A landlocked country in west-central South America, Bolivia has duo capital cities. Of the two, La Paz receives the most publicity due to its acclaim as the world’s highest national capital elevated 11,942 feet (3,640 meters) above sea level.
La Paz serves as Bolivia’s administrative and de facto capital city, where the government’s executive and legislative branches are located. Sucre remains the country’s constitutional capital and is home to Bolivia’s Supreme Court. The world’s third-most highly elevated national capital behind La Paz and Quito in Ecuador, Sucre has an altitude of 9,022 square feet (2,750 meters).
Mercer’s 2016 Quality of Living Survey ranks La Paz in 156th place–the second-lowest ranking for any city in the Americas. The annual survey compares 230 cities from around the globe based on 39 factors including political, economic, environmental, personal safety, health, education, transportation and other public service factors. New York City is used as the benchmark for all comparisons.
La Paz did finish 29 places ahead of the other city representing the Americas in Mercer’s quality of life study, namely Venezuela’s capital Caracas which was evaluated at number 185.
Bolivia ranks among the 90 top exporters, shipping an estimated US$7.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016. Highest-value Bolivian exports include petroleum gas, zinc, gold, tin and lead according to the International Trade Centre.
Capital Facts for Bolivia: Quick Reference
Capital landmarks: Yungas Road (La Paz), Presidential Palace (La Paz), San Francisco Church (Sucre) and Church of San Felipe Neri (Sucre)
Below, you will find 10 of the most famous people born in La Paz, Bolivia:
- Carlos Mesa, former president (born Aug. 12, 1953)
- Ben Mikaelsen, children’s book author (born Dec. 8, 1952)
- Ximena Herrera, actress (born Oct. 5, 1979)
- Marina Núñez del Prado, sculptor (born Oct. 17, 1910)
- Ximena Herrera, soap opera actress (born Oct. 5, 1979)
- Verona Pooth, former Miss Germany (born Apr. 30, 1968)
- María Renée Prudencio, writer & actress (born Oct. 28, 1974)
- Jorge Sanjinés, director (born Jul. 31, 1937)
- Alberto Villalpando, composer (born Nov. 21, 1940)
- Jac Avila, director & producer (born Oct. 7, 1952)
- Jaime Mendoza-Nava, composer & conductor (born Dec. 31, 1925)
Note: Data for our Famous People tab was sourced from Google searches mostly targeting published Wikipedia articles specific to each person’s name.
Demonym for a Bolivia resident: Bolivian
Population: 1,935,000 (La Paz)
Density: 18,429 people per square mile (7,115 per square kilometer)
Population: 415,000 (Sucre)
Density: 24,412 people per square mile (9,425 per square kilometer)
Population: 10,969,649 (Bolivia)
Density: 26 people per square mile (10 per square kilometer)
GDP: US$78.4 billion as of October 2016 (for Bolivia, per WorldsRichestCountries.com)
GDP per person: $7,147
Note: The above country-level GDP metrics are on a Purchasing Power Parity basis and are in U.S. dollars. Credible city GDP statistics for La Paz or Sucre were unavailable.
Official currency used in La Paz and Sucre: boliviano
Brookings Institution, Global Metro Monitor Report (includes GDP data). Accessed on February 24, 2017
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, Field Listing: Major Urban Areas. Accessed on February 24, 2017
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, South America: Bolivia. Accessed on February 24, 2017
CityMetric, Where are largest cities in the world? 2015 edition. Accessed on February 24, 2017
Demographia, World Urban Area, 12th Annual Edition. Accessed on February 24, 2017
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on February 24, 2017
Mercer, Western European Cities Top Quality Of Living Ranking ‒ Mercer . Accessed on February 24, 2017
Official Government Website, Autonomous Municipal Government of Sucre. Accessed on February 24, 2017
Wikimedia Commons, City Flags. Accessed on February 24, 2017
Note: Some city flags were unavailable. If so, attribution belongs to Wikimedia Commons for pertinent country flags.
Wikipedia, Bolivia. Accessed on February 24, 2017
Wikipedia, La Paz. Accessed on February 24, 2017
Wikipedia, List of capital cities by altitude. Accessed on February 24, 2017
Wikipedia, Mercer Quality of Living Survey. Accessed on February 24, 2017
Wikipedia, Sucre. Accessed on February 24, 2017
La Paz has a built-up urbanized area measuring 105 square miles (272 square kilometers) within which an estimated 1.9 million people lived in 2016. In contrast, Sucre’s population is 415,000 inhabitants over a built-up urban perimeter containing 17 square miles (44 square kilometers).
At the country level, Bolivia’s land area covers 418,265 square miles (1,083,301 square kilometers). The national population count was 11 million inhabitants as of July 2016.
Population density is lower within La Paz’s urbanized territory with an average 18,400 inhabitants per square mile (7,100 per square kilometer).
Occupying about six times less space in land area than La Paz, the smaller Sucre’s average density is more intense at 24,400 people per square mile (9,400 per square kilometer).
For Bolivia overall, population density drops to an average 26 inhabitants per square mile (10 per square kilometer).
Bolivia broke free from Spain on August 6, 1825. Bolivians celebrate Independence Day as a public holiday each August 6.