Bolivia People - 2021


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese


11,758,869 (July 2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 81


noun: Bolivian(s)

adjective: Bolivian

Ethnic groups

Mestizo (mixed White and Amerindian ancestry) 68%, Indigenous 20%, White 5%, Cholo/Chola 2%, African descent 1%, other 1%, unspecified 3%; 44% of respondents indicated feeling part of some indigenous group, predominantly Quechua or Aymara (2009 est.)

note: results among surveys vary based on the wording of the ethnicity question and the available response choices; the 2001 national census did not provide "Mestizo" as a response choice, resulting in a much higher proportion of respondents identifying themselves as belonging to one of the available indigenous ethnicity choices; the use of "Mestizo" and "Cholo" varies among response choices in surveys, with surveys using the terms interchangeably, providing one or the other as a response choice, or providing the two as separate response choices


Spanish (official) 60.7%, Quechua (official) 21.2%, Aymara (official) 14.6%, Guarani (official) 0.6%, other native languages 0.4%, foreign languages 2.4%, none 0.1%; note - Bolivia's 2009 constitution designates Spanish and all indigenous languages as official; 36 indigenous languages are specified, including a few that are extinct (2001 est.)

printed major-language sample:
La Libreta Informativa del Mundo, la fuente indispensable de información básica. (Spanish)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.


Roman Catholic 70%, Evangelical 14.5%, Adventist 2.5%, Mormon 1.2%, agnostic 0.3%, atheist 0.8%, other 3.5%, none 6.6%, unspecified 0.6% (2018 est.)

Demographic profile

Bolivia ranks at or near the bottom among Latin American countries in several areas of health and development, including poverty, education, fertility, malnutrition, mortality, and life expectancy. On the positive side, more children are being vaccinated and more pregnant women are getting prenatal care and having skilled health practitioners attend their births.

Bolivia’s income inequality is the highest in Latin America and one of the highest in the world. Public education is of poor quality, and educational opportunities are among the most unevenly distributed in Latin America, with girls and indigenous and rural children less likely to be literate or to complete primary school. The lack of access to education and family planning services helps to sustain Bolivia’s high fertility rate—approximately three children per woman. Bolivia’s lack of clean water and basic sanitation, especially in rural areas, contributes to health problems.

Between 7% and 16% of Bolivia’s population lives abroad (estimates vary in part because of illegal migration). Emigrants primarily seek jobs and better wages in Argentina (the principal destination), the US, and Spain. In recent years, more restrictive immigration policies in Europe and the US have increased the flow of Bolivian emigrants to neighboring countries. Fewer Bolivians migrated to Brazil in 2015 and 2016 because of its recession; increasing numbers have been going to Chile, mainly to work as miners.

Age structure

0-14 years: 30.34% (male 1,799,925/female 1,731,565)

15-24 years: 19.21% (male 1,133,120/female 1,103,063)

25-54 years: 38.68% (male 2,212,096/female 2,289,888)

55-64 years: 6.06% (male 323,210/female 382,139)

65 years and over: 5.71% (male 291,368/female 373,535) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 60.5

youth dependency ratio: 48.5

elderly dependency ratio: 12

potential support ratio: 8.3 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 25.3 years

male: 24.5 years

female: 26 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 160

Population growth rate

1.39% (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 72

Birth rate

20.36 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 72

Death rate

6.26 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 147

Net migration rate

-0.23 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 111

Population distribution

a high altitude plain in the west between two cordillera of the Andes, known as the Altiplano, is the focal area for most of the population; a dense settlement pattern is also found in and around the city of Santa Cruz, located on the eastern side of the Andes


urban population: 70.5% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 1.87% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

278,000 Sucre (constitutional capital) (2018); 1.882 million LA PAZ (capital), 1.749 million Santa Cruz, 1.337 million Cochabamba (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.85 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

21.2 years (2008 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality rate

155 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 56

Infant mortality rate

total: 39.27 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 43.95 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 34.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 70.7 years

male: 67.87 years

female: 73.67 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 168

Total fertility rate

2.45 children born/woman (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 75

Contraceptive prevalence rate

66.5% (2016)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 78.1% of population

total: 92.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 21.9% of population

total: 7.1% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

6.3% (2018)

Physicians density

1.59 physicians/1,000 population (2016)

Hospital bed density

1.3 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 94.1% of population

rural: 42.2% of population

total: 78% of population

unimproved: urban: 5.9% of population

rural: 57.8% of population

total: 22% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.2% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 96

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

17,000 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 87

HIV/AIDS - deaths

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

20.2% (2016)

country comparison to the world: 102

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

3.4% (2016)

country comparison to the world: 91

Education expenditures

7.3% of GDP (2014)

country comparison to the world: 11


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 92.5%

male: 96.5%

female: 88.6% (2015)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 8.8%

male: 8.2%

female: 9.7% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 138

NOTE: The information regarding Bolivia on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Bolivia 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Bolivia 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.