Country List | World Factbook Home
CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Ecuador
Flag of Ecuador
Map of Ecuador
Introduction Ecuador
What is now Ecuador formed part of the northern Inca Empire until the Spanish conquest in 1533. Quito became a seat of Spanish colonial government in 1563 and part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in 1717. The territories of the Viceroyalty - New Granada (Colombia), Venezuela, and Quito - gained their independence by 1819 and formed a federation known as Gran Colombia. When Quito withdrew in 1830, the traditional name was changed in favor of the "Republic of the Equator." Between 1904 and 1942, Ecuador lost territories in a series of conflicts with its neighbors. A border war with Peru that flared in 1995 was resolved in 1999. Although Ecuador marked 25 years of civilian governance in 2004, the period has been marred by political instability. Protests in Quito have contributed to the mid-term ouster of Ecuador's last three democratically elected Presidents.
Geography Ecuador
Western South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, between Colombia and Peru
Geographic coordinates:
2 00 S, 77 30 W
Map references:
South America
total: 283,560 sq km
land: 276,840 sq km
water: 6,720 sq km
note: includes Galapagos Islands
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Nevada
Land boundaries:
total: 2,010 km
border countries: Colombia 590 km, Peru 1,420 km
2,237 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 200 nm
continental shelf: 100 nm from 2,500 meter isobath
tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands
coastal plain (costa), inter-Andean central highlands (sierra), and flat to rolling eastern jungle (oriente)
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Chimborazo 6,267 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, fish, timber, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 5.71%
permanent crops: 4.81%
other: 89.48% (2005)
Irrigated land:
8,650 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
frequent earthquakes, landslides, volcanic activity; floods; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution; pollution from oil production wastes in ecologically sensitive areas of the Amazon Basin and Galapagos Islands
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Cotopaxi in Andes is highest active volcano in world
People Ecuador
13,547,510 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 33% (male 2,281,499/female 2,195,551)
15-64 years: 61.9% (male 4,178,653/female 4,210,766)
65 years and over: 5% (male 319,719/female 361,322) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 23.6 years
male: 23.1 years
female: 24 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.5% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
22.29 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
4.23 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
-3.11 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 22.87 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 27.42 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.09 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.42 years
male: 73.55 years
female: 79.43 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.68 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.3% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
21,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
1,700 (2003 est.)
noun: Ecuadorian(s)
adjective: Ecuadorian
Ethnic groups:
mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 65%, Amerindian 25%, Spanish and others 7%, black 3%
Roman Catholic 95%, other 5%
Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.5%
male: 94%
female: 91% (2003 est.)
Government Ecuador
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Ecuador
conventional short form: Ecuador
local long form: Republica del Ecuador
local short form: Ecuador
Government type:
name: Quito
geographic coordinates: 0 13 S, 78 30 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
22 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Azuay, Bolivar, Canar, Carchi, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, El Oro, Esmeraldas, Galapagos, Guayas, Imbabura, Loja, Los Rios, Manabi, Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Pichincha, Sucumbios, Tungurahua, Zamora-Chinchipe
24 May 1822 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Independence Day (independence of Quito), 10 August (1809)
10 August 1998
Legal system:
based on civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal, compulsory for literate persons ages 18-65, optional for other eligible voters
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Rafael CORREA Delgado (since 15 January 2007); Vice President Lenin MORENO (since 15 January 2007); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Rafael CORREA Delgado (since 15 January 2007); Vice President Lenin MORENO (since 15 January 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: the president and vice president are elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a four-year term (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held 15 October 2006 with a runoff election on 26 November 2006 (next to be held October 2010)
election results: Rafael CORREA elected president; percent of vote - Rafael CORREA 56.7%; Alvaro NOBOA 43.3%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional (100 seats; members are elected through a party-list proportional representation system to serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held 15 October 2006 (next to be held October 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PRIAN 28; PSP 24; PSC 13; ID 7; PRE 6; MUPP-NP 6; RED 5; UDC 5; other 6; note - defections by members of National Congress are commonplace, resulting in frequent changes in the numbers of seats held by the various parties
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (according to the Constitution, new justices are elected by the full Supreme Court; in December 2004, however, Congress successfully replaced the entire court via a simple-majority resolution)
Political parties and leaders:
Concentration of Popular Forces or CFP [Averroes BUCARAM]; Democratic Left or ID [Guillermo LANDAZURI]; Ethical and Democratic Network or RED [Leon ROLDOS]; National Action Institutional Renewal Party or PRIAN [Alvaro NOBOA]; Pachakutik Plurinational Unity Movement - New Country or MUPP-NP [Gilberto TALAHUA]; Patriotic Society Party or PSP [Lucio GUTIERREZ Borbua]; Popular Democracy or DP [Dr. Juan Manuel FUERTES]; Popular Democratic Movement or MPD [Gustavo TERAN Acosta]; Radical Alfarista Front or FRA [Fabian ALARCON, director]; Roldosist Party or PRE [Abdala BUCARAM Ortiz, director]; Social Christian Party or PSC [Leon FEBRES CORDERO]; Socialist Party - Broad Front or PS-FA [Victor GRANDA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador or CONAIE [Luis MACAS, president]; Coordinator of Social Movements or CMS [F. Napoleon SANTOS]; Federation of Indigenous Evangelists of Ecuador or FEINE [Marco MURILLO, president]; National Federation of Indigenous Afro-Ecuatorianos and Peasants or FENOCIN [Pedro DE LA CRUZ, president]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Luis Benigno GALLEGOS Chiriboga
chancery: 2535 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 234-7200
FAX: [1] (202) 667-3482
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Jersey City (New Jersey), Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Linda L. JEWELL
embassy: Avenida 12 de Octubre y Avenida Patria, Quito
mailing address: APO AA 34039
telephone: [593] (2) 256-2890
FAX: [593] (2) 250-2052
consulate(s) general: Guayaquil
Flag description:
