Costa Rican Health System Overview
Health System Rankings
Health System Outcomes
Coverage and Costs for Consumers
Health System Expenditures
Health System Financing
Health System Physical Resources and Utilization
People With Disabilities
Social Determinants & Health Equity
Health System History
Health System Challenges
Population (2021): 5,139,053
Gross National Income, Atlas method (Current US$) (Billions) (2021): $63.25
GNI per capita, Atlas method (Current USD) (2021): $12,310
Income Share Held by Lowest 20% (2020): 4.0%
Gross Domestic Product (Current US$) (Billions) (2021): $64.28
Source: World Bank. Country Profile: Costa Rica. World Development Indicators. Last accessed Nov. 12, 2022.
Gross Domestic Product Per Capita (Current USD) (2010-2019): $12,244
Share of Household Income (2010-2019):
Bottom 40%: 12.8%; Top 20%: 53.7%; Bottom 20%: 4.4%
Gini Coefficient (2010-2019): 49.5
Palma Index of Income Inequality (2010-2019): 3.1
Source: United Nations Children’s Fund, The State of the World’s Children 2021: On My Mind – Promoting, protecting and caring for children’s mental health, UNICEF, New York, October 2021.
“Costa Rica is a middle-ranking country in the UNDP’s Human Development Index.1 It scores 0.766, placing it 69th out of 188 countries and territories and above the average for countries in the Latin America region (UNDP, 2015). Gross domestic product in Costa Rica grew on average 4.5% per year between 2000 and 2013, compared to 3.8% on average among LAC countries. GDP per capita was estimated to be USD PPP 14 737 in 2015 (using current prices), below that of Mexico (USD PPP 18 077) and Turkey (USD PPP 19 916), but similar to Brazil (USD PPP 15 795) and China (USD PPP 13 884, data from OECD.Stat). Steady economic growth has allowed Costa Rica to have one of the lowest poverty rates in Latin America: 12% of the population lives on USD 4 per day (4.5% on USD 2.5), around one third of the LAC average. Total unemployment was 8.5% of the labour force in 2014, slightly higher than the OECD average of 7.3% in 2014. Unemployment rates have, however, increased from 6.6% in 2005, with joblessness particularly affecting younger generations, women, the poor and residents of rural areas (OECD, 2016a).
“Large socioeconomic inequalities persist, however, and are growing. Costa Rica’s Gini coefficient2 for income inequality now stands at 0.509 before taxes and transfers, and 0.487 after taxes and transfers (OECD, 2015a). On average across Latin America, income inequality was 9% lower in 2013 than in 2001, while in Costa Rica it was 9% higher (although baseline inequality in many Latin American countries was worse than in Costa Rica). Between 2010 and 2014, rising public sector salaries made the largest contribution to inequality – particularly salaries of qualified workers in public agencies outside central government, including the main provider of health services in Costa Rica, the CCSS.”
Source: OECD (2017), OECD Reviews of Health Systems: Costa Rica 2017, OECD Publishing, Paris. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264281653-en.
“The informal economy employs 45.3% of the workforce. In 2011, 69.5% of men and 34.9% of women were employed; in the indigenous population, this rate was 56.2% and 16.9%, respectively. In 2015, 10.1% of the workforce was unemployed. Women’s wages were, on average, 14% less than those paid to men with similar roles and responsibilities.
“The demographic bonus will last until 2045, but by 2035 the proportion of the population over age 65 will surpass that of children under 15.”
Source: Pan American Health Organization. Health in the Americas, 2017 Edition. Summary: Regional Outlook and Country Profiles. Washington, DC: PAHO; 2017.
Health Systems Facts is a project of the Real Reporting Foundation. We provide reliable statistics and other data from authoritative sources regarding health systems in the US and sixteen other nations.
Page last updated Nov. 12, 2022 by Doug McVay, Editor.