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Costa Rica

North America

To which language should you translate to localize in Costa Rica?

Language

Official language
Spanish

T-index
0.55%

T-Index ranks countries according to their potential for online sales.

Indigenous languages
Maléku language, Cabecar language, Bribri language, Guna language, Guaymí language, Buglere language

English
Moderate proficiency (EF) – 37 of 112 countries/regions in the world- 2/20 position in Latin America.

Demography

Capital: San Jose
Currency: Costa Rican Colon
Population: 5,15 m
Population density: 100/km2

Economy

GDP: 64.28 billion USD (2021)
GDP per capita: 12,472.4 USD ‎(2021) ‎
Exports: $18.8 billion (2020)

Statistics

Internet users: 89.6% penetration, 4.66 million
Unemployment rate: 15.1% (2021)
Urbanisation: 91.99% (2020)
Literacy: 98 % (2019)

Conventions

Numbering system
Arabic numerals and comma as decimal separator

Date format: dd – mm – yyyy
Time: 12h time system (a.m/p.m)
Country code: 0054

Language data sources: Worldatlas/Britannica//EF/Wikipedia; Demography data sources: IMF/Worldometers; Conventions data source: Wikipedia; Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal; Statistics data sources: Datareportal/WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF/Culturalatlas/

Facts and data


Economy

Imports
$16.2 billion (2020).  Refined Petroleum ($1.41B), Medical Instruments ($560M), Broadcasting Equipment ($536M), Cars ($475M), and Integrated Circuits ($452M), importing mostly from United States ($6.89B), China ($2.78B), Mexico ($920M), Malaysia ($559M), and Guatemala ($551M).

Financial inclusion factors (over 15 years of  age)
• 48% have an account with a financial institution
• 24% have a credit card
• 2.4% have a mobile money account
• 19% make online purchases

Ease of doing business
Ease of conducting business is medium (rated 69.2 out of 100). Ranked 5th out of 32 Latin American and Caribbean countries. Ranked 74th out of 190 countries worldwide (2022, World Bank).

Exports
$18.8 billion (2020).   Medical Instruments ($4.32B), Bananas ($1.23B), Tropical Fruits ($1.14B), Orthopedic Appliances ($1.01B), and Other Edible Preparations ($638M), exporting mostly to United States ($6.31B), Netherlands ($1.18B), Belgium ($729M), Guatemala ($727M), and Panama ($585M).

Main local online stores
amazon.com, ebay.com and encuentra24.com, mercadolibre.co.cr. 

Economic freedom
‘Mostly free’ (rated 66.5 out of 100). Ranked 8th out of 32 American countries. Ranked 45th out of 186 countries worldwide (2023, Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal).

Global Innovation Index
Ranked 7th out of 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries, and 68th out of 132 worldwide.

The Global Innovation Index captures the innovation
ecosystem performance of 132 economies and tracks the most recent global innovation trends.

Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal


Service Imports

Source: OEC


Service Exports

Source: OEC


Most Specialized Products by RCA Index

Specialisation is measured using Revealed Comparative Advantage, an index that takes the ratio between Argentina observed and expected exports in each product


Most complex products by PCI

Product Complexity Index measures the knowledge intensity of a product by considering the knowledge intensity of its exporters

Source: OEC


Export Opportunities by Relatedness

Relatedness measures the distance between a country's current exports and each product, the barchart show only products that Argentina is not specialized in

Source: OEC


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Media

Media language Spanish, English

Information channels
Costa Rica has a lively media scene, with major national newspapers, private and public TV stations and an abundance of radio stations. The country has “the best record of respecting human rights and free expression in Latin America”, says Reporters Without Borders. Costa Rica is in the top 10 nations in the group’s World Press Freedom Index. Media ownership is highly-concentrated.

