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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 176,220 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 is 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

Uruguay Flag Icon

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

SummaryContinent: South America
Neighbours: Brazil, Argentina
Capital: Montevideo
Size176,220 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 68,038 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly smaller than the state of Washington
CurrencyName Peso, Currency Code:UYU
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD).uy
Telephone Country Prefix+598
Mobile Phone Connections4,112,000
Landline Phone Connections953,400

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 nameValueWorld Rank
Area176,215 (sq km)91

People and Society

Value nameValueWorld Rank
Population3,324,460 134
Population growth rate0.25 (%)172
Birth rate13.28 (births/1,000 population)150
Death rate9.52 (deaths/1,000 population)57
Net migration rate-1.26 (migrant(s)/1,000 population)153
Maternal mortality rate29.00 (deaths/100,000 live births)124
Infant mortality rate9.20 (deaths/1,000 live births)149
Life expectancy at birth76.61 (years)73
Total fertility rate1.86 (children born/woman)145
Health expenditures8.40 (% of GDP)54
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.50 (%)65
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS9,900 96
Obesity - adult prevalence rate24.80 (%)64
Children under the age of 5 years underweight6.00 (%)82
Education expenditures2.90 (% of GDP)144
Unemployment, youth ages 15-2417.40 (%)75


Value nameValueWorld Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity)54,670,000,000 94
GDP - real growth rate3.80 (%)89
GDP - per capita (PPP)16,200 83
Labor force1,691,000 128
Unemployment rate6.10 (%)60
Distribution of family income - Gini index45.30 40
Investment (gross fixed)20.00 (% of GDP)94
Taxes and other revenues28.90 (% of GDP)101
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-1.60 (% of GDP)75
Public debt57.20 (% of GDP)49
Inflation rate (consumer prices)8.10 (%)181
Central bank discount rate8.75 (%)29
Commercial bank prime lending rate9.80 (%)92
Stock of narrow money5,143,000,000 100
Stock of broad money16,970,000,000 93
Stock of domestic credit15,690,000,000 88
Market value of publicly traded shares238,000,000 112
Industrial production growth rate-1.00 (%)153
Current account balance-1,189,000,000 119
Exports9,812,000,000 96
Imports10,970,000,000 91
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold12,230,000,000 70
Debt - external21,070,000,000 80
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home15,200,000,000 77
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad345,000,000 80


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Electricity - production9,500,000,000 (kWh)95
Electricity - consumption7,960,000,000 (kWh)95
Electricity - exports18,900,000 (kWh)82
Electricity - imports470,000,000 (kWh)80
Electricity - installed generating capacity2,516,000 (kW)94
Electricity - from fossil fuels38.50 (% of total installed capacity)171
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants61.10 (% of total installed capacity)30
Electricity - from other renewable sources0.40 (% of total installed capacity)78
Crude oil - imports38,720 (bbl/day)62
Refined petroleum products - production43,370 (bbl/day)86
Refined petroleum products - consumption51,100 (bbl/day)99
Refined petroleum products - exports6,093 (bbl/day)94
Refined petroleum products - imports22,060 (bbl/day)103
Natural gas - consumption80,000,000 (cu m)106
Natural gas - imports86,400,000 (cu m)74
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy7,265,000 (Mt)112


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Telephones - main lines in use964,900 80
Telephones - mobile cellular4,757,000 109
Internet hosts1,036,000 45
Internet users1,405,000 86


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Airports94 63
Railways1,641 (km)77
Roadways77,732 (km)61
Waterways1,600 (km)49
Merchant marine16 100


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Military expenditures0.90 (% 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

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 succe ...