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South America :: Paraguay
page last updated on May 7, 2013
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Paraguay
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Introduction ::Paraguay
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Paraguay achieved its independence from Spain in 1811. In the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance (1865-70) - between Paraguay and Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay - Paraguay lost two-thirds of all its adult males and much of its territory. The country stagnated economically for the next half century. Following the Chaco War of 1932-35 with Bolivia, Paraguay gained a large part of the Chaco lowland region. The 35-year military dictatorship of Alfredo STROESSNER ended in 1989, and, despite a marked increase in political infighting in recent years, Paraguay has held relatively free and regular presidential elections since the country's return to democracy.
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Geography ::Paraguay
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Central South America, northeast of Argentina, southwest of Brazil
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23 00 S, 58 00 W
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total: 406,752 sq km
country comparison to the world: 60
land: 397,302 sq km
water: 9,450 sq km
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slightly smaller than California
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total: 3,995 km
border countries: Argentina 1,880 km, Bolivia 750 km, Brazil 1,365 km
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0 km (landlocked)
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none (landlocked)
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subtropical to temperate; substantial rainfall in the eastern portions, becoming semiarid in the far west
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grassy plains and wooded hills east of Rio Paraguay; Gran Chaco region west of Rio Paraguay mostly low, marshy plain near the river, and dry forest and thorny scrub elsewhere
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lowest point: junction of Rio Paraguay and Rio Parana 46 m
highest point: Cerro Pero 842 m
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hydropower, timber, iron ore, manganese, limestone
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arable land: 9.59%
permanent crops: 0.22%
other: 90.19% (2011)
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670 sq km (2003)
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336 cu km (2011)
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total: 0.49 cu km/yr (20%/8%/71%)
per capita: 88.05 cu m/yr (2000)
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local flooding in southeast (early September to June); poorly drained plains may become boggy (early October to June)
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deforestation; water pollution; inadequate means for waste disposal pose health risks for many urban residents; loss of wetlands
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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landlocked; lies between Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil; population concentrated in southern part of country
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People and Society ::Paraguay
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noun: Paraguayan(s)
adjective: Paraguayan
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mestizo (mixed Spanish and Amerindian) 95%, other 5%
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Spanish (official), Guarani (official)
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Roman Catholic 89.6%, Protestant 6.2%, other Christian 1.1%, other or unspecified 1.9%, none 1.1% (2002 census)
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Paraguay falls below the Latin American average in several socioeconomic categories, including immunization rates, potable water, sanitation, and secondary school enrollment, and has greater rates of income inequality and child and maternal mortality. Paraguay's poverty rate has declined in recent years but remains high, especially in rural areas, with more than a third of the population below the poverty line. However, the well-being of the poor in many regions has improved in terms of housing quality and access to clean water, telephone service, and electricity. The fertility rate continues to drop, declining sharply from an average 4.3 births per woman in the late 1990s to about 2 in 2013, as a result of the greater educational attainment of women, increased use of contraception, and a desire for smaller families among young women.
Paraguay is a country of emigration; it has not attracted large numbers of immigrants because of political instability, civil wars, years of dictatorship, and the greater appeal of neighboring countries. Paraguay first tried to encourage immigration in 1870 in order to rebound from the heavy death toll it suffered during the War of the Triple Alliance, but it received few European and Middle Eastern immigrants. In the 20th century, limited numbers of immigrants arrived from Lebanon, Japan, South Korea, and China, as well as Mennonites from Canada, Russia, and Mexico. Large flows of Brazilian immigrants have been arriving since the 1960s, mainly to work in agriculture. Paraguayans continue to emigrate to Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, the United States, Italy, Spain, and France.
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6,623,252 (July 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
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0-14 years: 26.8% (male 903,578/female 873,079)
15-24 years: 20.8% (male 692,006/female 684,297)
25-54 years: 39% (male 1,294,037/female 1,290,376)
55-64 years: 6.9% (male 234,803/female 224,862)
65 years and over: 6.4% (male 198,529/female 227,685) (2013 est.)
population pyramid:
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total: 26.3 years
male: 26.1 years
female: 26.5 years (2013 est.)
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1.23% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
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16.95 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
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4.61 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198
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-0.08 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
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urban population: 61% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 2.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
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ASUNCION (capital) 1.977 million (2009)
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at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
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99 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
country comparison to the world: 74
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total: 21.48 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 86
male: 25.21 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 17.57 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
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total population: 76.6 years
country comparison to the world: 74
male: 73.97 years
female: 79.35 years (2013 est.)
