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Costa Rica
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Costa Rica
Overview of the education system (EAG 2021)
  • In Costa Rica, men are less likely than women to pursue a vocational track. In 2019, 47% of upper secondary vocational graduates were men, compared to 55% on average across OECD countries.
  • In Costa Rica, 35% of 25-34 year-old women had a tertiary qualification in 2020 compared to 31% of their male peers.
  • In 2019, 62% of 3-5 year-olds were enrolled in early childhood education and care programmes and primary education in Costa Rica, compared to 88% on average across OECD countries.
  • Statutory salaries of teachers with maximum qualifications at the top of their salary scales are 168% to 171% higher than those of teachers with the minimum qualifications at the start of their career at pre-primary (ISCED 02), primary and general lower and upper secondary levels in Costa Rica compared to 86% - 91% on average.
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    The following list displays indicators for which your selected country shows the highest and lowest values among countries. The list can be sorted by level of education or by age group. All rankings are calculated including available data from OECD and partner countries. Find out more about the methodology here.

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    Attainment

    The level of below upper secondary attainment among 25-34 year-olds is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (44.1 %, rank 5/44 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The level of upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary attainment among 25-34 year-olds is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (23.4 %, rank 42/44 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The level of upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary attainment among 25-64 year-olds is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (17.6 %, rank 43/45 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-64 year-olds who have attained a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary qualification is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.5 %, rank 34/34 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The level of upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education attainment among 55-64 year-olds is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (15 %, rank 40/44 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-34 year-olds who have attained a vocational degree at the upper secondary or post-secondary level is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.9 %, rank 33/34 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 55-64 year-olds who have attained a vocational degree at the upper secondary or post-secondary level is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.3 %, rank 34/34 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Attainment by gender

    The share of 25-34 year-old men who attained below upper secondary education in Costa Rica is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (48.2 %, rank 3/44 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The share of 25-34 year-old men who attained upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education in Costa Rica is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (21.3 %, rank 42/44 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Costa Rica has one of the largest share of women among 25-34 year-olds with a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education. (52.2 %, rank 3/34 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Costa Rica has one of the smallest share of women among 55-64 year-olds with a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education. (36.1 %, rank 30/34 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Participation in education

    The enrolment rate among 15-19 year-olds in Costa Rica is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (63.7 %, rank 41/43 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of three-year-olds in early childhood education in Costa Rica is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (5.7 %, rank 39/41 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate of 20-24 year-olds in Costa Rica is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (22.9 %, rank 40/42 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 3-5 year-old children in early childhood and primary education in Costa Rica is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (62.3 %, rank 38/41 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Graduation expectancy

    In Costa Rica, the percentage of today's young people expected to graduate from upper secondary education before turning 25 is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (53.3 %, rank 35/35 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Graduation

    In Costa Rica, the percentage of master's or equivalent graduates in public institutions is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (27.4 %, rank 32/35 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of doctorate graduates in public institutions is relatively low in Costa Rica. (52.4 %, rank 31/35 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Graduation by gender

    The share of female graduates from upper secondary general programmes is one of the largest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (54.5 %, rank 3/42 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Costa Rica, the share of female doctoral graduates in the field of business, administration and law is relatively low. (15.4 %, rank 42/43 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Costa Rica, the share of female doctoral graduates in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is relatively low. (0 %, rank 43/44 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Costa Rica, the share of female tertiary graduates in the field of social sciences, journalism and information is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (6.2 %, rank 41/43 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Costa Rica, the share of female tertiary graduates in the field of sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (9 %, rank 34/38 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of male tertiary graduates in the field of education is relatively high in Costa Rica. (17.8 %, rank 1/43 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Costa Rica, the proportion of male tertiary graduates in the field of arts and humanities is relatively small. (3.2 %, rank 42/43 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Costa Rica, the proportion of male tertiary graduates in the field of social sciences, journalism and information is relatively small. (4.3 %, rank 39/43 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Costa Rica, the share of male tertiary graduates in the field of business, administration and law is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (34.9 %, rank 5/43 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of male tertiary graduates in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics is relatively low in Costa Rica. (28.4 %, rank 37/38 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Graduation by field of education

