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Ecuador :: South America



What is now Ecuador formed part of the northern Inca Empire until the Spanish conquest in 1533. Quito became a seat of Spanish colonial government in 1563 and part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in 1717. The territories of the Viceroyalty - New Granada (Colombia), Venezuela, and Quito - gained their independence between 1819 and 1822 and formed a federation known as Gran Colombia. When Quito withdrew in 1830, the traditional name was changed in favor of the "Republic of the Equator." Between 1904 and 1942, Ecuador lost territories in a series of conflicts with its neighbors. A border war with Peru that flared in 1995 was resolved in 1999. Although Ecuador marked 30 years of civilian governance in 2004, the period was marred by political instability. Protests in Quito contributed to the mid-term ouster of three of Ecuador's last four democratically elected presidents. In late 2008, voters approved a new constitution, Ecuador's 20th since gaining independence. General elections were held in April 2017, and voters elected President Lenin MORENO.



Western South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, between Colombia and Peru

Geographic coordinates:

2 00 S, 77 30 W

Map references:

South America


total: 283,561 sq km
land: 276,841 sq km
water: 6,720 sq km
note: includes Galapagos Islands
country comparison to the world: 75

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than Nevada

Land boundaries:

total: 2,237 km
border countries (2): Colombia 708 km, Peru 1529 km


2,237 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 200 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
note: Ecuador has declared its right to extend its continental shelf to 350nm measured from the baselines of the Galapagos Archipelago


tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands


coastal plain (costa), inter-Andean central highlands (sierra), and flat to rolling eastern jungle (oriente)


mean elevation: 1,117 m
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Chimborazo 6,267
note: because the earth is not a perfect sphere and has an equatorial bulge, the highest point on the planet farthest from its center is Mount Chimborazo not Mount Everest, which is merely the highest peak above sea level

Natural resources:

petroleum, fish, timber, hydropower

Land use:

agricultural land: 29.7% (2011 est.)
arable land: 4.7% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 5.6% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 19.4% (2011 est.)
forest: 38.9% (2011 est.)
other: 31.4% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land:

15,000 sq km (2012)

Population distribution:

nearly half of the population is concentrated in the interior in the Andean intermontane basins and valleys, with large concentrations also found along the western coastal strip; the rainforests of the east remain sparsely populated

Natural hazards:

frequent earthquakes; landslides; volcanic activity; floods; periodic droughts ++ volcanism: volcanic activity concentrated along the Andes Mountains; Sangay (5,230 m), which erupted in 2010, is mainland Ecuador's most active volcano; other historically active volcanoes in the Andes include Antisana, Cayambe, Chacana, Cotopaxi, Guagua Pichincha, Reventador, Sumaco, and Tungurahua; Fernandina (1,476 m), a shield volcano that last erupted in 2009, is the most active of the many Galapagos volcanoes; other historically active Galapagos volcanoes include Wolf, Sierra Negra, Cerro Azul, Pinta, Marchena, and Santiago

Environment - current issues:

deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution; pollution from oil production wastes in ecologically sensitive areas of the Amazon Basin and Galapagos Islands

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

note 1: Cotopaxi in Andes is highest active volcano in world ++ note 2: according to the latest archeological research, the cacao tree, whose seeds are used to make chocolate and which was long thought to have originated in Mesoamerica, was first domesticated in the upper Amazon region of northwest South America - present-day Ecuador - about 3,300 B.C. (2020)

People and Society


16,904,867 (July 2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70


noun: Ecuadorian(s)
adjective: Ecuadorian

Ethnic groups:

Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and White) 71.9%, Montubio 7.4%, Amerindian 7%, White 6.1%, Afroecuadorian 4.3%, Mulatto 1.9%, Black 1%, other 0.4% (2010 est.)


