Guatemala People - 2021


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese


17,422,821 (July 2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 67


noun: Guatemalan(s)

adjective: Guatemalan

Ethnic groups

Mestizo (mixed Amerindian-Spanish - in local Spanish called Ladino) 56%, Maya 41.7%, Xinca (Indigenous, non-Maya) 1.8%, African descent 0.2%, Garifuna (mixed West and Central African, Island Carib, and Arawak) 0.1%, foreign 0.2% (2018 est.)


Spanish (official) 69.9%, Maya languages 29.7% (Q'eqchi' 8.3%, K'iche 7.8%, Mam 4.4%, Kaqchikel 3%, Q'anjob'al 1.2%, Poqomchi' 1%, other 4%), other 0.4% (includes Xinca and Garifuna); note - the 2003 Law of National Languages officially recognized 23 indigenous languages, including 21 Maya languages, Xinca, and Garifuna (2018 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 41.7%, Evangelical 38.8%, other 2.7%, atheist 0.1%, none 13.8%, unspecified 2.9% (2018 est.)

Demographic profile

Guatemala is a predominantly poor country that struggles in several areas of health and development, including infant, child, and maternal mortality, malnutrition, literacy, and contraceptive awareness and use. The country's large indigenous population is disproportionately affected. Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America and has the highest fertility rate in Latin America. It also has the highest population growth rate in Latin America, which is likely to continue because of its large reproductive-age population and high birth rate. Almost half of Guatemala's population is under age 19, making it the youngest population in Latin America. Guatemala's total fertility rate has slowly declined during the last few decades due in part to limited government-funded health programs. However, the birth rate is still more close to three children per woman and is markedly higher among its rural and indigenous populations.

Guatemalans have a history of emigrating legally and illegally to Mexico, the United States, and Canada because of a lack of economic opportunity, political instability, and natural disasters. Emigration, primarily to the United States, escalated during the 1960 to 1996 civil war and accelerated after a peace agreement was signed. Thousands of Guatemalans who fled to Mexico returned after the war, but labor migration to southern Mexico continues.

Age structure

0-14 years: 33.68% (male 2,944,145/female 2,833,432)

15-24 years: 19.76% (male 1,705,730/female 1,683,546)

25-54 years: 36.45% (male 3,065,933/female 3,186,816)

55-64 years: 5.41% (male 431,417/female 496,743)

65 years and over: 4.7% (male 363,460/female 442,066) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 62.3

youth dependency ratio: 54.1

elderly dependency ratio: 8.2

potential support ratio: 12.2 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 23.2 years

male: 22.6 years

female: 23.8 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 178

Population growth rate

1.62% (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 61

Birth rate

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

country comparison to the world: 55

Death rate

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

country comparison to the world: 198

Net migration rate

-1.69 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 161

Population distribution

the vast majority of the populace resides in the southern half of the country, particularly in the mountainous regions; more than half of the population lives in rural areas


urban population: 52.2% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 2.59% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

2.983 million GUATEMALA CITY (capital) (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

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

15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.87 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

20.6 years (2014/15 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality rate

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

country comparison to the world: 72

Infant mortality rate

total: 26.81 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 30.23 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 23.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 64

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 72.63 years

male: 70.59 years

female: 74.77 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 153

Total fertility rate

2.67 children born/woman (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 63

Contraceptive prevalence rate

60.6% (2014/15)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 97.9% of population

rural: 92.2% of population

total: 95.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.1% of population

rural: 7.8% of population

total: 4.8% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

5.7% (2018)

Physicians density

0.36 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

0.4 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 91.4% of population

rural: 61.7% of population

total: 76.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 8.6% of population

rural: 38.3% of population

total: 23.3% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.2% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 99

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

33,000 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 70

HIV/AIDS - deaths

1,200 country comparison to the world: 55

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

21.2% (2016)

country comparison to the world: 93

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

12.4% (2014/15)

country comparison to the world: 46

Education expenditures

3.2% of GDP (2019)

country comparison to the world: 126


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 81.5%

male: 87.4%

female: 76.3% (2015)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 11 years (2015)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 5%

male: 3.7%

female: 8.1% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 166

NOTE: The information regarding Guatemala 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 Guatemala 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Guatemala 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.