MVP Sustainability Map



Sustainability Grade




Sustainable Population

77.4 %

Contraception Use


Species Threatened

1.42 %

Population Growth

$ 2,255

GDP Per Capita

Country Comments

In the past 30 years, swaths of Nicaragua’s vast Caribbean forests have been destroyed by settlers clearing land for agriculture, ranchers pasturing cattle, and loggers harvesting precious wood, much of it being driven by poverty and population growth. . Waterways have been contaminated by gold mining and damaging fishing practices. The transformation has intensified in recent years, with increasingly deadly conflicts between settlers and Indigenous communities and 23 percent of Nicaragua’s humid primary forest lost from 2002 to 2019, according to the Global Forest Watch initiative of the World Resources Institute, a sustainability-focused nonprofit research organization.

Nicaragua’s population and consumption levels currently do not exceed the carrying capacity of the country. The country’s fertility rate has declined gradually from six children per woman in the 1980s to approximately 2.4 per woman today. However its population is increasing by about 80,000 citizens a year net of emigration of approximately 20,000-30,000 annually, and must continue to strive for lower fertility rates to achieve better health and prosperity for its citizens and its natural resources.

Contraception rates for Nicaragua are above average. Some of the barriers to even higher contraception adoption include lack of access to healthcare, lack of knowledge about contraceptive methods, negative attitudes about contraceptives, providers’ fear of criticism, previous dissatisfaction or contraceptive failure, family history of teen pregnancy, cultural and media-related stigma, and the cultural belief of Machismo. (1)

Nicaragua has, since 2006, prohibited abortion under all circumstances, even if a pregnancy is life-threatening or the result of rape or incest. Women and girls who have abortions face prison terms as long as two years. Medical professionals who perform abortions face one to six years. The ban forces women and girls confronting unwanted pregnancies to seek illegal and unsafe abortions, risking their health and lives. (2)