Costa Rica Lows Fertility Rate and Its Population Is Aging More since 2000

    Cartago and Heredia do not even reach a 1% population increase; population under 15 years old decreased by 15.8% between 1984 and 2022

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    The National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC) presented the results of the 2022 Population and Housing Estimate. In summary, the INEC ensures that Costa Rica had a population of 5,044,197 inhabitants by 2022, 1.4% more than in 2021. 50.2% are women (2,532,353) and 49.8% are men (2,511,844). that is, 99 men for every 100 women.

    10.1% of the population is older than 65 years, while in 2000 it was 5.6%. While the population under 15 years of age has decreased in its relative weight, going from 31.9% in 2000 to 20.8% in 2022. According to the INEC, San José continues to be the most populous province in the country with 1,601,167 inhabitants; Alajuela follows with 1,035,466; Carthage with 545,092; Puntarenas with 500,166, Heredia with 479,117; Limón with 470,383, and Guanacaste with 412,808.

    The only province that would be having a population replacement could be Guanacaste. This since it was the only one that exceeded 2%. Although it is the province with the least population, it achieved an annual rate of 2.12%. At the other extreme are Heredia and Cartago, which present the lowest growth with 0.91% annual Heredia, and 0.95% Cartago.

    The most populated cantons

    The 5 most populous cantons in the country concentrate 25% of the population of Costa Rica:

    • San José with 352,381 inhabitants (7.0%)

    • Alajuela with 322,143 (6.4%)

    • Homeless with 223,226 (4.4%)

    • San Carlos with 198,742 (3.9%)

    • Cartago with 165,417 (3.3%)

    The least populated cantons

    • Turrubareswith 6,173 people
    • San Mateo with 6,952
    • Hojanchawith 8,224
    • Equipwith 9,364
    • Nandayurewith 11,874


    In 2011, for every square kilometer in Costa Rica, there were 84 inhabitants, while by 2022 there are 99. Tibás is the one with the highest density of people per square kilometer with 9,020, followed by the canton of San José with 7,897 and Curridabat with 4,423.

    At the other extreme, there are 11 cantons with less than 30 people per square kilometer: in Turrubares it is estimated that there are 15 people per square kilometer, in Talamanca 18 and in Bagaces, Osa and Bagaces 19.

    Fewpeople per house

    According to the INEC, the number of homes has grown more than the population. Today, there is an average of 3.1 inhabitants per home, while in 2011 it was 3.5 and in 2000 it was 4.1.

    100% of population was not reached in the census

    The census was carried out from June 8th to September 30th, 2022, by visiting 1,550,258 homes with 1,074,002 registered people. 136,492 people refused the interview and more than 200,000 homes were not visited. The population estimates were obtained with a census that reached 61% of the population that was planned to be interviewed.
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