three horizontal bands of yellow (top, double width), blue, and red with the coat of arms superimposed at the center of the flag; similar to the flag of Colombia, which is shorter and does not bear a coat of arms
Economy Ecuador
Economy - overview:
Ecuador has substantial petroleum resources, which have accounted for 40% of the country's export earnings and one-third of central government budget revenues in recent years. Consequently, fluctuations in world market prices can have a substantial domestic impact. In the late 1990s, Ecuador suffered its worst economic crisis, with natural disasters and sharp declines in world petroleum prices driving Ecuador's economy into free fall in 1999. Real GDP contracted by more than 6%, with poverty worsening significantly. The banking system also collapsed, and Ecuador defaulted on its external debt later that year. The currency depreciated by some 70% in 1999, and, on the brink of hyperinflation, the MAHAUD government announced it would dollarize the economy. A coup, however, ousted MAHAUD from office in January 2000, and after a short-lived junta failed to garner military support, Vice President Gustavo NOBOA took over the presidency. In March 2000, Congress approved a series of structural reforms that also provided the framework for the adoption of the US dollar as legal tender. Dollarization stabilized the economy, and growth returned to its pre-crisis levels in the years that followed. Under the administration of Lucio GUTIERREZ - January 2003 to April 2005 - Ecuador benefited from higher world petroleum prices. However, the government under Alfredo PALACIO has reversed economic reforms that reduced Ecuador's vulnerability to petroleum price swings and financial crises, allowing the central government greater access to oil windfalls and disbursing surplus retirement funds.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$60.48 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$32.57 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3.6% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$4,500 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 6.3%
industry: 33.5%
services: 60.2% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
4.57 million (urban) (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 8%
industry: 24%
services: 68% (2001)
Unemployment rate:
10.6% official rate; but underemployment of 47% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:
41% (2003)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 32%
note: data for urban households only (October 2003)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
note: data are for urban households (2003)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.4% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
22.6% of GDP (2006 est.)
revenues: $11.5 billion
expenditures: planned $10.46 billion; including capital expenditures of $1.6 billion (2006 est.)
Public debt:
36% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
bananas, coffee, cocoa, rice, potatoes, manioc (tapioca), plantains, sugarcane; cattle, sheep, pigs, beef, pork, dairy products; balsa wood; fish, shrimp
petroleum, food processing, textiles, wood products, chemicals
Industrial production growth rate:
5% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:
12.2 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 81%
hydro: 19%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
12.95 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
35 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
1.642 billion kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
493,200 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
148,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
387,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
5.115 billion bbl (2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
170 million cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
170 million cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
9.769 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance:
$727 million (2006 est.)
$12.56 billion (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
petroleum, bananas, cut flowers, shrimp
Exports - partners:
US 50.6%, Peru 7.9%, Germany 4.3%, Colombia 4.3% (2005)
$10.81 billion (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
vehicles, medicinal products, telecommunications equipment, electricity
Imports - partners:
US 22.1%, Colombia 14.8%, Venezuela 7.7%, Brazil 7.2%, China 5.2% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.514 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
$18.1 billion (2006 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$216 million (2002)
Currency (code):
US dollar (USD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
1 (2006), 25,000 (2005), 25,000 (2004), 25,000 (2003), 25,000 (2002)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Ecuador
Telephones - main lines in use:
1,701,500 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
6.246 million (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: generally elementary but being expanded
domestic: facilities generally inadequate and unreliable
international: country code - 593; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 392, FM 35, shortwave 29 (2001)
5 million (2001)
Television broadcast stations:
7 (plus 14 repeaters) (2001)
2.5 million (2001)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
19,027 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
31 (2001)
Internet users:
616,000 (2005)
Transportation Ecuador
359 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 98
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 19
914 to 1,523 m: 29
under 914 m: 43 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 261
914 to 1,523 m: 33
under 914 m: 228 (2006)
1 (2006)
extra heavy crude 578 km; gas 71 km; oil 1,386 km; refined products 1,185 km (2006)
total: 966 km
narrow gauge: 966 km 1.067-m gauge (2005)
total: 43,197 km
paved: 6,467 km
unpaved: 36,730 km (2004)
1,500 km (most inaccessible) (2005)
Merchant marine:
total: 31 ships (1000 GRT or over) 184,819 GRT/300,339 DWT
by type: chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 1, passenger 7, petroleum tanker 21, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 2 (Norway 1, Paraguay 1)
registered in other countries: 1 (Georgia 1) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Esmeraldas, Guayaquil, La Libertad, Manta, Puerto Bolivar
Military Ecuador
Military branches:
Army, Navy (includes naval infantry, naval aviation, coast guard), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Ecuatoriana, FAE)
Military service age and obligation:
20 years of age for conscript military service; 12-month service obligation (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 20-49: 2,792,770
females age 20-49: 2,849,519 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 20-49: 2,338,428
females age 20-49: 2,380,327 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 133,922
females age 20-49: 129,758 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$650 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
2% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Ecuador
Disputes - international:
organized illegal narcotics operations in Colombia penetrate across Ecuador's shared border and caused over 20,000 refugees to flee into Ecuador in 2004
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 8,270 (Colombia) (2005)
Illicit drugs:
significant transit country for cocaine originating in Colombia and Peru; importer of precursor chemicals used in production of illicit narcotics; attractive location for cash-placement by drug traffickers laundering money because of dollarization and weak anti-money-laundering regime; increased activity on the northern frontier by trafficking groups and Colombian insurgents

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007