Country List | World Factbook Home
CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Paraguay
Flag of Paraguay
Map of Paraguay
Introduction Paraguay
In the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance (1865-70), Paraguay lost two-thirds of all adult males and much of its territory. It stagnated economically for the next half century. In the Chaco War of 1932-35, large, economically important areas were won from Bolivia. The 35-year military dictatorship of Alfredo STROESSNER was overthrown in 1989, and, despite a marked increase in political infighting in recent years, relatively free and regular presidential elections have been held since then.
Geography Paraguay
Central South America, northeast of Argentina
Geographic coordinates:
23 00 S, 58 00 W
Map references:
South America
total: 406,750 sq km
land: 397,300 sq km
water: 9,450 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than California
Land boundaries:
total: 3,995 km
border countries: Argentina 1,880 km, Bolivia 750 km, Brazil 1,365 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
subtropical to temperate; substantial rainfall in the eastern portions, becoming semiarid in the far west
grassy plains and wooded hills east of Rio Paraguay; Gran Chaco region west of Rio Paraguay mostly low, marshy plain near the river, and dry forest and thorny scrub elsewhere
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: junction of Rio Paraguay and Rio Parana 46 m
highest point: Cerro Pero (Cerro Tres Kandu) 842 m
Natural resources:
hydropower, timber, iron ore, manganese, limestone
Land use:
arable land: 7.47%
permanent crops: 0.24%
other: 92.29% (2005)
Irrigated land:
670 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
local flooding in southeast (early September to June); poorly drained plains may become boggy (early October to June)
Environment - current issues:
deforestation; water pollution; inadequate means for waste disposal pose health risks for many urban residents; loss of wetlands
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
landlocked; lies between Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil; population concentrated in southern part of country
People Paraguay
6,506,464 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 37.7% (male 1,245,149/female 1,204,970)
15-64 years: 57.5% (male 1,878,761/female 1,862,266)
65 years and over: 4.8% (male 145,899/female 169,419) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 21.3 years
male: 21.1 years
female: 21.6 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.45% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
29.1 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
4.49 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.08 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 24.78 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 29.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 19.92 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.1 years
male: 72.56 years
female: 77.78 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.89 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.5% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
15,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
600 (2003 est.)
noun: Paraguayan(s)
adjective: Paraguayan
Ethnic groups:
mestizo (mixed Spanish and Amerindian) 95%, other 5%
Roman Catholic 90%, Mennonite and other Protestant 10%
Spanish (official), Guarani (official)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94%
male: 94.9%
female: 93% (2003 est.)
Government Paraguay
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Paraguay
conventional short form: Paraguay
local long form: Republica del Paraguay
local short form: Paraguay
Government type:
constitutional republic
name: Asuncion
geographic coordinates: 25 16 S, 57 40 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
17 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 1 capital city*; Alto Paraguay, Alto Parana, Amambay, Asuncion*, Boqueron, Caaguazu, Caazapa, Canindeyu, Central, Concepcion, Cordillera, Guaira, Itapua, Misiones, Neembucu, Paraguari, Presidente Hayes, San Pedro
14 May 1811 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 14 May 1811 (observed 15 May annually)
promulgated 20 June 1992
Legal system:
based on Argentine codes, Roman law, and French codes; judicial review of legislative acts in Supreme Court of Justice; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal and compulsory up to age 75
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Nicanor DUARTE FRUTOS (since 15 August 2003); Vice President Luis CASTIGLIONI Joria (since 15 August 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Nicanor DUARTE FRUTOS (since 15 August 2003); Vice President Luis CASTIGLIONI Joria (since 15 August 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a single five-year term; election last held 27 April 2003 (next to be held April 2008)
election results: Nicanor DUARTE FRUTOS elected president; percent of vote - Nicanor DUARTE FRUTOS 37.1%, Julio Cesar Ramon FRANCO Gomez 23.9%, Pedro Nicolas Maraa FADUL Niella 21.3%, Guillermo SANCHEZ Guffanti 13.5%, other 4.2%
Legislative branch:
bicameral Congress or Congreso consists of the Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (45 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (80 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Senators - last held 27 April 2003 (next to be held April 2008); Chamber of Deputies - last held 27 April 2003 (next to be held April 2008)
election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ANR 16, PLRA 12, UNACE 7, PQ 7, PPS 2, PEN 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - ANR 37, PLRA 21, UNACE 10, PQ 10, PPS 2
note: as of January 2006, changes in party affiliation has led to the composition of the legislature as follows: Chamber of Senators - seats by party - ANR 18, PLRA 12, UNACE 5, PQ 7, PPS 2, PEN 1; Chamber of Deputies - seats by party - ANR 39, PLRA 21, UNACE 8, PQ 10, PPS 2
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (judges appointed on the proposal of the Council of Magistrates or Consejo de la Magistratura)
Political parties and leaders:
Asociacion Nacional Republicana - Colorado Party or ANR [Jose A. ALDERETE, interim president]; Movimiento Union Nacional de Ciudadanos Eticos or UNACE [Enrique GONZALEZ Quintana, acting chairman]; Patria Querida (Beloved Fatherland Party) or PQ [Pedro Nicolas Maraa FADUL Niella]; Partido Encuentro Nacional or PEN [Luis TORALES Kennedy]; Partido Liberal Radical Autentico or PLRA [Blas LLANO]; Partido Pais Solidario or PPS [Carlos Alberto FILIZZOLA Pallares]
note: Nicanor DUARTE FRUTOS on leave as party leader of the Colorado Party or ANR while serving as President of Paraguay; Lino Cesar OVIEDO Silva, leader of UNACE, is currently serving a ten-year prison term
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Ahorristas Estafados or AE; National Coordinating Board of Campesino Organizations or MCNOC [Luis AGUAYO]; National Federation of Campesinos or FNC [Odilon ESPINOLA]; National Workers Central or CNT [Secretary General Juan TORRALES]; Paraguayan Workers Confederation or CPT; Roman Catholic Church; Unitary Workers Central or CUT [Jorge Guzman ALVARENGA Malgarejo]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James SPALDING Hellmers
chancery: 2400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-6960 through 6962
FAX: [1] (202) 234-4508
