Page last updated: Monday, September 25, 2023