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General Information on the Republic of Panama

We hereby present a general overview of the main data and indicators that describe Panama at a glance:

  • Government in Panama
  • Population in Panama
  • Economic Indicator in Panama
  • Employment in Panama
  • Literacy and Education in Panama
  • Transportation and Communication in Panama

Government in Panama

The Republic of Panama is an Independent State with sovereign territory, where individual and social rights are respected and where the will of the majority is represented by popular vote.

The government is made up of three Branches: Legislative, Executive and Judicial. These branches are independent but at the same time they complement each other in the  due creation and compliance countries laws.

The 1972 Constitution of Panama, modified by the Reform Acts of 1978 and by the Constitutional Act of 1983, presents a Unitary, Republican, Democratic and Representative government.

The Executive Branch

This Branch is represented by the President of the Republic (H.E. Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal) and the State Ministers that form the Cabinet. The President is elected by means of a direct popular vote, for a period of five years.

The Judicial Branch

The Judicial Branch is the permanent administrator of justice and it is constituted by the Supreme Court of Justice, the Courts and the Judges that the law establishes in accordance to the Constitution of the Republic of Panama.

Legislative Branch

The main activity of the National Assembly is the creation of laws. It is formed by the Deputies of the Nation, chosen by means of political party nomination and direct popular vote.

Population in Panama

The population of the Republic of Panama is constituted by a diverse mixture of races. Historically, the native race is the indigenous, which has been in continuous mixing since the time of the Spanish conquest, and then by the subsequent Afro-Antillean influence with the construction of the Panama Canal and the arrival of other cultures that began to develop the trade (Chinese, Hindus, Muslims, Jews and North Americans) and thus diversifying even more the melting pot of races and religions.

Panama’s present population data

Total Population (2010 Census)


Land Surface

74,177.3 square kilometers*

Geographic Divide

9 Provinces, 3 native regions by law, and 2 singular regions occupied by natives.

Population Density

45.9 people per square kilometer

Population per Race

70% of panamanians are mestizos (Spanish-indians), 12.6% native indigenous, 9.2% afro descendants and small groups of white and Asiatic population.

Population per Age

29.2% of population are under 15 years old, 63,4% are between 15 y 64 years old, and 7.4% has more than 65 years.

Official Languages

Castillian (National Language) English (Trade Language)


Catholics (majority) Evangelic Christians (Growing sector) and minority groups (Adventists, Jehova Witnesses, Mormons)   

For further details about Panama’s population visit:

*Tommy Guardia National Institute: Water mass is not included in total area (represents: 1,142.5069 sq. km)

Economic Indicator in Panama

Gross Domestic Product and Financial Sector 2009

Annual GDP at current prices

US$ 24,349.4 million

GDP’s Growth at current prices vs 2008


GDP Per Capita at current prices

US$ 7,057 (estimated on 2009 population)

Investment (Budget)/GNP 2009


Legal average liquidity index (minimum allowed: 30%) 2009

69.5% stable liquidity

Foreigners total deposits in Panama’s International Banking Center (2009)

US $ 21,468,000,000

New Loans approved by Panama’s International Banking Cente

US $ 15,084.99 millions

Public Debt (December 2009)

US $ 10,972.3 millions

Public Debt/GDP 2009


Fiscal Deficit/PIB 2009

1.04% (US$ 253.3 million)

Source: National Institute of Statistics and Census and Annual Report of Bank Superintendence

International Trade 2009

Total Trade

US $ 8,621,565,399.00


US $ 820,999,279.00


US $ 7,800,566,120.00

Source:  Exports and Imports: VICOMEX, Ministry of Commerce and Industries

Panama’s main Trade Partners in 2010 (First semester)


United States of America, Netherlands, Canada, Sweden, Costa Rica, China, Taiwan, Spain, Honduras, Italy.


United States of America, Costa Rica, China, Mexico, South Korea, Colombia, Japan, Brazil.

Source: VICOMEX, Ministry of Trade & Industries
*After US, appears in direct order: Free Trade Zone of Petroleum and Colon Free Trade Zone. Both gather 26% of total import values in 2009.

Productiveness and Inflation 2010

Employment Growth Rate


Accumulated Urban Inflation Rate (November 2010)


Source: National Institute of Statistic and Census

Foreign Direct Investment

FDI facts in 2009

US$ 1,772.8 million

Accumulated FDI in Third trimester  of 2010

US$ 1,656.6 million

FDI Per capita (according to ECLAC Data)

US$ 513.26*

Main FDI generator countries in panama (Accumulated Flows by year 2009)

United Kingdom, United States of America, Spain, Nicaragua, Colombia, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Mexico.