    The proportion of female tertiary graduates in the humanities and arts is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries. (2.6 %, rank 43/43 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of arts and humanities is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (2.8 %, rank 44/44 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of social sciences, journalism and information is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (5.5 %, rank 40/44 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of business, administration and law is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (35.5 %, rank 4/44 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of natural sciences, mathematics and statistics is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (2.3 %, rank 41/44 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of arts and humaties in Costa Rica is relatively small. (3.6 %, rank 43/44 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of business, administration and law in Costa Rica is relatively large. (15.5 %, rank 5/44 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of Natural sciences, mathematics and statistics in Costa Rica is relatively small. (11.9 %, rank 42/44 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction in Costa Rica is relatively small. (2.4 %, rank 44/44 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of health and welfare in Costa Rica is relatively small. (0 %, rank 43/44 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Costa Rica, the proportion of upper secondary vocational graduates in the field of health and welfare is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0 %, rank 32/34 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Expenditure in education and national wealth

    In Costa Rica, public expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP on primary to tertiary education from final source of funds is relatively high. (6.2 %, rank 2/40 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Public and private expenditure in education

    In Costa Rica, total public expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions as a percentage of total public expenditure is comparatively high. (14.3 %, rank 3/41 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Compared to 2015, the share of public expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of total government expenditure, for primary to tertiary education is comparatively small. (72 Index, rank 36/36 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Total public expenditure on education as a percentage of total government expenditure, for primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education is relatively high in Costa Rica compared to OECD and partner countries with available data. (10.9 %, rank 3/41 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Compared to 2015, the share of total government expenditure is comparatively high in Costa Rica. (154 Index, rank 1/46 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Teachers

    The number of hours per year primary teachers spend teaching in public institutions is comparatively high in Costa Rica. (1170 Hours, rank 1/32 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The number of hours per year lower secondary teachers spend teaching in public institutions is comparatively high in Costa Rica. (1248 Hours, rank 1/32 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The number of days of instruction in a school year in lower secondary school is especially high. (195 Days, rank 5/30 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Who the teachers are

    The percentage of primary to upper secondary teachers aged between 30 and 49 is especially high. (68.2 %, rank 1/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of lower secondary teachers older than 50 is especially low. (19 %, rank 33/35 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of upper secondary teachers older than 50 is especially low. (19 %, rank 36/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of female teachers younger than 30 in primary education is especially low in Costa Rica. (66.3 %, rank 36/38 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The percentage of female teachers under 30 in lower secondary education is especially low in Costa Rica. (56.3 %, rank 32/35 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Teachers' salaries

    The ratio of pre-primary teachers' salaries to earnings of full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.16 Ratio, rank 3/21 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The ratio of lower secondary teachers' salaries to earnings of full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.46 Ratio, rank 1/25 , 2020) Download Indicator

    After 15 years of experience, an upper secondary teacher can expect to have one of the lowest salaries per hour of net teaching time among OECD and partner countries with available data. (27 USD Equivalent, rank 28/28 , 2020) Download Indicator

    After 15 years of experience, a primary teacher can expect to have one of the lowest salaries per hour of net teaching time among OECD and partner countries with available data. (28 USD Equivalent, rank 27/28 , 2020) Download Indicator

    After 15 years of experience, a lower secondary teacher can expect to have one of the lowest salaries per hour of net teaching time among OECD and partner countries with available data. (27 USD Equivalent, rank 28/28 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The ratio of lower secondary female teachers' salaries to earnings of full-time, full-year women workers with tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.48 Ratio, rank 3/21 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The ratio of lower secondary male teachers' salaries to earnings of full-time, full-year men workers with tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.45 Ratio, rank 1/21 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The salaries of 25-34 year-old general lower-secondary teachers relative to earnings for full-time, full-year similarly educated workers with tertiary education is high in Costa Rica. (1.5 Ratio, rank 1/21 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The salaries of 55-64 year-old general lower-secondary teachers relative to earnings for full-time, full-year similarly educated workers with tertiary education is high in Costa Rica. (1.29 Ratio, rank 2/21 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Teachers' salaries progression

