Suriname - Statistics & Facts

Located on the north short of South America, Suriname is a quite small country, with less than a million inhabitants, that culturally resembles the Caribbean. A former Dutch colony, it imports more from the Netherlands, United States, and Trinidad and Tobago than it does from its three geographical neighbors of Guyana, French Guiana, and Brazil. Since the 2015 global slump in commodities prices, gross domestic product (GDP) growth has slowed significantly.

Suriname’s recession has led to a slight increase in unemployment, but employment remains higher than many other economies. The country’s relatively large agricultural sector can explain a lot of this. Many of the workers who would otherwise be working in mining could return to the labor-intensive farming industry or work in subsistence farming on family land. Lower economic output has also led to increased government borrowing, which is approaching unsustainable levels.

Roughly 2 out of 3 Surinamese live in cities, including the capital of Paramaribo. In spite of poor economic growth, health indicators such as life expectancy remain on a positive trend, suggesting that the recession has not had a strong impact on development. Gender equality is very strong in health and education indicators but continues to lag in other areas, particularly political empowerment.

The country’s reliance on industry has an environmental effect. In particular, air pollution, such as particulate matter is a problem. Exposure to air pollution is regularly blamed for over 200 deaths per year. This threatens to affect tourism revenue from the roughly quarter million tourists that come to Suriname every year.

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