Fast Facts

Montevideo; 1,341,000
176,215 square kilometers (68,037 square miles)
Spanish, Portunol, Brazilero
Roman Catholic
Uruguayan peso
Life Expectancy:
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $7,900
Literacy Percent:
Flag: Uruguay
Map: Uruguay

Situated in southeastern South America, Uruguay consists mostly of low, rolling grasslands. Ranchers raise cattle and sheep on the well-watered pastures. It has one of the highest urbanization and literacy rates in South America as well as the lowest poverty and population growth rates. About 93 percent of Uruguayans—most of Spanish or Italian descent—live in cities, with Montevideo home to one-third. Education is compulsory and free, but many Uruguayans emigrate to places like Spain for better job opportunities. Uruguay's economy remains dependent on agriculture. Economic diversification, including development of hydroelectric power, has spread optimism; tourists flock to Atlantic beach resorts like Punta del Este.


  • Industry: Food processing, electrical machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products
  • Agriculture: Rice, wheat, corn, barley; livestock; fish
  • Exports: Meat, rice, leather products, wool, vehicles

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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