    Starting salaries for teachers with minimum training in primary education are especially low. (14782 USD Equivalent, rank 36/37 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Salaries of primary school teachers with minimum training after 10 years of experience are especially low. (17308 USD Equivalent, rank 34/34 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Salaries of primary school teachers with minimum training at the top of scale are especially low. (22361 USD Equivalent, rank 33/34 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Starting salaries for lower secondary teachers with minimum training are especially low. (15350 USD Equivalent, rank 36/37 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Salaries of lower secondary teachers with minimum training after 10 years of experience are especially low. (17981 USD Equivalent, rank 34/34 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Starting salaries for upper secondary teachers with minimum training are especially low. (15350 USD Equivalent, rank 36/37 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Salaries of upper secondary teachers with minimum training after 10 years of experience are especially low. (17981 USD Equivalent, rank 34/34 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Salaries of upper secondary teachers with minimum training at the top of scale are especially low. (23244 USD Equivalent, rank 33/34 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Starting salaries for pre-primary teachers with minimum training are especially low. (14782 USD Equivalent, rank 28/30 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Salaries of pre-primary teachers with minimum training after 10 years of experience are especially low. (17308 USD Equivalent, rank 27/28 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Salaries of pre-primary teachers with minimum training at the top of scale are especially low. (22361 USD Equivalent, rank 26/28 , 2020) Download Indicator

    In lower secondary education, the salary ratio of teachers with maximum qualifications at the top of the salary scale to those with minimum training and starting salaries is comparatively high. (2.69 Ratio, rank 4/34 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Principals' salaries

    Lower-secondary school heads' salaries relative to earnings for full-time, full-year similarly educated workers with tertiary education is high in Costa Rica. (2.01 Ratio, rank 1/22 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Ratio of student to teaching staff

    In Costa Rica, the number of students per teacher in all private secondary education is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (8.4 Ratio, rank 33/36 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Organisation of the education system

    In Costa Rica, total compulsory instruction time for primary and lower secondary students is one of the longest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (10240 Hours, rank 3/37 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Costa Rica, total intended instruction time for primary and lower secondary students is relatively important. (10240 Hours, rank 2/29 , 2021) Download Indicator

    In Costa Rica, the average compulsory instruction time, in hours per year, for lower secondary students is one of the longest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1120 Hours, rank 4/37 , 2021) Download Indicator

    The average hours per year dedicated to intended instruction time for lower secondary students in Costa Rica is one of the longest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1120 Hours, rank 5/29 , 2021) Download Indicator

    Class size

    Classes in public primary institutions are comparatively small in Costa Rica. (16 Students, rank 35/36 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Classes in lower secondary public institutions are comparatively large in Costa Rica. (36 Students, rank 1/34 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In government-dependent private institutions at primary education level, classes are relatively large in Costa Rica. (25 Students, rank 3/19 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In Costa Rica, classes in primary education are comparatively small. (16 Students, rank 32/32 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In government-dependent private institutions at lower secondary level, classes are one of the largest in Costa Rica among OECD and partner countries with available data. (29 Students, rank 2/20 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Employment and educational attainment

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively low. (64.3 %, rank 40/44 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a short-cycle tertiary education degree is low compared to other OECD and partner countries. (64.6 %, rank 38/38 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-34 year-olds with a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is relatively low compared to other OECD and partner countries. (69.9 %, rank 31/34 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-34 year-olds with a short-cycle tertiary education is comparatively low. (63.1 %, rank 32/33 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is relatively low compared to other OECD and partner countries. (64.8 %, rank 32/34 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a general upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is relatively low compared to other OECD and partner countries. (64.3 %, rank 36/40 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 35-44 year-olds with a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is relatively low compared to other OECD and partner countries. (67.2 %, rank 34/34 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 35-44 year-olds with a general upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is relatively low compared to other OECD and partner countries. (69.8 %, rank 37/40 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 45-54 year-olds with a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is relatively low compared to other OECD and partner countries. (63.5 %, rank 34/34 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 35-44 year-olds with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively low. (69.6 %, rank 40/43 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 45-54 year-olds with a short-cycle tertiary education is comparatively low. (73.4 %, rank 33/36 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Unemployment and educational attainment

    The unemployment rate among 25-34 year-olds with tertiary education is comparatively high. (17 %, rank 4/44 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-34 year-olds with a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is one of the highest of all OECD countries and partner economies for which data are available. (17.4 %, rank 3/33 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-34 year-olds with a general upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is one of the highest of all OECD countries and partner economies for which data are available. (23.3 %, rank 2/38 , 2020) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-34 year-old men with vocational upper secondary or a post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively high. (20.1 %, rank 2/33 , 2020) Download Indicator

    Earnings and educational attainment

    The proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old adults with tertiary education and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is quite high. (203 Index, rank 4/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old adults with a bachelor's or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is high. (203 Index, rank 3/34 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The gap in average earnings between 25-64 year-old women with a bachelor's or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (225 Index, rank 3/34 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Costa Rica, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old men with a bachelor's or equivalent degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is high. (196 Index, rank 3/34 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Earnings of 25-64 year-old full and part-time workers with tertiary education are comparatively high. (209 Index, rank 4/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Earnings, gender and educational attainment