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2.01 children born/woman (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129
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5.9% of GDP (2010)
country comparison to the world: 114
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1.11 physicians/1,000 population (2002)
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1.3 beds/1,000 population (2010)
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improved:
urban: 99% of population
rural: 66% of population
total: 86% of population
unimproved:
urban: 1% of population
rural: 34% of population
total: 14% of population (2010 est.)
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improved:
urban: 90% of population
rural: 40% of population
total: 71% of population
unimproved:
urban: 10% of population
rural: 60% of population
total: 29% of population (2010 est.)
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0.3% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
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13,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
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fewer than 500 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
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degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: dengue fever and malaria (2009)
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17.9% (2008)
country comparison to the world: 110
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3.4% (2005)
country comparison to the world: 102
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4.1% of GDP (2010)
country comparison to the world: 108
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94%
male: 94.9%
female: 93% (2003 est.)
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total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2007)
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total: 17.8%
country comparison to the world: 71
male: 9.7%
female: 13% (2011)
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Government ::Paraguay
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conventional long form: Republic of Paraguay
conventional short form: Paraguay
local long form: Republica del Paraguay
local short form: Paraguay
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constitutional republic
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name: Asuncion
geographic coordinates: 25 16 S, 57 40 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Sunday in October; ends fourth Sunday in March
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17 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 1 capital city*; Alto Paraguay, Alto Parana, Amambay, Asuncion*, Boqueron, Caaguazu, Caazapa, Canindeyu, Central, Concepcion, Cordillera, Guaira, Itapua, Misiones, Neembucu, Paraguari, Presidente Hayes, San Pedro
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14 May 1811 (from Spain)
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Independence Day, 14 May 1811 (observed 15 May)
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promulgated 20 June 1992
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civil law system with influences from Argentine, Spanish, Roman, and French civil law models; judicial review of legislative acts in Supreme Court of Justice
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accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
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18 years of age; universal and compulsory until the age of 75
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chief of state: President Luis Federico FRANCO Gomez (since 22 June 2012); Vice President Amancio Oscar DENIS Sanchez (since 28 June 2012); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; President FRANCO assumed office following the impeachment of former President Fernando Armindo LUGO Mendez
head of government: President Luis Federico FRANCO Gomez (since 22 June 2012); Vice President Amancio Oscar DENIS Sanchez (since 28 June 2012)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a single five-year term; election last held on 21 April 2013 (next to be held in April 2018)
election results: Horacio CARTES elected president; percent of vote - Horacio CARTES 45.8%, Efrain ALEGRE 36.94%, Mario FERREIRO 5.88%, Anibal CARRILLO 3.32%, other 8.06%; note - official results pending; Horacio CARTES is expected to take office 15 August 2013
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bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (45 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (80 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Senators - last held on 21 April 2013 (next to be held in April 2018); Chamber of Deputies - last held on 21 April 2013 (next to be held in April 2018)
election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ANR 19, PLRA 12, FG 5, PDP 3, Avanza Pais 2, UNACE 2, PEN 1, PPQ 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ANR 44, PLRA 27, Avanza Pais 2, PEN 2, UNACE 2, FG 1, PPQ 1, other 1
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Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (nine judges proposed by the Council of Magistrates or Consejo de la Magistratura, and approved by the Senate and president)
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Alianza Patriotica por el Cambio (Patriotic Alliance for Change) or APC; Asociacion Nacional Republicana - Colorado Party or ANR [Lilian SAMANIEGO]; Avanza Pais coalition [Mario FERREIRO]; Broad Front coalition (Frente Guazu) or FG [Fernando Armindo LUGO Mendez]; Movimiento Popolar Tekojoja or Tekojoja [Sixto PEREIRA]; Movimiento Union Nacional de Ciudadanos Eticos or UNACE; Patria Querida (Beloved Fatherland Party) or PPQ [Sebastian ACHA]; Partido del Movimiento al Socialismo or P-MAS [Camilo Ernesto SOARES Machado]; Partido Democratica Progresista or PDP [Rafael Augusto FILIZZOLA Serra]; Partido Encuentro Nacional or PEN [Fernando CAMACHO Paredes]; Partido Liberal Radical Autentico or PLRA [Blas Antonio LLANO Ramos]; Partido Pais Solidario or PPS [Carlos Alberto FILIZZOLA Pallares]
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Ahorristas Estafados or AE; National Coordinating Board of Campesino Organizations or MCNOC [Luis AGUAYO]; National Federation of Campesinos or FNC [Odilon ESPINOLA]; National Workers Central or CNT [Secretary General Juan TORRALES]; Paraguayan Workers Confederation or CPT; Roman Catholic Church; Unitary Workers Central or CUT [Jorge Guzman ALVARENGA Malgarejo]
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CAN (associate), CD, CELAC, FAO, G-11, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (suspended), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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chief of mission: Ambassador Fernando Antonio PFANNL Caballero
chancery: 2400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-6960 through 6962