Number of foreign companies established in Panama

720 companies (year 2009)

Source: National Institute of Statistic and Census.
*Panama is only surpassed in America by Chile in this indicator.

Employment in Panama

Employment (August 2009)

Economically Active Population

US $ 1,557,047 people

Occupied Population

1,455,592 people

Unemployment Rate


Labor Force Participation Rate


Men %


Woman %


Urban unemployed population


Country side unemployed population


Nonindigenous unemplyed population


Source: National institute of Statistics and Census
The EAP occupation per economic sector is stratified by the following way: Primary Sector: 18%. Secondary Sector: 19.2% and Tertiary Sector: 62.8%. Panamanian government has approved a general minimum wage raise.

Literacy and Education in Panama

Literacy and Educational Levels in 2009

Literacy rate (May 2010)


Total population matriculate in National Educational System (Pre School, Primary, Pre medium, Medium and University) year 2009 941,267 students

941,267 students

Public Sector Budget allocated to education in 2010

US$ 896,568,000 (Preview)

Transportation and Communication in Panama

Transport 2009

Sea freight Manage TEU’s

4,244,736 TEU’s

Sea freight in units

2,527,811 units

Total vessel transit trough Panama Canal

14,342 vessel

Sea freight movement in metric tons

56,460,570 metric tons

Cruise passenger movement

684,506 passengers

Domestic passenger movement in national ports

1,038,172 passengers

Freight Manage (Tocumen Airport PTY)


Operating Freight Companies in Tocumen Airport


Operations  (Tocumen Airport PTY)


Passengers (Tocumen Airport PTY)

4,748,621 (4.4% more than 2008)

Operating Airlines


Daily flights average from Tocumen

120 (95 of passengers)

Top 10 main destinies according to origin/destiny through Panama in 2009

Miami, Bogotá, San José, Caracas, La Habana, México, Houston, Lima, Santo Domingo, Buenos Aires.

Air freight transported in 2009

80% freighters and 20% freight from passenger flights

Top 10 freigh airlines operating in Tocumen PTY in 2009

DHL group (51.2%), LAU (6.9%), UPS (6.8%), APW (6.7%), PS (6.7%), FDX (6.6%), KRE (6.2%), ATN (2.1%), CUB (1.8%), VNE (1.3%)

New International Airport Projects for 2010-2014

(Colón and Central Provinces)

Source: Annual Reports of 2009: Maritime Panamanian Authority and Tocumen International Airport Statistics.

Services and Tourism - 2009

Empolyment generated by Tourism

77,886 employees

Visitors Arrivals

1,562,884 visitors

Visitors Expenditures (Estimated values 2009)

US$ 1,482.7 millions

Increase of Visitors Expenditures vs 2008


Visitors Expenditures/PIB


Hotel Occupancy rate(%)


Available room supply

17,975 rooms (There is going to be an important increase by 2012)

Touristic Projects under construction


Forecasted new rooms for next  2 years

4,022 rooms

Source: Annual Report of Tourism 2009. Ministry of Economy and Finance; Statistics of Panamanian Tourism Authority.

Cell phone penetration in 2009 and 2010

Total active credits of phone contract 

170,499 credits

Increase of new credits by contracts in 2009


Active credit balance at  December 2009 

US$ 22.14 million

Total subscribers with digital technology mobile telephone (estimated for 2010)*

6,496,155 subscribes

Percentage Increase of subscribers vs 2009*


Annual index of mobile telephones per every 100 people* 


Pre Paid Cell Phone subscribers* (2010 estimated) 


Percentage Increase of pre Paid Cell Phones vs 2009* 


Contract Cell phone subscribers* (Contract 2010) 


Percentage Increase Contrac Cell phone vs 2009 


Source: Annual Reprt of Ministry of Economy And Finance (2009); and National Public Services Authority Statistcs (2010).

Internet Access Data for 2010

Increase of  websites domain in 2009 


Internet subscribe customer 

285,070 customers

% ADSL subscribe of total de customer subscriptions 


% Cable Modem subscriptions 


% Other technologies subscriptions 


Internet Users 


Density of Internet users per 100 habitants. 

36.6 (estimated on the basis of one household of 4.5 persons per household)

Maxim Access Speed to Internet (Commercial use)


Source: National Public  Service Authority Statistics.