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


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%

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%


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


(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)


The World Factbook

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