Costa Rica Population

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of Costa Rica is 5,097,988, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 5,097,988
Population growth rate 1.08%
Birth rate 15.50 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall 78.06 years
Men 75.43 years
Women 80.83 years
Age structure
0-14 years 22.43%
15-64 years 69.46%
65 years and above 8.11%
Median age 30.40 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 1.01
Population density 99.76 residents per km²
Urbanization 60.60%
94% European, 3% African, 2% Asian, 1% Indigenous
Catholics (Roman Catholic) 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, Other Protestants 0.7%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 1.3%, Other 4.8%, no religion 3.2%
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.794
HDI ranking 68th out of 194

People in Costa Rica

Costa Ricans like to call themselves ticos (or ticas for women). The word probably refers to the preference to use diminutive forms for everything, for which one usually uses the ending -tico.

83 percent of the population are whites or descendants of connections between Europeans and indigenous peoples. 6.7 percent are descendants from combinations of blacks and whites.

Indigenous people

2.4 percent belong to the indigenous peoples. Eight ethnic groups are distinguished. Almost all of them live on reservations. Around 1000 Huetares still live in the northern highlands, around 800 Chorotega are still at home in the northwest (Guanacaste Province) and around 600 Maleku in the northern center (Alajuela Province near the city of Guatuso). The Maleku live mainly from tourism, for example they sell handicrafts.

Around 10,000 Bribri live in two small areas in the south. The largest group of Indios are the Cabécar, who also live in the south of the country, with around 14,000 people. You and the Bribri still live very traditionally.

The Guaymí, most of whom live in Panama, live on the western border with Panama, but there are also areas with Guaymí in Costa Rica. They are also called Ngäbe. The approximately 2000 Boruca also live in a reserve in the southwest of Costa Rica. The Naso (or Téribe), like the Guaymí, are a people who live mainly in Panama on the Atlantic coast. A few hundred live in Costa Rica’s southeast. The Naso are one of the last people in America to have a king.

Afro-Costa Ricans

About 2 percent are black. They are also called Afro-Costa Ricans. Some are, to a lesser extent, descendants of slaves who were brought here from the 16th century. Most, however, are descendants of Caribbean blacks from Jamaica. They were brought into the country in the late 19th century to build the railroad or work on plantations. Minorities in the country are Chinese (0.2 percent) and Lebanese and others.


Many immigrants also live in Costa Rica, some of whom have immigrated illegally. They come mainly from Nicaragua because the working conditions in Costa Rica are better. 287,000 Nicaraguans were counted in 2012, which corresponds to 74 percent of all immigrants. Smaller groups come from Colombia, Spain and the USA. On the other hand, around 120,000 Costa Ricans have emigrated, most of them to the United States. Compared to neighboring countries, the proportion of Costa Ricans abroad is low.

Children in Costa Rica

Each woman in Costa Rica has an average of 1.8 children. This is the lowest birth rate among any Central American country. With us, every woman has an average of 1.4 children. So the difference to Costa Rica is not very big. 22 percent of the people in Costa Rica are under 14 years old. With us that’s only 13 percent.

Urban and countryside

80 percent and thus more than three quarters of the population of Costa Rica live in the city. More and more people are drawn there in the hope of finding work. This is called rural exodus. Most of the people live in the region around the capital San José.

Languages in Costa Rica

Spanish is the official language in Costa Rica. However, it has the typical peculiarities of Latin American Spanish: Seseo refers to the pronunciation of the c before e and i as s (and not between the teeth like an English th, as is common in Spain). Voseo is the name given to the peculiarity that instead of tu (for “you”) vos is said. In Costa Rica, however, usted (actually the salutation in Siezen) is used much more often for the you. You can also find your own creations in the vocabulary, for example one often hears Pura vida(“Pure life”) as an expression of enthusiasm and the word tuanis for things that you think are cool or great.

The black people of Costa Rica speak a Creole language based on English.

The indigenous peoples speak some still their own languages, for example, the Maleku and Bribri. However, only around 60 percent of the relatives speak the language, the others (younger ones) only speak Spanish. So these languages ​​are threatened with extinction. The Cabécar still speak their language 85 percent. Other languages ​​like that of the Chorotega called Mangue or the language of the Huetares have already died out. Boruca is also only spoken by a few people.

Religions in Costa Rica

90 percent of the population are Christians. The Roman Catholic denomination is the state religion, according to the constitution. Religious freedom is guaranteed, however. 70.5 percent of the population are Catholic, 13.8 percent Protestant. Two percent are Buddhists. 1.3 percent are Jehovah’s Witnesses. The others belong to other churches or none at all.

The indigenous people of the Bribri practice shamanism (“necromancy”). The one who creates and shapes the world, a kind of god, is called Sibú. Traditions and knowledge are passed on orally. This knowledge in a variety of stories is called suwoh. The shaman’s name is Awá, in the plural it is the Awápas. The shaman has magic stones that he can use to heal diseases. The Bribri people are organized into clans.

Costa Rica Overview

Costa Rica, located in Central America, is famous for its incredible biodiversity, lush rainforests, and commitment to environmental conservation. The country is renowned for its extensive national parks and protected areas, which harbor an astonishing variety of flora and fauna, including colorful toucans, playful monkeys, and elusive jaguars. Costa Rica’s pristine beaches, volcanic landscapes, and cloud forests attract nature lovers, eco-tourists, and adventure seekers from around the world. The capital city, San José, is a vibrant cultural hub with museums, galleries, and bustling markets, offering visitors a taste of Costa Rican art, cuisine, and hospitality.

  • Capital City: San José
  • Population: Approximately 5.1 million
  • Area: 51,100 square kilometers
  • Full Country Name: Republic of Costa Rica
  • Currency: Costa Rican Colón (CRC)
  • Language: Spanish
  • ISO Country Codes: CR, CRI

Bordering Countries of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is bordered by three countries, Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south, and Honduras to the east. To the west lies the Pacific Ocean. Nicaragua is a Spanish-speaking country with a population of 6 million, making it one of the most populous countries in Central America. It has a diverse economy centered around agriculture and tourism. Nicaragua is known for its colonial cities, stunning beaches, and rich culture. Panama is also a Spanish-speaking country with over 4 million people. It has a strong economy based on banking and services, as well as an important shipping industry due to its strategic location between North and South America. Panama’s famous canal connects both oceans, making it an important trading hub in Latin America. Honduras is spanish-speaking country with 8 million inhabitants and a population density of 76 people per square kilometer – one of the highest in Central America. Its economy relies heavily on agriculture, but also has growing manufacturing sectors such as textiles and apparel production. Honduras is known for its beautiful Caribbean beaches and lush rainforest areas that are home to many species of wildlife.


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