Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in South America, both physically (272,031 km2) and in terms of population. In 2010 it was estimated to have 14.2 million inhabitants, the majority of whom reside in urban areas. According to the 2001 Population Census, the bulk of the population considers itself to be mestizo (77.4%), followed by white (10.5%), indigenous (6.8%) and Afro-Ecuadorian (5.0%).
Ecuador has traditionally been an agro-export economy, but since the 1980s petroleum has been the main export. The top five exports in 2008 included petroleum, bananas, shrimp, cut flowers and cacao. Its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009 was $24 billion, and it reported an economically active population (EAP) in early 2010 of 4.6 million. At that time, 9.1% of the EAP was unemployed and 51.3% underemployed.
Ecuador is divided into three natural regions: the highlands, coast and Amazonian regions. The last contains less than 5% of the population, but is the largest region geographically. The Amazonian region is also the poorest region of the country. In 2006, 38.3% of the population nationally was considered to be poor, measured by consumption levels. Whereas 33.7% of the population of the highlands was classified as poor, and 40.3% on the coast, 59.7% of the Amazonian population was so classified. A similar trend is apparent in terms of unsatisfied basic needs, with the share of the population nationally falling under this threshold being 45.7%.
Politically, the country is divided into 22 provinces. These in turn are sub-divided into cantons (districts or municipalities). Source: www.ecuadorencifras.com