The Country of Uruguay
Uruguay is the second smallest country in South America. It is about the size of North Dakota. Uruguay is often called the "Switzerland of South America" because of its size, democratic institutions and high standard of living. Sixty-six percent of the population claim to be Roman Catholic although less than half of the adult population attends church regularly. Protestants form just 2% of the population with 31% claiming to have no declared faith.
Uruguay's economy consists of an export-driven agricultural sector which exports meat, rice, leather products, wool, fish and dairy products. In 2001-02 Uruguay suffered a financial crisis as a result of the economic problems of its larger neighbors, Brazil and Argentina. The dollar soared, the Uruguayan peso devalued, and the unemployment rate rose rapidly. The rise in unemployment and low salaries makes it difficult to meet daily living necessities. Crime rates have risen as a result. Uruguay is just now beginning to pull out of its economic problems.
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