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Patriotic Symbols
The National Flag of Ecuador is yellow, blue and red in horizontal lines from top to bottom respectively. The yellow strip is twice as thick as the other colors.


The National Shield has a condor at the upper part, a sun crossed by a ribbon with four zodiac signs that correspond to the four months of overthrowing General Juan José Flores, the first president of Ecuador. Behind this is Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador. From the mountain springs a river that symbolizes the Guayas river. In the river is the Guayas ship, considered to be the first ship constructed in South America in Guayaquil in 1841.

Ecuador's National Anthem was written by Juan León Mera and the music composed by Antonio Neumane. The anthem is widely acclaimed to be among the world's most emotive national songs.

The health of Ecuador's citizens is guaranteed by a public health system called the Social Security Institute (IESS). Private health is easy to find in the urban areas but is more difficult in rural areas. There are several national and international companies that provide private health insurance. The death rate is 5.44/1,000 and the birth rate is 25.99/1,000. Infant mortality is 31.98/1000. Life expectancy for males is 69 years; for females 75 years.

The literacy rate (defined as those aged 15 and over who can read) is 92.5%. However, public education is seen to be mostly deficient due to budgetary issues. Private education is not available for the majority of the population. Illiteracy is greater in rural areas than in urban areas.

Economic Indices
GDP: purchasing power parity - $37.2 billion (2000 est.)
GDP: per capita purchasing power parity - $2,900 (2000 est.)
GDP: composition by sector: agriculture: 14% industry: 36% services: 50% (1999 est.)
Population below poverty line: 60% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: 13%; note - widespread underemployment (2000 est.)

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