FAX: [1] (202) 234-4508
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, Miami, New York
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Ambassador James H. THESSIN
embassy: 1776 Avenida Mariscal Lopez, Casilla Postal 402, Asuncion
mailing address: Unit 4711, DPO AA 34036-0001
telephone: [595] (21) 213-715
FAX: [595] (21) 213-728
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three equal, horizontal bands of red (top), white, and blue with an emblem centered in the white band; unusual flag in that the emblem is different on each side; the obverse (hoist side at the left) bears the national coat of arms (a yellow five-pointed star within a green wreath capped by the words REPUBLICA DEL PARAGUAY, all within two circles); the reverse (hoist side at the right) bears a circular seal of the treasury (a yellow lion below a red Cap of Liberty and the words PAZ Y JUSTICIA (Peace and Justice)); red symbolizes bravery and patriotism, white represents integrity and peace, and blue denotes liberty and generosity
note: the three color bands resemble those on the flag of the Netherlands; one of only three national flags that differ on their obverse and reverse sides - the others are Moldova and Saudi Arabia
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lion
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name: "Paraguayos, Republica o muerte!" (Paraguayans, The Republic or Death!)

lyrics/music: Francisco Esteban ACUNA de Figueroa/disputed
note: adopted 1934, in use since 1846; the anthem was officially adopted following its re-arrangement in 1934
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Economy ::Paraguay
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Landlocked Paraguay has a market economy distinguished by a large informal sector, featuring re-export of imported consumer goods to neighboring countries, as well as the activities of thousands of microenterprises and urban street vendors. A large percentage of the population, especially in rural areas, derives its living from agricultural activity, often on a subsistence basis. Because of the importance of the informal sector, accurate economic measures are difficult to obtain. On a per capita basis, real income has stagnated at 1980 levels. The economy grew rapidly between 2003 and 2008 as growing world demand for commodities combined with high prices and favorable weather to support Paraguay's commodity-based export expansion. Paraguay is the sixth largest soy producer in the world. Drought hit in 2008, reducing agricultural exports and slowing the economy even before the onset of the global recession. The economy fell 3.8% in 2009, as lower world demand and commodity prices caused exports to contract. The government reacted by introducing fiscal and monetary stimulus packages. Growth resumed at a 13% level in 2010, the highest in South America, but slowed to about 4% in 2011 as the stimulus subsided. In 2012, severe drought and outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease led to a drop in beef and other agricultural exports and the economy contracted about 0.5%. Political uncertainty, corruption, limited progress on structural reform, and deficient infrastructure are the main obstacles to long-term growth.
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$41.1 billion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
$41.3 billion (2011 est.)
$39.59 billion (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2012 US dollars
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$26.09 billion (2012 est.)
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-0.5% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
4.3% (2011 est.)
13.1% (2010 est.)
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$6,100 (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
$6,300 (2011 est.)
$6,200 (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2012 US dollars
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agriculture: 19.8%
industry: 19.4%
services: 60.8% (2012 est.)
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3.137 million (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
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agriculture: 26.5%
industry: 18.5%
services: 55% (2008)
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6.9% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75
6.6% (2011 est.)
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34.7% (2010 est.)
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lowest 10%: 1%
highest 10%: 41.1% (2010 est.)
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53.2 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 13
57.7 (1998)
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17.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
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revenues: $4.687 billion
expenditures: $5.122 billion (2012 est.)
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18% of GDP (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176
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-1.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76
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14.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
13.8% of GDP (2011 est.)
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4.6% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
8.3% (2011 est.)
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5.5% (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 57
6% (31 December 2011 est.)
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26.5% (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
28% (31 December 2011 est.)
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$3.666 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
$3.6 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
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$10.11 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
$8.452 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
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$9.149 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
$7.695 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
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$958.1 million (31 December 2011)
country comparison to the world: 116
$42 million (31 December 2010)
$409.1 million (31 December 2006)
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cotton, sugarcane, soybeans, corn, wheat, tobacco, cassava (tapioca), fruits, vegetables; beef, pork, eggs, milk; timber
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sugar, cement, textiles, beverages, wood products, steel, metallurgic, electric power
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6.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47
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$-1.17 billion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
$-549.9 million (2011 est.)