Spanish (Castilian) 93% (official), Quechua 4.1%, other indigenous 0.7%, foreign 2.2% (2010 est.)
note: (Quechua and Shuar are official languages of intercultural relations; other indigenous languages are in official use by indigenous peoples in the areas they inhabit)


Roman Catholic 74%, Evangelical 10.4%, Jehovah's Witness 1.2%, other 6.4% (includes Mormon, Buddhist, Jewish, Spiritualist, Muslim, Hindu, indigenous, African American, Pentecostal), atheist 7.9%, agnostic 0.1% (2012 est.)
note: data represent persons at least 16 years of age from five Ecuadoran cities

Demographic profile:

Ecuador's high poverty and income inequality most affect indigenous, mixed race, and rural populations. The government has increased its social spending to ameliorate these problems, but critics question the efficiency and implementation of its national development plan. Nevertheless, the conditional cash transfer program, which requires participants' children to attend school and have medical check-ups, has helped improve educational attainment and healthcare among poor children. Ecuador is stalled at above replacement level fertility and the population most likely will keep growing rather than stabilize. ++ An estimated 2 to 3 million Ecuadorians live abroad, but increased unemployment in key receiving countries - Spain, the United States, and Italy - is slowing emigration and increasing the likelihood of returnees to Ecuador. The first large-scale emigration of Ecuadorians occurred between 1980 and 2000, when an economic crisis drove Ecuadorians from southern provinces to New York City, where they had trade contacts. A second, nationwide wave of emigration in the late 1990s was caused by another economic downturn, political instability, and a currency crisis. Spain was the logical destination because of its shared language and the wide availability of low-skilled, informal jobs at a time when increased border surveillance made illegal migration to the US difficult. Ecuador has a small but growing immigrant population and is Latin America's top recipient of refugees; 98% are neighboring Colombians fleeing violence in their country.

Age structure:

0-14 years: 25.82% (male 2,226,240/female 2,138,219)
15-24 years: 17.8% (male 1,531,545/female 1,478,222)
25-54 years: 40.31% (male 3,333,650/female 3,480,262)
55-64 years: 7.92% (male 647,718/female 691,759)
65 years and over: 8.15% (male 648,761/female 728,491) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios:

total dependency ratio: 53.8
youth dependency ratio: 42.1
elderly dependency ratio: 11.7
potential support ratio: 8.6 (2020 est.)

Median age:

total: 28.8 years
male: 28 years
female: 29.6 years (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140

Population growth rate:

1.2% (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88

Birth rate:

17 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99

Death rate:

5.2 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 193

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79

Population distribution:

nearly half of the population is concentrated in the interior in the Andean intermontane basins and valleys, with large concentrations also found along the western coastal strip; the rainforests of the east remain sparsely populated


urban population: 64.2% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 1.66% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population:

2.994 million Guayaquil, 1.874 million QUITO (capital) (2020)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:

59 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90

Infant mortality rate:

total: 15 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 17.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 77.5 years
male: 74.5 years
female: 80.6 years (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80

Total fertility rate:

2.09 children born/woman (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98

Contraceptive prevalence rate:

80.1% (2007/12)

Drinking water source:

improved: urban: 100% of population
rural: 83.5% of population
total: 94% of population
unimproved: urban: 0% of population
rural: 16.2% of population
total: 6% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure:

8.3% (2017)

Physicians density:

2.04 physicians/1,000 population (2016)

Hospital bed density:

1.4 beds/1,000 population (2016)

Sanitation facility access:

improved: urban: 100% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 91.9% of population
total: 97.1% of population
unimproved: urban: 0% of population
rural: 8.1% of population
total: 2.1% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.4% (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

47,000 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

<1000 (2019 est.)

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: high (2020)
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

Obesity - adult prevalence rate:

19.9% (2016)
country comparison to the world: 107

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:

5.1% (2014)
country comparison to the world: 81

Education expenditures:

5% of GDP (2015)
country comparison to the world: 58


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.8%
male: 93.8%
female: 92.1% (2017)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2015)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:

total: 7.9%
male: 6.4%
female: 10.6% (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143


Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Ecuador
conventional short form: Ecuador
local long form: Republica del Ecuador
local short form: Ecuador
etymology: the country's position on the globe, straddling the Equator, accounts for its Spanish name

