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LACC

Latin America Resource
and Training Center
 

Country of Panama
Bridge of the Word... Heart of the Universe

Panama mapGeography
People and Culture
Church
Government and Economy
Panama Canal

Geography

  • Area: 30,193 square miles

  • Highest point: 11,468 feet, Cerro Volcán

  • Coastline: 1,786 miles

  • Climate... Tropical- average humidity 78%, high 98%

  • The Rocky Mountain and Sierra ranges, which begin in Canada, end in Panama

  • Time Zone... Panama is in the eastern time zone. The country does not observe daylight savings, therefor it is always eastern standard time.

  • Over 50% of Panama's land mass is forest and woodland--tropical, of course! Only 6% is used for agriculture.

  • Animals native to Panama include: puma, armadillo, ocelot, anteater, spider monkey, sloth, and deer. Reptiles and birds are plentiful.

People and Culture

  • Population... 2004: 3,300,000... 1995: 2,659,000... 1990: 2,418,000

  • Nearly 40% of the population of Panama lives in the metropolitan area surrounding the capital, Panama City.

  • The following are comparisons between Panama and the U.S.:

    • Population Growth: 1.9% (P) to 0.8% (US)

    • Doubling Time: 37 years (P) to 89 years (US)

    • Urban Population: 53% (P) to 75% (US)

    • Fertility Rate: 2.9 (P) to 2.0 (US)..... # of children per woman

    • Under Age 15: 35% (P) to 22% (US)

    • Over Age 65: 5% (P) to 13% (US)

    • Marriages (p/1,000): 5.2 (P) to 9.7 (US)

    • Divorces (p/1,000): 0.66 (P) to 4.8 (US)

    • Literacy: 88% to 97%

Church

  • Major evangelical groups. Above are the top five evangelical groups at the end of 1990 (from Operation World, STL Press, England, 1993).

  • Religious orientation... Roman Catholic, 72.5%; Protestant, 16.7%; Muslim, 4.5%; Others, 6.3%.

  • Bible Schools...

    • The Assemblies of God has 13 Bible schools and two satellites with a combined enrollment of 450 students.

    • The majority of the students attend classes three evenings a week. A smaller number attend classes on Saturday, or Friday evening and Saturday. Most students work full-time. There are no dorms.

    • The school year runs March through December—two 16 week semesters. Classes are two hours long.

    • The Bible Institute course of study consists of 50 classes, typically taken over a four year period.

Government and Economy

  • The word "panama" comes from a word used by the village fisherman to explain the abundance of fish and seafood in the bay. Another theory suggests that when the Spaniards first landed on the north coast asking for gold and riches, the natives responded "pana-mai", which meant "far away" as in "go far away."

  • Currency... The Balboa, which is divided into 100 centésimos, is the basic monetary unit. One Balboa equals one US Dollar. US paper money is the only paper currency used. the government mints their own coins in the same size and denomination as US coins, which are also accepted.

  • Income per person is $1,780 which represents about 8.1% of the US rate.
    Unemployment rate is about 25%.

  • Trade... The US receives more than 60% of Panama's exports. In the late 1980's Panama's exports earned $2.7 billion, and its imports cost $3.2 billion.

  • Chief industries include: oil refining, international banking.

  • Chief crops include: bananas, pineapples, cocoa, corn, coconuts and sugar.

  • Chief mineral is copper.

  • Other resources: forests (mahogany), shrimp, fish products.

  • The value of Panama's catch of fish exceeds the combined fishing total in the economy of its neighbors; nearly a fifth of Panama's foreign income is earned from the sale of shrimp and fish meal.