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$4.7 billion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
$5.52 billion (2011 est.)
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soybeans, feed, cotton, meat, edible oils, wood, leather
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Uruguay 15%, Brazil 11.4%, Argentina 10.2%, Chile 8.3%, Russia 6.6%, Netherlands 5.4%, Germany 4.3% (2011)
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$9.7 billion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
$11.5 billion (2011 est.)
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road vehicles, consumer goods, tobacco, petroleum products, electrical machinery, tractors, chemicals, vehicle parts
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Brazil 27.5%, China 16.9%, US 15%, Argentina 14.8%, Chile 4.4% (2011)
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$4.92 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
$4.984 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
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$2.245 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139
$2.222 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
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$4.425 million (31 December 2012)
country comparison to the world: 101
$3.86 million (31 December 2011)
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$NA
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guarani (PYG) per US dollar -
4,449.6 (2012 est.)
4,176.1 (2011 est.)
4,735.5 (2010 est.)
4,965.4 (2009)
4,337.7 (2008)
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calendar year
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Energy ::Paraguay
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54.41 billion kWh (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
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6.237 billion kWh (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
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43.38 billion kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
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0 kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
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8.816 million kW (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60
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0.1% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 208
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0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158
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99.9% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
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0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
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0 bbl/day (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
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0.01 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
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0 bbl (1 January 2013 es)
country comparison to the world: 176
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0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187
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26,820 bbl/day (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 211
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23,810 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 179
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
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0 cu m (1 January 2012 es)
country comparison to the world: 182
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4.394 million Mt (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128
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Communications ::Paraguay
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372,400 (2011)
country comparison to the world: 108
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6.529 million (2011)
country comparison to the world: 96
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general assessment: the fixed-line market is a state monopoly and fixed-line telephone service is meager; principal switching center is in Asuncion
domestic: deficiencies in provision of fixed-line service have resulted in a rapid expansion of mobile-cellular services fostered by competition among multiple providers
international: country code - 595; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2010)
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6 privately owned TV stations; about 75 commercial and community radio stations; 1 state-owned radio network (2010)
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.py
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280,658 (2012)
country comparison to the world: 65
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1.105 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 94
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Transportation ::Paraguay
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800 (2012)
country comparison to the world: 9
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total: 15
over 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 5 (2012)
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total: 785
1,524 to 2,437 m: 23
914 to 1,523 m: 289
under 914 m: 473 (2012)
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total: 36 km
country comparison to the world: 132
standard gauge: 36 km 1.435-m gauge (2008)
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total: 29,500 km
country comparison to the world: 97
paved: 14,986 km
unpaved: 14,514 km (2000)
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3,100 km (primarily on the Paraguay and Paraná river systems) (2012)
country comparison to the world: 33
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total: 19
country comparison to the world: 96
by type: cargo 13, container 3, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 6 (Argentina 5, Netherlands 1) (2010)
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Asuncion, Villeta, San Antonio, Encarnacion
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Military ::Paraguay
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Armed Forces Command (Commando de las Fuerzas Militares): Army, National Navy (Armada Nacional, includes Marine Corps, Naval Aviation, and Coast Guard), Paraguayan Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Paraguay, FAP), Logistics Command, War Materiel Directorate (2012)
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18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months for Army, 24 months for Navy; volunteers for the Air Force must be younger than 22 years of age with a secondary school diploma (2010)
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males age 16-49: 1,678,335
females age 16-49: 1,675,352 (2010 est.)
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males age 16-49: 1,409,859
females age 16-49: 1,433,037 (2010 est.)
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male: 73,367
female: 71,801 (2010 est.)
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1.5% of GDP (2012)
country comparison to the world: 102
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Transnational Issues ::Paraguay
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unruly region at convergence of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay borders is locus of money laundering, smuggling, arms and illegal narcotics trafficking, and fundraising for extremist organizations
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major illicit producer of cannabis, most or all of which is consumed in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile; transshipment country for Andean cocaine headed for Brazil, other Southern Cone markets, and Europe; weak border controls, extensive corruption and money-laundering activity, especially in the Tri-Border Area; weak anti-money-laundering laws and enforcement
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  The online Factbook is updated weekly. ISSN 1553-8133
For additional information on government leaders in selected foreign countries, go to World Leaders.