Government type:

presidential republic


name: Quito
geographic coordinates: 0 13 S, 78 30 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
note: Ecuador has two time zones, including the Galapagos Islands (UTC-6) ++ etymology: named after the Quitus, a Pre-Columbian indigenous people credited with founding the city ++ ++

Administrative divisions:

24 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Azuay, Bolivar, Canar, Carchi, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, El Oro, Esmeraldas, Galapagos, Guayas, Imbabura, Loja, Los Rios, Manabi, Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Pichincha, Santa Elena, Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, Sucumbios, Tungurahua, Zamora-Chinchipe


24 May 1822 (from Spain)

National holiday:

Independence Day (independence of Quito), 10 August (1809)


history: many previous; latest approved 20 October 2008
amendments: proposed by the president of the republic through a referendum, by public petition of at least 1% of registered voters, or by agreement of at least one-third membership of the National Assembly; passage requires two separate readings a year apart and approval by at least two-thirds majority vote of the Assembly, and approval by absolute majority in a referendum; amendments such as changes to the structure of the state, constraints on personal rights and guarantees, or constitutional amendment procedures are not allowed; amended 2011, 2015, 2018; note - a 2015 constitutional amendment lifting presidential term limits was overturned by a February 2018 referendum

Legal system:

civil law based on the Chilean civil code with modifications; traditional law in indigenous communities

International law organization participation:

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: yes
citizenship by descent only: yes
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 3 years


18-65 years of age; universal and compulsory; 16-18, over 65, and other eligible voters, voluntary

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Lenin MORENO Garces (since 24 May 2017); Vice President MarĂ­a Alejandra MUNOZ (since 17 July 2020); the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Lenin MORENO Garces (since 24 May 2017); Vice President (vacant)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on the same ballot by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 19 February 2017 with a runoff on 2 April 2017 (next to be held in 2021)
election results: Lenin MORENO Garces elected president in second round; percent of vote - Lenin MORENO Garces (Alianza PAIS Movement) 51.1%, Guillermo LASSO (CREO) 48.9%

Legislative branch:

description: unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (137 seats; 116 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote, 15 members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by proportional representation vote, and 6 directly elected in multi-seat constituencies for Ecuadorians living abroad by simple majority vote; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 19 February 2017 (next to be held on 7 February 2021)
election results: percent of vote by party - PAIS 39.1%, CREO-SUMA 20.1%, PSC 15.9%, ID 3.8%, MUPP 2.7%, other 10.7; seats by party - PAIS 74, CREO-SUMA 34, PSC 15, ID 4, MUPP 4, PSP 2, Fuerza Ecuador 1, independent 3; composition - men 85, women 52, percent of women 38%; note - defections by members of National Assembly are commonplace, resulting in frequent changes in the numbers of seats held by the various parties

Judicial branch:

highest courts: National Court of Justice or Corte Nacional de Justicia (consists of 21 judges, including the chief justice and organized into 5 specialized chambers); Constitutional Court or Corte Constitucional (consists of 9 judges)
judge selection and term of office: justices of National Court of Justice elected by the Judiciary Council, a 9-member independent body of law professionals; judges elected for 9-year, non-renewable terms, with one-third of the membership renewed every 3 years; Constitutional Court judges appointed by the executive, legislative, and Citizen Participation branches of government; judges appointed for 9-year non-renewable terms with one-third of the membership renewed every 3 years
subordinate courts: Fiscal Tribunal; Election Dispute Settlement Courts, provincial courts (one for each province); cantonal courts

Political parties and leaders:

Alianza PAIS movement [Lenin Voltaire MORENO Garces] ++ Avanza Party or AVANZA [Ramiro GONZALEZ] ++ Citizen Revolution Movement or MRC [Rafael CORREA] ++ Creating Opportunities Movement or CREO [Guillermo LASSO] ++ Democratic Left or ID ++ Forward Ecuador Movement [Alvaro NOBOA] ++ Fuerza Ecuador [Abdala BUCARAM] (successor to Roldosist Party) ++ Pachakutik Plurinational Unity Movement or MUPP [Marlon Rene SANTI Gualinga] ++ Patriotic Society Party or PSP [Gilmar GUTIERREZ Borbua] ++ Popular Democracy Movement or MPD [Luis VILLACIS] ++ Social Christian Party or PSC [Pascual DEL CIOPPO] ++ Socialist Party [Patricio ZABRANO] ++ Society United for More Action or SUMA [Mauricio RODAS]

