title
macrohistory & world report

Republic of Guatemala

Map of Guatemala

Guatemala (capital Guatemala City) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America with a GDP per capita roughly one-half that of the average for Latin America and the Caribbean. The agricultural sector accounts for 13.5% of GDP and 30% of the labor force; key agricultural exports include coffee, sugar, bananas, and vegetables. The 1996 peace accords, which ended 36 years of civil war, removed a major obstacle to foreign investment, and since then Guatemala has pursued important reforms and macroeconomic stabilization... The distribution of income remains highly unequal with the richest 20% of the population accounting for more than 51% of Guatemala's overall consumption. More than half of the population is below the national poverty line, and 13% of the population lives in extreme poverty. Poverty among indigenous groups, which make up more than 40% of the population, averages 73%, with 22% of the indigenous population living in extreme poverty. Nearly one-half of Guatemala's children under age five are chronically malnourished, one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world. Guatemala is the top remittance recipient in Central America as a result of Guatemala's large expatriate community in the United States. These inflows are a primary source of foreign income, equivalent to one-half of the country's exports or one-tenth of its GDP."

Economic growth rate
2011: 3.8%
2010: 2.8%
2009: 0.5%

Labor force in agriculture
2011: 38%

Unemployment rate
2011: 4.1%

Public debt
2011: 24.5% of GDP

Export partners
2010: US 36.8%, El Salvador 10.3%, Honduras 8.8%, Mexico 7.5%

Export/import ratio
2011: exports $10.46 billion, imports $16.6 billion

People

Living in an urban area
2010: 49%

Density estimated for 2005: 134.6 persons per square kilometer.

Ethnicities and race
2001 census: Mestizo (mixed Amerindian-Spanish - in local Spanish called Ladino) and European 59.4%, 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%

Religions
Roman Catholic, Protestant, indigenous Mayan beliefs

Net migration rate
2012: A net loss of 2.08 per 1,000 population per year

Literacy (age 15 and older)
2002 census: males 75.4%, females 63.3%

Geography

Central America. South of Mexico. Slightly smaller than Tennessee. Capital: Guatemala City.

Government

(As of May 2014) Chief of state and head of government: Otto Pérez Molina (president) since 14 January 2012, founder of the Patriotic Party in 2001 (right wing), a retired army general.

Unicameral Congress with 158 seats; members elected through a party list proportional representation system.

Capital: Guatemala City.

Recent History

World Factbook: "After almost three centuries as a Spanish colony, Guatemala won its independence in 1821. During the second half of the 20th century, it experienced a variety of military and civilian governments, as well as a 36-year guerrilla war."

"Guatemala began a new era in December 1996 when thirty-six years of civil war formally ended with the signing of the peace accords." (From the International Freedom of Expression Exchange)

2005: "Public officials in Guatemala continue to use their position to harass the media, particularly to deter investigative and critical reporting."  (From the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, March 2005)

 

SOURCES:
The World Factbook
http://www.ifex.org/

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.