Economic Indexes

Bolivia is the poorest country in South America.

  • Population: 8,500,000 inhabitants
  • 70% of the population lives below the poverty line
  • Annual demographic growth: 2 %
  • Infant mortality: 62 per 1000
  • Life expectancy: 63.7 years (males: 59, females: 65)
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP): $2500 per inhabitant (10x less than United Kindom)
  • Human Development Index (HDI): the country is ranked 111st in the world (of 177 countries)
  • Minimum monthly salary: 400 Bs (around $50)
  • Unemployment: 11.5%
  • Inflation: 4.5%

The Human Development Index measures the development level of a country based on three parameters: education, life expectancy and gross domestic product (GDP). If you want to know the world rank of your country, consult the 2008 report) published by UNDP (United Nations Development Programme).


Natural and Industrial Resources

The country does not have any maritime access, the road network is poorly developed, raw materials are abundant but there are few modern industries to transform these resources into cash for the country.

Economic resources Mine, oil, gas, electricity (thermal and hydroelectric power plants), hand craft, textile, tourism
Agriculture resources Soya, coffee, coca, cotton, corn, quinoa, sugar cane, rice, potato, wood, tobacco
Mineral resources Tin (5th largest producer in the world), silver (9th largest producer in the world), zinc, antimony, copper, gold and gems
Breeding Sheep, cattle, llamas, chickens

  • Oil and Gas

    Oil and natural gas represent a significant source of income for Bolivia (approximately 30% of the public revenue of. the country). The current production levels largely satisfy the energy needs of the country, and a large part is exported to the bordering countries (oil and gas account for 25% of all Bolivian exports). Gas and oil reservoirs are located in the lowlands of East Bolivia (around Santa Cruz and Yacuiba). They are conveyed by oil pipelines to the Pacific harbor of Arica in Chile, and by gas pipelines to Argentina and Brazil. The oil production reached its maximum in the 1970s before declining strongly and no new reserves have been discovered recently to boost production levels.

  • Mines

    Mines are mostly distributed across the Bolivian altiplano. The silver mines of Potosi and Oruro contributed to the growth and wealth of Spain from the XVIth to XVIIIth centuries. Then tin mines took over in the XIXth century. Bolivia was the leading world tin producer at the beginning of XXth century, responding to the urgent demand for this metal from the armed forces around the world during the two world wars. Tin ore is currently Bolivia's principal exported product.

  • Agriculture

    Agriculture entirely satisfies the internal needs of the country. Approximately 40% of the population directly lives from agriculture, despite the fact that cultivated areas represent less than 5% of the total area of the country. These fertile areas are distributed mainly in the valleys of the Eastern Cordillera, the lowlands of eastern and southern Bolivia and in the North of the altiplano. Third producer of coca in the world (after Colombia and Peru)! Should coca culture be prohibited in Bolivia? The coca leaf has been part of the everyday life of Bolivian people for centuries. Coca leaf is the constant companion of miners and peasants, helping them to forget their suffering and hunger; it is the miracle drug that alleviates dental and intestinal pains and serves as a natural tea that cures migraines and soroche (altitude sickness). But coca is also the plant from which cocaine is prepared, posing a serious problem... It is necessary to distinguish between the legal coca (produced for daily human consumption) and the illegal coca (intended for the preparation of hard drugs).

  • Breeding

    Llamas and alpacas (both live in the altiplano region), together with sheep are bred for wool and meat production. Cattle are bred to produce meat and leather.