The press

Diario Extra – daily
La Nacion – daily
La Prensa Libre – evening
La Republica – daily
El Financiero – weekly
The Tico Times – English-language weekly
The Costa Rica Star – English-language news site

Television

Teletica (channel 7) – private
Repretel (channels 4, 6, 11) – private
Trece (channel 13) – public

Radio

Reloj – popular national radio
Radio Columbia – news and talk
Radio Monumental – news and talk
Radio Nacional – public

Media data source: BBC


Internet Data

Internet users
89.6% penetration, 4.66 million

Share of web traffic by device
58.62% mobile phones, 39.78% computers (laptops and desktops), 1.50% tablet devices and 0.11% other devices

Median speed of mobile Internet connection
17.47  Mbps

Median speed of fixed Internet connection
65.30 Mbps

Mobile connection as a percentage of total population: 151.2%

Percentage of mobile connections that are broadband (3G-5G): 87.3%

Most popular web search engines
Google (95.17%), Bing (3.41%), Yahoo (0.49%), Petal Search (0.37%),  DuckDuckgo (0.33%), Ecosia (0.09%)

Most used social media
Facebook (74.13%),  Instagram (10.96%), Pinterest (9.65%), Twitter (3.12%), YouTube (1.59%), Tumblr (0.25%)

Internet data sources: Datareportal/Statcounter


Social statistics

Life expectancy
79 yrs (2020)

Unemployment
15.1%

Gender
Costa Rica has a “machista” culture. However, the gender issue varies among the different groups in society. For example, women’s and men’s roles are not the same for the family of an agricultural worker in the southern part of the country as for a family of a professional in San Jose. Traditionally, men are the providers for their families and they are the ones who hold the economic power. In certain rural areas, and in some families in the Central Valley, most women are expected to serve the men of the house. Women would be in charge of preparing meals, doing the house-work and taking care of the children. These roles, however, may change depending on the level of education of the couple and their openness to new models. There is a strong movement to address women’s issues, however, women remain disadvantaged. Traditions still take priority over laws, and women are not hired on an equal basis as men.

Ethnicity
Due to its political and economic stability, Costa Rica has become home to immigrants from many countries but mainly from Nicaragua. Many North Americans have chosen Costa Rica as a retirement location. There are close to a million Nicaraguans living in Costa Rica currently. The majority of these people have lower average literacy rates than Costa Ricans. They have integrated into society taking jobs as maids, construction workers, security officers, agricultural workers, etc. However, many of them have difficulty finding jobs. Public services, like hospitals and schools have been affected due to a greater portion of the population using the services. Unfortunately, Nicaraguans suffer from negative stereotyping; they are often seen as low class people with lower levels of education and, in many cases, their contribution to society is not as appreciated as it should be. Other people with different nationalities are not perceived negatively. Canadians, for example, are seen as educated people who are well informed and come to our country to contribute to society and care for the environment.

Religion
According to the constitution, Catholicism is the official religion in the country. Traditionally, people attend church on Sundays and priests enjoy significant credibility in their communities. The government often considers the opinion of the Church for major decisions. The Church has an active role in politics, educational practices, and health issues. Religious celebrations are important events in family lives, such as first communion, marriages, baptisms, etc.

Class
There is a clear difference between social classes in everyday life. Many foreigners may find it hard to accept that a maid, for example, is not allowed to eat at the table with the rest of the family, or is not allowed to sit in the living room of the house. Middle and upper-class families have maids, drivers, gardeners etc. and they try to maintain a strict distinction between these social levels.

Legend

  • Nahua

  • Guatuso

  • Rama

  • Spanish

  • Cabécar

  • Bribri

  • Chànguea

  • Teribe

  • Boruca

  • Huetar

  • Lengua

  • Corobici

  • Chorotega

The geographical distribution of languages that you will find in the maps published in this section is a work in progress. Our community is helping us to fill it up with always new and updated data. Your contribution is precious. If you want to help us, please write to imminent.factbook@translated.com


Photo credit: Ralph Kayden, Unsplash