The People of Costa Rica

The population of Costa Rica is 4.9 million people and of that number 330,000 live in the capital of San Jose. Of the total population 94% are white and Mestizos, 3% are black, 1% are Amerindians, and 1% are Asians. The population is increasing at approximately 1.5% per year and currently 40% live in rural areas and 60% live in urban areas. The indigenous inhabitants in 2011 totalled 104,000 with most of them living in secluded reservations. The White population includes the European Costa Ricans and the Mestizos. The Europeans are mainly the Spanish and the Mestizos are those of combined European and Amerindian descent. There are also Mulatto which is a mixture of the white and black populations.

The country is currently experiencing migration from other Central American countries. In 2011 386,000 were born abroad with the vast majority coming from Nicaragua. By 2016 there were 420,000 immigrants in the country. All children are provided with schooling up to the age of 15. This has resulted in Costa Rica having a literacy rate of 96% and this is the 5th highest amongst all American countries. The elder students are catered for with a wide range of universities in the urban areas.

The most popular religion in the country is Roman Catholicism with 70% of the population following it. There are a number of other faiths being worshipped in the country with 13% of Costa Ricans being protestant.

Costa Rican Jamaicans in carnival spirit

The Black population is made up of Jamaican rail road workers who came over to help construct the railway from the Plateau Valley to Limon Port. After it was complete in 1890 these workers chose to stay on in the country. Many of them set up fishing communities along the Caribbean coast from Limon down to Panama. They have now dispersed into other areas of the community, but their unmistakable accents can be heard, as well as the sounds of Caribbean music coming from many bars.

The Bribri are one of the major groups of indigenous people of Costa Rica. Today there are 4 major settlements in the country where the people speak their own language and live their own traditional way of life. They are agriculturalists and they are able to farm 120 wild and domestic crops which makes them self-sufficient. The official population is 11,500 although the truer figure is closer to 35,000.

A home on a reservation

A home on a reservation

There are in fact a total of 24 reservations in Costa Rica set aside for the indigenous people to live in. There are many issues that are being dealt with and one of those is education. The indigenous people feel that their schools are not receiving the same funding as the mainstream schools.

Although land has been allocated to the indigenous groups it is not the same area that their ancestors roamed. They are also opposed to the El Diquis Hydroelectric Project which will flood their ancestral lands. 200 historical sites will be lost if the project goes ahead.

The people of Costa Rica are known as Ticos and the different ethnic origins of the people have in time blended well to produce the population of today. Costa Ricans are tolerant people who try to avoid confrontation at all cost. Their character represents well the image of their country.