Ecuador Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Ecuador > Map Economy History

Galapagos National Park
Sangay National Park

Facts About Ecuador

Background: The "Republic of the Equator" was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being 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.
Government type: republic
Capital: Quito
Currency: US dollar (USD)

Geography of Ecuador

Location: 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
Coastline: 2,237 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: claims continental shelf between mainland and Galapagos Islands
territorial sea: 200 nm
Climate: tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands
Terrain: 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: 6%
permanent crops: 5%
permanent pastures: 18%
forests and woodland: 56%
other: 15% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 5,560 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: frequent earthquakes, landslides, volcanic activity; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution; pollution from oil production wastes.
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, 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.

More Geography

People of Ecuador

Ecuador's population is ethnically mixed. The largest ethnic groups are indigenous and mestizo (mixed Indian-Caucasian). Although Ecuadorians were heavily concentrated in the mountainous central highland region a few decades ago, today's population is divided about equally between that area and the coastal lowlands. Migration toward cities--particularly larger cities--in all regions has increased the urban population to about 55%. The tropical forest region to the east of the mountains remains sparsely populated and contains only about 3% of the population.

The public education system is tuition-free, and attendance is mandatory from ages 6 to 14. In practice, however, many children drop out before age 15, and, in rural areas only about one-third complete sixth grade. The government is striving to create better programs for the rural and urban poor, especially in technical and occupational training. In recent years, it also has been successful in reducing illiteracy. Enrollment in primary schools has been increasing at an annual rate of 4.4%--faster than the population growth rate. According to the 1979 constitution, the central government must allocate at least 30% of its revenue to education; in practice, however, it allots a much smaller percentage. Public universities have an open admissions policy. In recent years, however, large increases in the student population, budget difficulties, and extreme politicization of the university system have led to a decline in academic standards.

Population: 13,363,593 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  35.8% 
15-64 years:  59.81% 
65 years and over:  4.39%
Population growth rate: 2% 
Birth rate: 25.99 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 5.44 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -0.55 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 34.08 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  71.33 years
male:  68.52 years
female:  74.28 years 
Total fertility rate: 3.12 children born/woman 
noun: Ecuadorian(s)
adjective: Ecuadorian
Ethnic groups: mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 65%, Amerindian 25%, Spanish and others 7%, black 3%
Religions: Roman Catholic 95%
Languages: Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90.1%
male: 92%
female: 88.2% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Ecuador > Map Economy History