    The proportion of male full-time earners among all earners aged 35 to 44 without upper secondary education is comparatively high. (92.8 %, rank 1/28 , 2019) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female full-time earners among all earners aged 35 to 44 without upper secondary education is comparatively high. (66.8 %, rank 1/27 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (among 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education and income from employment) are one of the highest among countries with available data. (95.5 %, rank 1/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (25-64 year-olds with income from employment) are one of the highest among countries with available data. (114.7 %, rank 1/37 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Participation in education by gender

    The share of female students entering doctoral or equivalent programmes in Costa Rica is one of the smallest compared to other OECD countries and partner economies. (10 %, rank 42/42 , 2019) Download Indicator


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    General findings
    
                            
    • One in five adults across the OECD has not attained upper secondary education.
    • In 2020, the unemployment rate of adults that had not completed upper secondary education was almost twice as high as those with higher qualifications, and 27% of these adults earn only at or below half the median on average across OECD countries.
    • In 2019, at least 10% of school-aged youth were not in school in about a quarter of OECD countries.
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    • In 2019, women made up 55% of new entrants to tertiary education on average. If current patterns continue, it is expected that 46% of young women will graduate with a tertiary degree for the first time before they turn 30, 15 percentage points more than men.
    • Women also earn on average about 76-78% of men’s salaries regardless of educational attainment, although the gender gap narrowed by 2 percentage points between 2013 and 2019.
    • Women are less likely than men to enter a STEM field of study, and the average share remained generally stable between 2013 and 2019.
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    • On average across countries, expenditure on educational institutions amounted to approximately USD 9 300 per student at pre-primary level; USD 10 500 at primary, secondary and post-secondary non tertiary level; and USD 17 100 at tertiary level.
    • The public sector funds 90% of total expenditure on primary and secondary institutions on average, often compulsory in most OECD countries, compared to 83% at pre-primary level and 66% at tertiary level.
    • In 2018, the OECD countries spent on average 4.9% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on primary to tertiary educational institutions.
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    • In 2019, less than 5% of pre-primary teachers were men, compared to 18% at primary level, 40% at upper secondary level and more than 50% at tertiary level on average.
    • Between 2005 and 2020, on average across OECD countries and economies with available data for all reference years, the statutory salaries of teachers with 15 years of experience and the most prevalent qualifications increased by 3% at primary level, 4% at lower secondary level (general programmes) and 2% at upper secondary level (general programmes).
    • In most countries, teachers above 50 years of age make up more than a third of the teaching force.
    • Attracting male teachers to the profession can be difficult: While the average actual salary of female teachers is equal to or higher than the average salary of other full-time, tertiary-educated women, primary and secondary male teachers earn between 76% and 85% of the average earnings of other full-time, tertiary-educated men.
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    • On average across OECD countries, 87% of children aged 3-5 are enrolled in education on average across OECD countries compared to 25% for children below the age of 3.
    • There are 15 children for every teacher at pre-primary level on average across OECD countries.
    • Half of children enrolled in early childhood development services and a two-thirds of pre-primary children attend public institutions on average across OECD countries
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    Key
    Diagram of funding flows - Costa Rica

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    Key
    Country Reviews for Costa Rica

    Note: These values should be interpreted with care since they are influenced by countries' specific contexts and trade-offs. In education, there is often no simple most- or least-efficient model. For instance, the share of private expenditure in education must be read against other measures designed to mitigate inequities, such as loans and grants; longer learning time is an opportunity to convey more and better content to students, but may hinder investments in other important areas. If you want further information on the nature of different variables, please take the time to read the analysis and contextual information, available at the website for each publication.
    All rankings for individual variables are compiled on the basis of OECD and G20 countries for which data are available. The OECD average includes only OECD countries which are listed here: http://www.oecd.org/about/membersandpartners/

    *TALIS averages are based on all countries participating in the TALIS survey, including partner countries and economies. This explains the difference between the OECD average and the TALIS average. Data from the TALIS survey and Education at a Glance (EAG) may differ. See Annex E of the TALIS technical report and Annex 3 of EAG 2019 for more details about the data collections.

    B-S-J-Z (China) refers to the four PISA-participating provinces/municipalities of the People's Republic of China: Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

    For additional notes, please refer to annexes in the list of links below the introductory country profile text.