This article is about the demographic features of the population of Bolivia, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.
Since Bolivia was colonised by Spain for a very long time, it is now a multiethnical society, which means that it is home to people of a lot of different ethnical backgrounds. As a result, the local Bolivians tend to treat their nationality as a citizenship instead of an ethnicity. The largest of the approximately three dozen indigenous Amerindian groups are the Aymaras, Quechuas, and Guaraní (Chiriguanos, Guarayos). The majority of white Bolivians are of Spanish descent, including Basque origin, but there are small German (including Mennonite), Croats, Asian (notably Japanese Okinawans relocated there after expropriation of farmland by the U.S. military after World War II ), Middle Eastern, and other minorities (Afro Bolivian), many of whose members descend from families that have lived in Bolivia for several generations.
Bolivia is one of the least-developed countries in South America. About two-thirds of its people, many of whom are subsistence farmers, live in poverty. Population density ranges from less than one person per square kilometer in the southeastern plains to about 10/km² (25/mi²) in the central highlands. As of 2006, population is increasing 1.45% per year. Increasing numbers of Bolivians migrated to highly prosperous Brazil , Chile and Argentina, and even to developed countries in Europe (primarily the UK and Spain) and North America (esp. tens of thousands went to Mexico and the United States) in search of economic opportunities.
La Paz is at the highest elevation of the world's capital cities—3,600 meters (11,800 ft) above sea level. The adjacent city of El Alto, at 4,200 meters above sea level, is one of the fastest-growing in the hemisphere. Santa Cruz, the commercial and industrial hub of the eastern lowlands, also is experiencing rapid population and economic growth.
The great majority of Bolivians are Roman Catholic, although Protestant denominations are expanding strongly. Many indigenous communities interweave pre-Columbian (pre-Hispanic) and Catholic Christian symbols in their religious practices. About half of the people speak Spanish as their first language. Approximately 90% of the children attend primary school but often for a year or less. The literacy rate is low in many rural areas.
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