Uruguay officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,[1][7] sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay[8] (Spanish: República Oriental del Uruguay pronounced: [reˈpuβlika oɾjenˈtal del uɾuˈɣwai]), is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to 3.3 million people,[1] of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area. An estimated 88% of the population is of European descent.[1] With an area of approximately 176,000 square kilometres (68,000 sq mi), Uruguay is the second-smallest nation in South America by area, after Suriname.

Colonia del Sacramento, one of the oldest European settlements in the country, was founded by the Portuguese in 1680. Montevideo was founded by the Spanish in the early 18th century as a military stronghold.[9] Uruguay won its independence between 1811–28 following a three-way struggle among the claims of Spain, Argentina and Brazil. It is a democratic constitutional republic, with a president who is both the head of state and the head of government.

Most of the emigrants were young. Of those who emigrated between 1963 and 1975, 17.7 percent were aged fourteen or younger, 68 percent were between the ages of fifteen and thirtynine , and only 14.3 percent were forty years or older. Those leaving were on average also better educated than the total population. Only 1.5 percent were uneducated, 52.1 percent had completed primary school, 33.6 percent had attended secondary school or teachers' training colleges, and 12.8 percent had attended university or technical college.

In the late 1980s, the lack of jobs for young people was again a fundamental factor contributing to emigration. Those people leaving Uruguay were not only younger and better educated than the population as a whole but also tended to have more job skills. Among those aged fourteen and older who emigrated from 1963 to 1975 and who were economically active, the relative proportions of different occupations were as follows: professionals, technicians, managers, and administrators made up 12.8 percent, 2.9 percentage points higher than in the economically active population (EAP) as a whole in 1975; office employees constituted 16 percent of those emigrating, 4.3 points above their share of the EAP; salespeople made up 12.4 percent of emigrants, 2 points above the EAP; and drivers, skilled and unskilled workers, and day laborers constituted 34.2 percent of the EAP in 1975, but 47.6 percent of those emigrating.

On the one hand, the proportion of emigrants who had worked as domestic servants was 10.4 percent, close to their share of the EAP. On the other hand, whereas 18.2 percent of the EAP was classified as farmers and fishermen in 1975, these made up only 0.8 percent of those leaving the country in the previous twelve years.

By far the most popular destination for Uruguayan emigrants was Argentina, which in the first half of the 1970s took over one-half of the emigrants. Also important were the United States and Australia, followed by Spain, Brazil, and Venezuela. Small numbers of artists, intellectuals, and politicians experiencing persecution emigrated to Western Europe, notably to the Netherlands and Uruguay is located in the southern region of South America. It is bordered by Argentina on the west and Brazil on the north and east. Its southern coastline of 660 kilometers (410 miles) is formed by the Rio de la Plata, which separates Uruguay from Argentina and opens into the Atlantic Ocean. The nation's total area is 176,220 square kilometers (68,038 square miles), including 2,600 square kilometers (1,004 square miles) of water. The country is slightly smaller than the state of Washington. The nation's capital, Montevideo, is located on the southern coast, where the Rio de la Plata meets the Atlantic Ocean. The capital is also the nation's largest city, with a population of 1.4 million.