President: Juan Evo Morales Ayma
Main Languages: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara, Guarani
Capital: Sucre (official), La Paz (administrative)
Major Religions: Christianity, Catholicism
Bordered by: Argentina, Chile, Peru, Brazil, and Paraguay
Compared with Australia…
|Life expectancy at Birth||81.1||66.6|
|Under 5 Mortality Rate**||5||54.2|
|GDP^ Per Capita||$34,431||$4, 054|
*Human Development Index 2011UNDP, rank out of 187 countries
**Per 1,000 live births
^Gross Domestic Product
Landlocked Bolivia is an incredibly diverse country, home to the Andes Mountains, Amazonian rainforests, Lake Titicaca, and the worlds largest salt flats. It also has the largest indigenous population of any country in South America, making up two-thirds of its population of over 9 million, resulting in a culture rich with traditions and customs still very much alive today.
Bolivia is also the poorest large country in South America, and poorer than the average for developing countries as a whole, with a Human Development Index (HDI) of 108. It has faced high levels of persistent poverty and inequality. An estimated 65 percent of the Bolivian population are poor (with incomes insufficient to cover the basic food and non food expenditures), while 41 percent live in extreme poverty (incomes too low to afford the food basket minimum caloric intake). (World Bank 2005) Bolivia is also among the most unequal countries in the most unequal region in the world, with most of the population living on very low incomes and a small elite controlling much of the country’s wealth.
One third of Bolivian children suffer some form of stunting as a consequence of malnutrition. A big percentage of the population also lack access to clean drinking water, which leaves children susceptible to dangerous waterborne diseases. Mortality, illiteracy and poverty rates continue to remain unnecessarily high in rural, indigenous communities, where only half of children complete primary school.