consulate(s) general: Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Ambassador James C. CASON
embassy: 1776 Avenida Mariscal Lopez, Casilla Postal 402, Asuncion
mailing address: Unit 4711, APO AA 34036-0001
telephone: [595] (21) 213-715
FAX: [595] (21) 213-728
Flag description:
three equal, horizontal bands of red (top), white, and blue with an emblem centered in the white band; unusual flag in that the emblem is different on each side; the obverse (hoist side at the left) bears the national coat of arms (a yellow five-pointed star within a green wreath capped by the words REPUBLICA DEL PARAGUAY, all within two circles); the reverse (hoist side at the right) bears the seal of the treasury (a yellow lion below a red Cap of Liberty and the words Paz y Justicia (Peace and Justice) capped by the words REPUBLICA DEL PARAGUAY, all within two circles)
Economy Paraguay
Economy - overview:
Landlocked Paraguay has a market economy marked by a large informal sector. This sector features both reexport of imported consumer goods to neighboring countries, as well as the activities of thousands of microenterprises and urban street vendors. Because of the importance of the informal sector, accurate economic measures are difficult to obtain. A large percentage of the population derives its living from agricultural activity, often on a subsistence basis. The formal economy grew by an average of about 3% annually in 1995-97, but averaged near-zero growth in 1998-2001 and contracted by 2.3 percent in 2002, in response to regional contagion and an outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease. On a per capita basis, real income has stagnated at 1980 levels. Most observers attribute Paraguay's poor economic performance to political uncertainty, corruption, lack of progress on structural reform, substantial internal and external debt, and deficient infrastructure. Aided by a firmer exchange rate and perhaps a greater confidence in the economic policy of the DUARTE FRUTOS administration, the economy rebounded between 2003 and 2006, posting modest growth each year.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$30.64 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$7.696 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3.2% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$4,700 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 22.4%
industry: 18.4%
services: 59.2% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
2.742 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 45%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate:
9.4% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:
32% (2005 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 0.5%
highest 10%: 43.8% (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
56.8 (1999)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
9% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
19.3% of GDP (2006 est.)
revenues: $1.773 billion
expenditures: $1.733 billion; including capital expenditures of $700 million (2006 est.)
Public debt:
30.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
cotton, sugarcane, soybeans, corn, wheat, tobacco, cassava (tapioca), fruits, vegetables; beef, pork, eggs, milk; timber
sugar, cement, textiles, beverages, wood products, steel, metallurgic, electric power
Industrial production growth rate:
0% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production:
51.77 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 0%
hydro: 99.9%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0.1% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
3.133 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
45.01 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
27,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day (2001)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance:
$-300 million (2006 est.)
$1.69 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
soybeans, feed, cotton, meat, edible oils, electricity, wood, leather
Exports - partners:
Uruguay 28.4%, Brazil 19.3%, Argentina 6.4%, Russia 6%, China 4.1% (2005)
$4.5 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
road vehicles, consumer goods, tobacco, petroleum products, electrical machinery
Imports - partners:
Brazil 27.2%, China 20.5%, Argentina 19.7%, US 5.3%, Switzerland 4.2% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$1.543 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
$3.722 billion (2006 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Currency (code):
guarani (PYG)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
guarani per US dollar - 5,680.71 (2006), 6,178 (2005), 5,974.6 (2004), 6,424.3 (2003), 5,716.3 (2002)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Paraguay
Telephones - main lines in use:
320,300 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1.887 million (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: meager telephone service; principal switching center is in Asuncion
domestic: fair microwave radio relay network
international: country code - 595; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 46, FM 27, shortwave 6 (three inactive) (1998)
925,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
5 (2003)
990,000 (2001)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
13,178 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
4 (2000)
Internet users:
200,000 (2005)
Transportation Paraguay
881 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 12
over 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 869
1,524 to 2,437 m: 26
914 to 1,523 m: 325
under 914 m: 518 (2006)
total: 36 km
standard gauge: 36 km 1.435-m gauge (2005)
total: 29,500 km
paved: 14,986 km
unpaved: 14,514 km (1999)
3,100 km (2005)
Merchant marine:
total: 21 ships (1000 GRT or over) 34,749 GRT/39,280 DWT
by type: cargo 15, livestock carrier 1, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 3 (Argentina 3)
registered in other countries: 1 (Ecuador 1) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Asuncion, Villeta, San Antonio, Encarnacion
Military Paraguay
Military branches:
Army, National Navy (Armada Nacional, includes Naval Aviation, Marine Corps, General Naval Prefecture), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Paraguay, FAP) (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months for Army, 24 months for Navy (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 1,345,022
females age 18-49: 1,342,725 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 1,109,166
females age 18-49: 1,135,046 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 63,058
females age 18-49: 62,217 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$53.1 million (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
0.9% (2003 est.)
Transnational Issues Paraguay
Disputes - international:
unruly region at convergence of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay borders is locus of money laundering, smuggling, arms and illegal narcotics trafficking, and fundraising for extremist organizations
Illicit drugs:
major illicit producer of cannabis, most or all of which is consumed in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile; transshipment country for Andean cocaine headed for Brazil, other Southern Cone markets, and Europe; corruption and some money-laundering activity, especially in the Tri-Border Area; weak anti-money-laundering laws and enforcement

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007