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Extensive Atlantic coastal plains rising to central interior mountains; narrow Pacific coastal plain interrupted by volcanoes


Tropical in lowlands; cooler in highlands


Nationality: Nicaraguan(s)
Population: 5,848,641 (July 2014 est.) 
Languages: Spanish (official) 95.3%, Miskito 2.2%, Mestizo of the Caribbean coast 2%, other 0.5%


Roman Catholic 58.5%, Protestant 23.2% (Evangelical 21.6%, Moravian 1.6%), Jehovah’s Witnesses 0.9%, other 1.6%, none 15.7% (2005 est.) 


Nicaragua, the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest in the Western Hemisphere, has widespread underemployment and poverty. The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) has been in effect since April 2006 and has expanded export opportunities for many agricultural and manufactured goods. Textiles and agriculture combined account for nearly 50% of Nicaragua's exports. In 2013, the government granted a 100-year concession to a newly forme

Living Conditions

The civil war of the 1980s left Nicaragua struggling to keep its economy going. In the mid-1990s, 75% of Nicaraguans were living below the poverty line. Health care declined after the Sandinistas lost power in 1989. Most people suffer from malnutrition and do not have access to adequate health care. Most are also poorly sheltered. In rural areas, the most basic dwelling is a dirt-floor straw or palm-frond hut supported by poles and sticks. Its counterpart in towns and cities is a low adobe struc



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