macrohistory & world report

Republic of Panama

Map of Panama

The Republic of Panama (capital Panama City) between neighboring states

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Panama's dollar-based economy rests primarily on a well-developed services sector that accounts for more than three-quarters of GDP. Services include operating the Panama Canal, logistics, banking, the Colon Free Zone, insurance, container ports, flagship registry, and tourism. Economic growth will be bolstered by the Panama Canal expansion project that began in 2007 and is estimated to be completed by 2015 at a cost of $5.3 billion - about 10-15% of current GDP. The expansion project will more than double the Canal's capacity, enabling it to accommodate ships that are too large to traverse the existing canal. The United States and China are the top users of the Canal. Panama is also constructing a metro system in Panama City, valued at $1.2 billion and scheduled to be completed by 2014. Panama's booming transportation and logistics services sectors, along with aggressive infrastructure development projects, have lead the economy to continued high growth in 2012. Foreign investment, at around 10% of GDP in both 2011 and 2012, has continued to be a source of growth. Strong economic performance has not translated into broadly shared prosperity, as Panama has the second worst income distribution in Latin America. About one-fourth of the population lives in poverty; however, from 2006 to 2012 poverty was reduced by 10 percentage points, while unemployment dropped from 12% to 4.5% of the labor force in 2013. The US-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement was approved by Congress and signed into law in October 2011, and entered into force in October 2012. Panama also achieved removal from the Organization of Economic Development's gray-list of tax havens by signing various double taxation treaties with other nations."

Economic growth rate:
2011: 10.6%
2010: 7.6%
2009: 3.9%

Unemployment rate:
2011: 4.5%
2010: 6.5%

Public debt
2011: 41.7% of GDP
2010: 43.5% of GDP

Exported commodities
Gold, bananas, shrimp, sugar, iron and steel waste, pineapples, watermelons

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 18th among 140 countries (lower rank number is less equal). Less equal than Britain, which ranks 94th, and the US, which ranks 45th.

Health expenditures
2009: 8.3% of GDP

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP
2006: 1%


Living in an urban area
2010: 75%

2011: Estimnated rate of urbanizing at a rate: 2.3% per year

Net migration rate
2012: A net loss of 0.38 persons per 1,000

mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 70%, Amerindian and mixed (West Indian) 14%, white 10%, Amerindia 6%

Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant 15%


Central America. Southeast of Costa Rica and northwest of Colombia. 78,200 square kilometers, equivalent to 279.6 by 279.6 kilometers or roughly 175 by 175 miles.


Constitutional democracy. The president is chief of state and head of government. The president and vice president are elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms and must sit out two additional terms (10 years) before becoming eligible for reelection. Members of the National Assembly are elected by popular vote to five year terms.

Capital: Panama City

Recent History

Independence from Colombia on November 3, 1903.

1977: Rule over the Panama Canal is transferred from the United States to Panama.

The World Factbook

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.