Uruguay Flag Icon

Uruguay Country Guide

Explore Uruguay in South America

Uruguay with the capital city Montevideo is located in South America (Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean). It covers some 176,221 square kilometres (slightly smaller than the state of Washington) with 3,477,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Uruguay

The topography includes mostly rolling plains and low hills with fertile coastal lowland. The average density of population is approximately 20 per km². The notable climate conditions in Uruguay can be described as warm temperate with freezing temperatures almost unknown. Possible natural disasters include seasonally high winds (the pampero being a chilly and occasional violent wind that blows north from the Argentine pampas), droughts, floods or because of the absence of mountains, which act as weather barriers, all locations are particularly vulnerable to rapid changes from weather fronts.

To reach someone in Uruguay dial +598 prior to a number. There are 953,400 installed telephones. And there are 4,112,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 1800, 1900 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".uy". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 220V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Uruguay

Nine equal horizontal stripes of white (top and bottom) alternating with blue; a white square in the upper hoist-side corner with a yellow sun bearing a human face known as the Sun of May with 16 rays that alternate between triangular and wavy; the stripes represent the nine original departments of Uruguay; the sun symbol evokes the legend of the sun breaking through the clouds on 25 May 1810 as independence was first declared from Spain (Uruguay subsequently won its independence from Brazil)
note: the banner was inspired by the national colors of Argentina and by the design of the US flag.

Montevideo, founded by the Spanish in 1726 as a military stronghold, soon took advantage of its natural harbor to become an important commercial center. Claimed by Argentina but annexed by Brazil in 1821, Uruguay declared its independence four years later and secured its freedom in 1828 after a three-year struggle. The administrations of President Jose BATLLE in the early 20th century established widespread political, social, and economic reforms that established a statist tradition. A violent Marxist urban guerrilla movement named the Tupamaros, launched in the late 1960s, led Uruguay's president to cede control of the government to the military in 1973. By yearend, the rebels had been crushed, but the military continued to expand its hold over the government. Civilian rule was not restored until 1985. In 2004, the left-of-center Frente Amplio Coalition won national elections that effectively ended 170 years of political control previously held by the Colorado and Blanco parties. Uruguay''s political and labor conditions are among the freest on the continent.

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: South America
Neighbours: Brazil, Argentina
Capital: Montevideo
Size 176,220 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 68,039 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly smaller than the state of Washington
Population 3,477,000
Currency Name: Peso, Currency Code: UYU
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .uy
Telephone Country Prefix +598
Mobile Phone Connections 4,112,000
Landline Phone Connections 953,400

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 176,215 (sq km) 91

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 3,324,460 134
Population growth rate 0.25 (%) 172
Birth rate 13.28 (births/1,000 population) 150
Death rate 9.52 (deaths/1,000 population) 57
Net migration rate -1.26 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 153
Maternal mortality rate 29.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 124
Infant mortality rate 9.20 (deaths/1,000 live births) 149
Life expectancy at birth 76.61 (years) 73
Total fertility rate 1.86 (children born/woman) 145
Health expenditures 8.40 (% of GDP) 54
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.50 (%) 65
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 9,900 96
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 24.80 (%) 64
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 6.00 (%) 82
Education expenditures 2.90 (% of GDP) 144
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 17.4 (%) 75


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 54,670,000,000 94
GDP - real growth rate 3.80 (%) 89
GDP - per capita (PPP) 16,200 83
Labor force 1,691,000 128
Unemployment rate 6.10 (%) 60
Distribution of family income - Gini index 45 40
Investment (gross fixed) 20.00 (% of GDP) 94
Taxes and other revenues 28.9 (% of GDP) 101
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -1.60 (% of GDP) 75
Public debt 57.20 (% of GDP) 49
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 8.10 (%) 181
Central bank discount rate 8.75 (%) 29
Commercial bank prime lending rate 9.80 (%) 92
Stock of narrow money 5,143,000,000 100
Stock of broad money 16,970,000,000 93
Stock of domestic credit 15,690,000,000 88
Market value of publicly traded shares 238,000,000 112
Industrial production growth rate -1.00 (%) 153
Current account balance -1,189,000,000 119
Exports 9,812,000,000 96
Imports 10,970,000,000 91
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 12,230,000,000 70
Debt - external 21,070,000,000 80
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 15,200,000,000 77
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 345,000,000 80


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 9,500,000,000 (kWh) 95
Electricity - consumption 7,960,000,000 (kWh) 95
Electricity - exports 18,900,000 (kWh) 82
Electricity - imports 470,000,000 (kWh) 80
Electricity - installed generating capacity 2516000 (kW) 94
Electricity - from fossil fuels 38.5 (% of total installed capacity) 171
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 61.1 (% of total installed capacity) 30
Electricity - from other renewable sources 0.4 (% of total installed capacity) 78
Crude oil - imports 38,720 (bbl/day) 62
Refined petroleum products - production 43,370 (bbl/day) 86
Refined petroleum products - consumption 51,100 (bbl/day) 99
Refined petroleum products - exports 6,093 (bbl/day) 94
Refined petroleum products - imports 22,060 (bbl/day) 103
Natural gas - consumption 80,000,000 (cu m) 106
Natural gas - imports 86,400,000 (cu m) 74
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 7,265,000 (Mt) 112


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 964,900 80
Telephones - mobile cellular 4,757,000 109
Internet hosts 1,036,000 45
Internet users 1,405,000 86


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 94 63
Railways 1,641 (km) 77
Roadways 77,732 (km) 61
Waterways 1,600 (km) 49
Merchant marine 16 100


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 0.90 (% of GDP) 132

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
Historic Quarter of the City of Colonia del Sacramento
Founded by the Portuguese in 1680 on the Río de la Plata, the city was of strategic importance in resisting the Spanish. After being disputed for a century, it was finally lost by its founders. The well-preserved urban landscape illustrates the succ ...