International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Francisco Benjamin Esteban CARRION Mena (since 24 January 2018)
chancery: 2535 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 234-7200
FAX: [1] (202) 667-3482
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New Haven (CT), New Orleans, New York, Newark (NJ), Phoenix, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Michael J. FITZPATRICK (since 18 June 2019)
telephone: [593] (2) 398-5000
embassy: Avenida Avigiras E12-170 y Avenida Eloy Alfaro, Quito
mailing address: Avenida Guayacanes N52-205 y Avenida Avigiras
FAX: [593] (2) 398-5100
consulate(s) general: Guayaquil

Flag description:

three horizontal bands of yellow (top, double width), blue, and red with the coat of arms superimposed at the center of the flag; the flag retains the three main colors of the banner of Gran Colombia, the South American republic that broke up in 1830; the yellow color represents sunshine, grain, and mineral wealth, blue the sky, sea, and rivers, and red the blood of patriots spilled in the struggle for freedom and justice
note: similar to the flag of Colombia, which is shorter and does not bear a coat of arms

National symbol(s):

Andean condor; national colors: yellow, blue, red

National anthem:

name: "Salve, Oh Patria!" (We Salute You, Our Homeland)
lyrics/music: Juan Leon MERA/Antonio NEUMANE
note: adopted 1948; Juan Leon MERA wrote the lyrics in 1865; only the chorus and second verse are sung


Economic overview:

Ecuador is substantially dependent on its petroleum resources, which accounted for about a third of the country's export earnings in 2017. Remittances from overseas Ecuadorian are also important. ++ In 1999/2000, Ecuador's economy suffered from a banking crisis that lead to some reforms, including adoption of the US dollar as legal tender. Dollarization stabilized the economy, and positive growth returned in most of the years that followed. China has become Ecuador's largest foreign lender since 2008 and now accounts for 77.7% of the Ecuador's bilateral debt. Various economic policies under the CORREA administration, such as an announcement in 2017 that Ecuador would terminate 13 bilateral investment treaties - including one with the US, generated economic uncertainty and discouraged private investment. ++ Faced with a 2013 trade deficit of $1.1 billion, Ecuador imposed tariff surcharges from 5% to 45% on an estimated 32% of imports. Ecuador's economy fell into recession in 2015 and remained in recession in 2016. Declining oil prices and exports forced the CORREA administration to cut government oulays. Foreign investment in Ecuador is low as a result of the unstable regulatory environment and weak rule of law. ++ n April of 2017, Lenin MORENO was elected President of Ecuador by popular vote. His immediate challenge was to reengage the private sector to improve cash flow in the country. Ecuador's economy returned to positive, but sluggish, growth. In early 2018, the MORENO administration held a public referendum on seven economic and political issues in a move counter to CORREA-administration policies, reduce corruption, strengthen democracy, and revive employment and the economy. The referendum resulted in repeal of taxes associated with recovery from the earthquake of 2016, reduced restrictions on metal mining in the Yasuni Intangible Zone - a protected area, and several political reforms.

GDP real growth rate:

0.06% (2019 est.)
1.29% (2018 est.)
2.37% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

0.2% (2019 est.)
-0.2% (2018 est.)
0.4% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26

Credit ratings:

Fitch rating: B- (2020)
Moody's rating: Caa3 (2020)
Standard & Poors rating: B- (2020)

GDP (purchasing power parity) - real:

$173.729 billion (2019 est.)
$173.636 billion (2018 est.)
$171.426 billion (2017 est.)
note: data are in 2010 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$107.436 billion (2019 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$5,097 (2019 est.)
$5,181 (2018 est.)
$5,206 (2017 est.)
note: data are in 2010 dollars
country comparison to the world: 157

