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The "Republic of the Equator" was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Colombia and Venezuela). 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. Seven presidents have governed Ecuador since 1996.


Western South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, between Colombia and Peru

Geographic coordinates:

2 00 S, 77 30 W


total: 283,560 sq km
land: 276,840 sq km
water: 6,720 sq km
note: includes Galapagos Islands

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

Geography - note:

Cotopaxi in Andes is highest active volcano in world


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.)

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.)

Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Ecuador
conventional short form: Ecuador
local long form: Republica del Ecuador
local short form: Ecuador

Government type:




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

Legislative branch:

unicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional (100 seats; members are popularly elected by province to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 20 October 2002 (next to be held October 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PSC 25, ID 16, PRE 15, PRIAN 10, PSP 9, Pachakutik Movement 6, MPD 5, DP 4, PS-FA 3, independents 7; 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)

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):

$52.77 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$30.6 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

3% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$3,900 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 7.4%
industry: 31.8%
services: 60.8% (2005 est.)

Labor force:

4.6 million (urban) (2005 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 8%
industry: 24%
services: 68% (2001)

Unemployment rate:

9.7% official rate; but underemployment of 47% (November 2005 est.)

Population below poverty line:

52% (2006)

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):

3.1% (2005)

Investment (gross fixed):

22% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $8.822 billion
expenditures: planned $8.153 billion; including capital expenditures of $1.6 billion (2005 est.)

Public debt:

44.9% of GDP (2005 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:

4.5% (2005 est.)

Electricity - production:

11.27 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

10.55 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - exports:

65 million kWh (2003)

Electricity - imports:

140 million kWh (2003)

Oil - production:

493,200 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - consumption:

155,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil - exports:

387,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:

4.512 billion bbl (2005 est.)

Natural gas - production:

50 million cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

50 million cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

9.769 billion cu m (2005)

Current account balance:

$58 million (2005 est.)


$9.224 billion (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

petroleum, bananas, cut flowers, shrimp

Exports - partners:

US 42.9%, Panama 14.3%, Peru 7.9%, Italy 4.6% (2004)


$8.436 billion (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

vehicles, medicinal products, telecommunications equipment, electricity

Imports - partners:

US 16.5%, Colombia 14.1%, China 9.2%, Venezuela 7.1%, Brazil 6.5%, Chile 4.6%, Japan 4.5%, Mexico 4.3% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$2.147 billion (2005)

Debt - external:

$18.29 billion (November 2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$216 million (2002)

Currency (code):

US dollar (USD)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

1,612,300 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

3,544,200 (2004)

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)

Television broadcast stations:

7 (plus 14 repeaters) (2001)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

16,217 (2005)

Internet users:

624,600 (2005)


285 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 85
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 19
914 to 1,523 m: 30
under 914 m: 29 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 200
914 to 1,523 m: 31
under 914 m: 169 (2005)


1 (2005)


extra heavy crude 578 km; gas 71 km; oil 1,386 km; refined products 1,185 km (2004)


total: 966 km
narrow gauge: 966 km 1.067-m gauge (2004)


total: 43,197 km
paved: 7,287 km
unpaved: 35,910 km (2003)


1,500 km (most inaccessible) (2005)

Merchant marine:

total: 30 ships (1000 GRT or over) 181,513 GRT/297,003 DWT
by type: chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 1, passenger 7, petroleum tanker 20, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 2 (Germany 1, Paraguay 1)
registered in other countries: 1 (Georgia 1) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Esmeraldas, Guayaquil, La Libertad, Manta, Puerto Bolivar

Military branches:

Army, Navy (includes Naval Infantry, Naval Aviation, Coast Guard), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Ecuatoriana, FAE)

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