macrohistory & world report

Republic of Suriname

Map of Suriname

Suriname (capital Paramaribo) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of November 2014: "The economy is dominated by the mining industry, with exports of alumina, gold, and oil accounting for about 85% of exports and 25% of government revenues, making the economy highly vulnerable to mineral price volatility. Economic growth has remained at about 4-5% per year in 2010-13, but the government's budget was strained by high inflation in 2010. In January 2011, the government devalued the currency by 20% and raised taxes to reduce the budget deficit. As a result of these measures, inflation has receded to about 4% in 2013. Suriname's economic prospects for the medium term will depend on continued commitment to responsible monetary and fiscal policies and to the introduction of structural reforms to liberalize markets and promote competition. The government's reliance on revenue from extractive industries will temper Suriname's economic outlook, especially if gold prices continue their downward trend."

Economic growth rate
2011: 5%
2010: 4.4%
2009: 2.2%

Labor in Agriculture
2004: 8%

Unemployment rate
2008: 9%

Export commodities
alumina, gold, crude oil, lumber, shrimp and fish, rice, bananas

Export partners
2010: Canada 36.8%, US 12%, Belgium 11.6%, UAE 9.5%, Netherlands 6.1%, Norway 5.5%

export-import ratio
2011: exports exceeded imports in cash value.

Health expenditures
2009: 7.6% of GDP


Birth and death rate per 1,000 population
2011: birth 16.02, death 5.54

Living in an urban area
2010: 69%

Net migration rate
2012: Gain of 0.96 persons per 1,000 population per year

Ethnic groups
Hindustani (known locally as "East Indians", their ancestors having emigrated from northern India in the latter part of the 19th century) 37%, Creole (mixed white and black) 31%, Javanese 15%, "Maroons" (their African ancestors were brought to the country in the 17th and 18th centuries as slaves and escaped to the interior) 10%, Amerindian 2%, Chinese 2%, white 1%, other 2%

Hindu 27.4%, Protestant 25.2% (predominantly Moravian), Roman Catholic 22.8%, Muslim 19.6%, indigenous beliefs 5%

Literacy, Age 15 and Older
2004: males 92%, females 87.2%


South America, east of Guyana, west of French Guiana. 386 kilometers of coastline, east and west. About 400 kilometers north and south. 163,270 square miles, equivalent to 404 by 404 miles. Tropical.


Capital: Paramaribo.

Recent History

Independence from the Netherlands in 1975.

Military regime ended civilian rule in 1980, declared a socialist republic and ruled through nominally civilian administrations. International pressure resulted in democratic elections  in 1987. The military overthrew an elected government in 1989. A democratically elected government returned in 1991.

The World Factbook

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