Gross national saving:

25.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
26.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
24.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:

agriculture: 6.7% (2017 est.)
industry: 32.9% (2017 est.)
services: 60.4% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use:

household consumption: 60.7% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 14.4% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 24.3% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 1% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 20.8% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -21.3% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores:

57.7 (2020)

Agriculture - products:

bananas, coffee, cocoa, rice, potatoes, cassava (manioc, tapioca), plantains, sugarcane; cattle, sheep, pigs, beef, pork, dairy products; fish, shrimp; balsa wood


petroleum, food processing, textiles, wood products, chemicals

Industrial production growth rate:

-0.6% (2017 est.)
note: excludes oil refining
country comparison to the world: 173

Labor force:

8.086 million (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 59

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 26.1%
industry: 18.4%
services: 55.5% (2017 est.)

Unemployment rate:

5.71% (2019 est.)
5.26% (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94

Population below poverty line:

21.5% (December 2017 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 1.4%
highest 10%: 35.4% (2012 est.)
note: data are for urban households only


revenues: 33.43 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 38.08 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:

32% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

-4.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164

Public debt:

45.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
43.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Current account balance:

-$53 million (2019 est.)
-$1.328 billion (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79


$25.446 billion (2019 est.)
$24.183 billion (2018 est.)
$23.907 billion (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73

Exports - partners:

US 31.5%, Vietnam 7.6%, Peru 6.7%, Chile 6.5%, Panama 4.9%, Russia 4.4%, China 4% (2017)

Exports - commodities:

petroleum, bananas, cut flowers, shrimp, cacao, coffee, wood, fish


$26.096 billion (2019 est.)
$25.677 billion (2018 est.)
$24.594 billion (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73

Imports - commodities:

industrial materials, fuels and lubricants, nondurable consumer goods

Imports - partners:

US 22.8%, China 15.4%, Colombia 8.7%, Panama 6.4%, Brazil 4.4%, Peru 4.2% (2017)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$2.395 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$4.259 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116

Debt - external:

$39.29 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$38.14 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77

Exchange rates:

25,000 (2020 est.)
25,000 (2019 est.)
25,000 (2018 est.)
the US dollar became Ecuador's currency in 2001


Electricity access:

electrification - total population: 97% (2019)
electrification - urban areas: 100% (2019)
electrification - rural areas: 93% (2019)

Electricity - production:

26.5 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71

Electricity - consumption:

22.68 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70

Electricity - exports:

211 million kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75

Electricity - imports:

82 million kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102

Electricity - installed generating capacity:

8.192 million kW (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69

Electricity - from fossil fuels:

43% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:

54% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32

Electricity - from other renewable sources:

2% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138

Crude oil - production:

517,000 bbl/day (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28

Crude oil - exports:

383,500 bbl/day (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22

Crude oil - imports:

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119

Crude oil - proved reserves:

8.273 billion bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17

Refined petroleum products - production:

137,400 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62

Refined petroleum products - consumption:

265,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48

Refined petroleum products - exports:

25,870 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66

Refined petroleum products - imports:

153,900 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40

Natural gas - production:

477.8 million cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73

Natural gas - consumption:

453.1 million cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118

Natural gas - proved reserves:

10.9 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:

37.54 million Mt (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69


Telephones - fixed lines:

total subscriptions: 2,111,291
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 12.64 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 52

Telephones - mobile cellular:

total subscriptions: 15,241,719
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 91.25 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67

Telecommunication systems:

general assessment: much of the country's fixed-line structure is influenced by topographical challenges associated with the Andes Mountains; Ecuador has a small telecom market with a dominant mobile sector; the state-owned incumbent CNT dominates the fixed-line market, and therefore the DSL broadband market as well; mobile broadband market growing and expanding LTE services (2020)
domestic: fixed-line services with digital networks provided by multiple telecommunications operators; fixed-line teledensity stands at about 13 per 100 persons and mobile-cellular use has surged and subscribership has reached 91 per 100 persons (2019)
international: country code - 593; landing points for the PAN-AM, PCCS, America Movil-Telxius West Coast Cable and SAm-1 submarine cables that provide links to South and Central America, and extending onward to the Caribbean and the US; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media:

