Uruguay Population 2020
Uruguay sits in the southeastern area of South America and is the second-smallest country on the continent after Suriname. Until the late 17th century, the majority of the country was uninhabited until the establishment of a Portuguese settlement. The estimated 2020 population of Uruguay is 3.47 million, up from 3,320,000 in 2013. This ranks 134th in the world.
Uruguay Area and Population Density
Located in southeast South America along the Atlantic coast, the country of Uruguay had a population of 3.48 million as of 2019. The country is bordered by Argentina and Brazil and is the second-smallest nation in South America, covering 68,037 square miles (176,220 square kilometers) of area, making it the 91st largest country in the world. Most of the country's landscape is rolling plains and low hills, and there are 410 miles of beautiful coastline. In total, there are roughly 51 people per square mile (20 people per square kilometer) in Uruguay, which ranks 168th in the world in terms of population density.
Largest Cities in Uruguay
An impressive 95% of the population in Uruguay live in or around urban areas, and most of these people live in the capital city of Montevideo. Located on the southeast coast, it is the furthest city south in the Americas and nearly half of the nation's population live in the city alone with a population of 1.3 million. The quality of life is very high there and is a vibrant cultural center of the area. No other cities come close to Montevideo's population. The second-largest city is Salto with a population of 104,011. Other notable cities with populations slightly under 100,000 include Ciudad de la Costa, Paysandú and Las Piedras.
The majority of the population -- an estimated 88% -- is of European descent. A 2008 survey requesting self-reporting of predominant ancestry found 95% chose European, 3.4% black/African, 1.1% indigenous and 0.1% Asian. A second study conducted the same year found 10% report some amount of Black or African ancestry, 5.5% are partially indigenous and 0.3% are partial Asian.
There are few direct descendants of the indigenous peoples left in the country, and most Uruguayans are of European origin descended from 19th and 20th century immigrants from Italy and Spain. Uruguay has one of the slowest growth rates in Latin America, in part due to its high median age, low birth rate and high emigration rate. Metro Montevideo is the only large city in the country with more than half the country's population, with the remaining urban people living in around 30 small towns.
Uruguay Religion, Economy and Politics
Church and state are officially separated in Uruguay, and a significant 48% of its population are irreligious. Christianity is the most widely proclaimed faith, but even those that identify as Christian often are not active practitioners. Within the Christian community, 37.4% of the overall population are Catholic and 9.9% are Protestant, and the Protestants tend to be more active participants. The remaining population has small numbers that practice Umbanda or Judaism.
The economy is heavily export-oriented, particularly with beef and wool, with beef becoming the increasingly dominant industry in recent years. Plastics are another significant export coming out of the country and have made up a significant portion of their GDP. Travel and tourism is the third-largest industry in the country, making up roughly 10% of the GDP. Uruguay experienced an economic downturn in the early 2000s stemming largely from economic problems in bordering countries of Argentina and Brazil.
Uruguay Population History
Spanish explorer Juan Diaz de Solis came to the land that is now Uruguay and was killed by indigenous people, and no other countries attempted to come back until the Spanish came back and conquered the area in 1726 nearly 200 years later. Uruguay rebelled against the Spanish in 1808 after the Spanish monarchy was overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte, and soon after fought against Argentinians and Brazilians that invaded the area. Argentina and Brazil renounced claims over Uruguay in 1828 and they were finally able to form their constitution. Uruguay was neutral for the majority of both World Wars before joining the Allies at the end of World War II. The Uruguayan rugby team had a plane crash in 1972 which sixteen people famously survived by eating the flesh of those that died during the crash. Deteriorating economic conditions lead to fighting and government reform to the left in the latter portion of the 1900s.
Uruguay Population Growth
The population growth rate in Uruguay is below the worldwide average and is lower than many surrounding countries in Latin America. One reason for this is a low and stagnant birth rate of roughly 2 children born to the average woman. This in combination with a relatively high life expectancy of 70 years old for men and 76 years old for women, has created a disproportionately aging population that is more typical of a developed country than of one in Uruguay's economic condition. More people have been emigrating from the country than immigrating into it for several decades. All of these conditions have led to the low 2019 population growth rate 0f 0.36%.
Uruguay Population Projections
The conditions that have led to the low growth rate of today are not expected to improve in the years to come, and the population is expected to come to a standstill by 2050. It is likely that the net emigration will stay roughly the same and that the low birth rate and high life expectancy will be the strongest contributors to this. Current projections believe that the population of Uruguay will be roughly 3,494,387 in 2020, 3,594,299 in 2030, 3,650,962 in 2040, and 3,662,437 in 2050. After the year 2050, the population in Uruguay will likely begin to slowly decline.
Components of Population Change
|One birth every 11 minutes|
|One death every 16 minutes|
|One net migrant every 180 minutes|
|Net gain of one person every 45 minutes|