Nicaragua is a country known for its faith in God. More than 95 percent of Nicaraguans confess to believe, fear and be dependent on God. This faith manifests itself in many types of religious services, celebrations throughout the year, and more recently through the willingness of the Nicaraguan government to connect with believers by using notably religious language to legitimize its programs and policies.
Recent studies (December 2014) indicate that the population of believers is diversifying. Some Christian expressions are growing while others are diminishing or dividing and the religious panorama presents itself as the following:
Nicaragua is considered the safest country in the region of Central America and the sixth safest country in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the Global Peace Index 2014, with a homicide rate of 8.7 for every 100,000 people. (Our neighbouring country, Honduras, registers a homicide rate of 68 for every 100,000 people).
The macroeconomics are also encouraging. An annual economic growth of 5% positions Nicaragua as one of the most dynamic economies in Latin America. The actual investment climate and its strategic position at the center of Central America, is converting Nicaragua into a platform for regional expansion of many multinational companies.
However, alongside of these advances, there are some aspects of the life for nationals that persist as profound challenges, especially those that have to do with transparency in public administration, the independence of the powers of state, and the respect of liberty of citizens’ expression and participation, among others.
The inequalities in Nicaragua are deepening. The gap between rich and poor is increasing and yet after eight years of government oriented programs oriented towards the reduction of poverty, the indicators have barely improved.
The results of The Survey of Homes to Measure Poverty in Nicaragua from FIDEG (International Foundation for Global Economic Challenges, November 2014) suggests that in the year 2013, at the national level the rate of poverty in general was reduced because of a diminished proportion of non-extreme poverty – essentially in the urban area. Nevertheless, the rate of extreme poverty in Nicaragua increased. The increase in the extreme poverty rate was mainly in the rural area. In Nicaragua, the high level of inequality is evident. In terms of basic needs, the principal deficiencies in the Nicaraguan home are: overcrowding, insufficient basic services, and economic dependency.
Furthermore, the indicators related to the labor market suggest that in 2013 there were fewer people working than in 2012, the rate of activity diminished, and the unemployment rate increased. Also, data shows that more than 70% of those employed are in the informal work sector. A large part of them are self-employed, and this form of employment is particularly frequent among women
“The inequalities in Nicaragua are deepening.
The gap between rich and poor is increasing and
yet after eight years of government oriented
programs oriented towards the reduction of poverty,
the indicators have barely improved.”
The study results from 2012 to 2013 cannot confirm that the Nicaraguan population’s educational level has experienced significant improvement. The average Nicaraguan continues to pass six years of studies; that is to say that they barely complete an elementary level of formal education.
The illiteracy rate of people 10 years and older was situated at 15.7 percent at a national level in 2013. According to the millennial development goals for the year 2015, the illiteracy rate in Nicaragua should not be above 10 percent.
The net rate of children registered in elementary education diminished by three percentage points. At this rate, it seems unlikely that universal education by 2015 will be achieved.