about 60 media outlets are recognized as national; the Ecuadorian Government controls 12 national outlets and multiple radio stations; there are multiple TV networks and many local channels, as well as more than 300 radio stations; many TV and radio stations are privately owned; broadcast media is required by law to give the government free airtime to broadcast programs produced by the state; the Ecuadorian Government is the biggest advertiser and grants advertising contracts to outlets that provide favorable coverage; an antimonopoly law and communication law limit ownership and investment in the media by non-media businesses (2019)

Internet country code:


Internet users:

total: 9,448,692
percent of population: 57.27% (July 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55

Broadband - fixed subscriptions:

total: 1,953,607
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 12 (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 54


National air transport system:

number of registered air carriers: 7 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 35
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 5,365,261 (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 64.2 million mt-km (2018)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:

HC (2016)


432 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 18

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 104 (2017)
over 3,047 m: 4 (2017)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 18 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 26 (2017)
under 914 m: 51 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 328 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 37 (2013)
under 914 m: 291 (2013)


2 (2013)


485 km extra heavy crude, 123 km gas, 2131 km oil, 1526 km refined products (2017)


total: 965 km (2017)
narrow gauge: 965 km 1.067-m gauge (2017)
note: passenger service limited to certain sections of track, mostly for tourist trains
country comparison to the world: 91


total: 43,216 km (2015)
paved: 8,161 km (2015)
unpaved: 35,055 km (2015)
country comparison to the world: 87


1,500 km (most inaccessible) (2012)
country comparison to the world: 52

Merchant marine:

total: 137
by type: bulk carrier 1, general cargo 7, oil tanker 28, other 101 (2019)
country comparison to the world: 76

Ports and terminals:

major seaport(s): Esmeraldas, Manta, Puerto Bolivar
container port(s) (TEUs): Guayaquil (1,871,591) (2017)
river port(s): Guayaquil (Guayas)

Military and Security

Military and security forces:

Ecuadorian Armed Forces: Ecuadorian Land Force (Fuerza Terrestre Ecuatoriana, FTE), Ecuadorian Navy (Fuerza Naval del Ecuador, FNE, includes naval infantry, naval aviation, coast guard), Ecuadorian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Ecuatoriana, FAE) (2020)

Military expenditures:

2.3% of GDP (2019)
2.4% of GDP (2018)
2.4% of GDP (2017)
2.5% of GDP (2016)
2.6% of GDP (2015)
country comparison to the world: 39

Military and security service personnel strengths:

the Ecuadorian Armed Forces have approximately 40,000 active personnel (25,000 Army; 9,000 Navy; 6,000 Air Force) (2019 est.)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions:

the military's equipment inventory is mostly older and derived from a wide variety of sources; since 2010, the leading suppliers of military hardware are Brazil, the Netherlands, South Africa, and Spain (2019 est.)

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for selective conscript military service; conscription has been suspended; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; Air Force 18-22 years of age, Ecuadorian birth requirement; 1-year service obligation (2013)

Maritime threats:

the International Maritime Bureau continues to report the territorial and offshore waters as at risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships; vessels, including commercial shipping and pleasure craft, have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; crews have been robbed and stores or cargoes stolen; after several years with no incidents, there has been an increase over the last two years with four attacks reported in 2018

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:

organized illegal narcotics operations in Colombia penetrate across Ecuador's shared border

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 102,928 (Colombia) (2019); 207,324 (Venezuela) (economic and political crisis; includes Venezuelans who have claimed asylum, are recognized as refugees, or have received alternative legal stay) (2020)

Illicit drugs:

significant transit country for cocaine originating in Colombia and Peru, with much of the US-bound cocaine passing through Ecuadorian Pacific waters; importer of precursor chemicals used in production of illicit narcotics; attractive location for cash-placement by drug traffickers laundering money because of dollarization and weak anti-money-laundering regime; increased activity on the northern frontier by trafficking groups and Colombian insurgents