Panama: The Facts

The following facts illustrate important components of Panama — from its climate to its culture — and are intended to provide travelers with background information about this country.

The Basics

Location: Between 7° and 10° North Latitude and 77° and 83° West Longitude

Area: 75,520 km2 (29, 160 sq. mi)

Land Borders: Total 555 km (345 mi): 330 km (205 mi) with Costa Rica and 225 km (140 mi) with Colombia.

Total Coastline: 2,850 km (1,771 mi). The Caribbean coastline measures 1,160 km (721 mi), while the Pacific coastline measures 1,690 km (1,050 mi).

Capital City: Panama City

Provinces: Bocas del Toro, Chiriquí, Coclé, Colón, Darién, Herrera, Los Santos, Panamá, Veraguas

Comarcas: Emberá, Guna Yala, Ngöbe-Buglé

Highest Point: Volcán Barú at 3,475 meters (11,400 ft.).

Lowest Point: Sea level at 0 meters

Length of Panama Canal: 80 km (50 mi)

Temperature Range: 70-90°F (21-32°C) in lowlands, 50-66°F (10-19°C) in highlands.

Average Rainfall: 178-328 cm (70-129 in)

Average Humidity: 80%

Population: 3.5 million (2011)

Population Growth Rate: 1.41% (2012)

Population Density: 47.31 per sq. km (2012)

Ethnicities: 70% mestizo (Spanish and Native-American and African), 10% Africans/mulattoes, 10% Caucasian, 6% Native Americans.

Discover more about the country's diversity when you read this article about Panama's history.

Official Language: Spanish

Religion: Roman Catholic, Protestant

Dialing code: 507

Quality of Life

Life Expectancy: 77.96 years

Life Expectancy of Men: 75.18 years

Life Expectancy of Women: 80.86 years

Fertility Rate: 2.48 births per woman

Literacy: 93%

Poverty Rate: 29%

Sanitation Standards: 75% have access to basic sanitation and 97% have access to potable water. There are, however, large differences between urban and rural settings.

Learn more about Panama's quality of life in this article about the country's health and safety.

Telephone Access: 560,200 main lines in use, 6.735 million cell phones in use (2011).

Internet Access: 11,022 internet hosts (2012), 959,800 internet users (2009).

Airports: 118; 55 with paved runways and 63 with unpaved runways (2012).

Roadways: 11,978 km (7,442 mi) total; 4,300 km (2,672 mi) paved and 7,678 (4,771 mi) unpaved (2002).

Railways: 76 km (47 mi) total (2008)

Waterways: 800 km (497 mi) (2011)

Ports: Balboa, Colón, and Cristóbal

Government and Economy

Government Type: Constitutional Democracy, with a single-term, five year presidency.

Head of Government: President Ricardo Martinelli (elected July, 2009); vice president Juan Carlos Varela (elected July, 2009).

Legislative Branch: Unicameral National Assembly (71 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year term).

Independence Day: November 3, 1903 (from Colombia; and November 28, 1821 from Spain).

National Constitution: Signed October 11, 1972 (has been revised several times).

Suffrage: 18 years of age (is universal and compulsory).

National Symbol: Harpy Eagle

Currencies: US Dollar, Balboa

GDP per Capita: U.S. $6,200

Industry: Food processing, textiles, chemicals, machinery and metal products.

Exports: Coffee, cotton, bananas, tobacco, shrimp, lobster.

Agriculture: Coffee, sugarcane, bananas, cotton, beef, veal.

Learn more about Panamanian daily life in "The People and Culture of Panama."