macrohistory & world report

Oriental Republic of Uruguay

Map of Uruguay

Uruguay (capital Montevideo) and neighboring states

Factbook: "Uruguay's economy is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated work force, and high levels of social spending. Following financial difficulties in the late 1990s and early 2000s, economic growth for Uruguay averaged 8% annually during the period 2004-08. The 2008-09 global financial crisis put a brake on Uruguay's vigorous growth, which decelerated to 2.6% in 2009. Nevertheless, the country managed to avoid a recession and keep positive growth rates, mainly through higher public expenditure and investment, and GDP growth reached 8.5% in 2010 and about 6% in 2011."

Economic growth rate
2011: 6%

Labor force in agriculture
2010: 13%

Unemployment rate
2011: 6%
2010: 6.7%

Public debt
2011: 51% of GDP
2010: 56.9% of GDP

Export/import ratio
2011: Exports 74.8% of imports in cash value

Exports - commodities
2011: beef, soybeans, cellulose, rice, wheat, wood, dairy products; wool

Imports - commodities
Rrefined oil 10.0%, crude oil 9.0%, passenger vehicles 4.0%, transportation vehicles 2.7%, vehicles parts 2.0%, cellular phones 2.1%

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 41st among 140 countries (lower rank number is less equal). Less equal than Britain, which ranks 94th. More equal than Mexico, which ranks 19th.

Urugary's corruption index figure at 7.0 for 2011 compares favorable to Mexico's, at 3.0. There seems to be a rough correlation in the world between large inequalities in income and corruption.

Health expenditures
2009: 7.4% of GdP

Education expenditures
2006: 2.9% of GDP (ranks 134th)



Living in an urban area
2010: 92%

Ethnic groups
World Factbook (2011): White 88%, mestizo 8%, black 4%, Amerindian practically nonexistent.

2006: Roman Catholic 47.1%, non-Catholic Christians 11.1%, nondenominational 23.2%, Jewish 0.3%, atheist or agnostic 17.2%, other 1.1%

Migration rate
2012: A net loss of 1.5 persons per 1,000 population per year


Between Brazil and Argentina. 660 kilometers of coastline along the South Atlantic Ocean. Equivalent to 420 by 420 kilometers or roughly 262 by 262 miles. Rolling plains and lows. No freezing temperatures. Capital: Montevideo, on the coast where the Atlantic meets the Plata River. 


Independence from Spain in 1825. Presidents with their vice-president elected by popular vote for five-year terms. Bicameral legislature, members elected by popular vote also for five-year terms.

Capital: Montevideo

Recent History

2009: BBC News describes most who are leaving Uruguay are "young and highly qualified, looking to earn higher salaries in Europe and the United States." According to BBC News "So many people have left in recent years it is now estimated that up to one-fifth of all Uruguayans now live abroad. "

The World Factbook
BBC News

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