Demographics of Guatemala

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This article is about the demographic features of the population of Guatemala, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

According to the CIA World Fact Book, Mestizos (mixed Amerindian-Spanish - in local Spanish called Ladino) and Europeans comprise 22.0% of the population and Amerindians comprise 65.0% of the population (K'iche 9.1%, Kaqchikel 8.4%, Mam 7.9%, Q'eqchi 6.3%, other Mayan 8.6%, indigenous non-Mayan 0.2%, other 0.1%). Pure Europeans comprise 5.0% of the population. CIA World Fact Book. [2]

Most of Guatemala's population is rural, though urbanization is accelerating. The predominant religion is Roman Catholicism, once the main faith of the population, into which many indigenous Guatemalans have incorporated traditional forms of worship. Protestantism and traditional Maya religions are practiced by an estimated 40% and 1% of the population, respectively.

Though the official language is Spanish, it is often the second language among the indigenous population. However, the Peace Accords signed in December 1996 provide for the translation of some official documents and voting materials into several indigenous languages (see summary of main substantive accords).

Racial stratification is complex and fluid in Guatemalan politics, culture and identity. Guatemala City, the largest city in Central America, is home to over 7 million inhabitants - more than half of Guatemala's population.[citation needed]

Other racial groups include small numbers of black Africans and Garifuna of mixed African and indigenous Caribbean origins who live in the country's Eastern end. Asians, mostly of Chinese descent are descendants of farm workers and railroad laborers in the early 20th century. And thousands who are Middle Easterner descendants: Arabs, Lebanese, Palestinians, Syrians and Turks came to Guatemala after World War I.

In 1900, Guatemala had a population of just 885,000. [3] Over the course of the twentieth century, the population of the country grew by a factor of fourteen. No other western hemisphere country saw such rapid growth. This has brought on difficulties for Guatemala as more people puts pressure in the nation's economic progress in a country where 70% live in dire poverty, and political stability was weakened by an inability to have effective population growth programs.

Over a million Guatemalan emigrants went to the US in the 1980s and 1990s for a better life mostly because Civil War, the largest national subgroup of Central Americans in the US followed by Hondurans, Nicaraguans and Salvadorans. The largest population of Guatemalans is in Los Angeles, but there are also established Guatemalan communities in Dallas, Houston, Miami, New York City, San Diego, San Francisco area, and Washington, DC. There are also Guatemalan immigrants living abroad in Canada, Europe, Australia, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Egypt.

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