Uruguay Country Overview
Where is Uruguay located? The state of Uruguay is located in South America and is the smallest country where Spanish is spoken. Uruguay is assigned to a world time zone called “Uruguay Time” on the time zone map. In this time zone, there is a standard difference of -3 hours that the clocks there are behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). In the summer months there (beginning of October to mid-March) the time is changed to daylight saving time. Then the time difference is reduced by one hour.
As of 2023, the latest population of Uruguay is 3,387,605, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).
|Population growth rate||0.27%|
|Birth rate||13.00 births per 1,000 people|
|Overall life expectancy||76.61 years|
|Men life expectancy||73.47 years|
|Women life expectancy||79.86 years|
|65 years and above||14.38%|
|Median age||34.50 years|
|Gender ratio (Male to Female)||0.93|
|Population density||19.22 residents per km²|
|90% of European descent, minorities of European-indigenous and European-African origin|
|Catholics (Roman Catholic) 66% (less than half of them attend church regularly), Protestants 2%, Jews 1%, non-denominational and members of other religions 31%|
|Human Development Index (HDI)||0.808|
|HDI ranking||57th out of 194|
People in Uruguay
Most of Uruguay’s 3.4 million people are descended from European immigrants. They are white (91 percent) and their ancestors come mainly from Spain and Italy, but also from France, Germany, Portugal and other countries.
2.4 percent describe themselves as mestizos, i.e. descendants of whites and natives. Almost 6 percent are descendants of African slaves. The indigenous peoples, the natives, were exterminated in the middle of the 18th century.
The average age in Uruguay is higher than in other Latin American countries, it is 35 years. This is due to a low birth rate, a high life expectancy and a higher number of young emigrants. In Germany, by the way, it is much higher, namely 47 years.
Every woman in Uruguay has an average of 1.7 children. With us, every woman has an average of 1.4 children.
95 percent of all Uruguayans live in the city. That is one of the highest values in the world.
Languages in Uruguay
Spanish is the official language in Uruguay. But it differs from the Spanish that is spoken in Spain. While in Spain, for example, the c is usually pronounced like an English th, i.e. between the teeth (as in the English word through), in Uruguay, as in all of Latin America, the c is pronounced like a sharp s (as in see). This is called Seseo.
The pronunciation of ll (as in llamo) and of y between vowels (as in oye) such as a German sch or a French j is also particularly typical. That is then called Žeísmo or Šeísmo.
The use of the Voseo is typical for large parts of Uruguay, which means that “you” say vos instead of tu. Instead of vosotros (you) one says ustedes. This is also used in writing.
Río de la Plata Spanish
Río de la Plata Spanish, as Spanish is also called in Argentina and Uruguay, also has the peculiarity that it was strongly influenced by the many Italian immigrants from both countries. That’s why it sounds softer than typical Spanish.
What is Portuñol?
In the border area with Brazil, a kind of mixed language between Spanish and Portuguese is spoken: Portuñol. Since the vocabulary of both languages is 90 percent the same, you can understand Portuñol if you have one of the two languages as your mother tongue. There are no hard and fast rules in Portuñol. You just try to imitate the way the other language is spoken as well as possible.
Religions in Uruguay
41 percent of the population of Uruguay belong to the Catholic Church. That is a low figure for Latin America. 8 percent are other Christians, mostly Protestants.
A large number of Uruguayans do not belong to any church: half describe themselves as non-religious. The fact that the church plays a comparatively minor role here probably has to do with the fact that church and state were separated as early as 1919 (secularism). In addition, proselytizing was less successful here.