Photos of Guatemala

Satellite radar topography image of a portion of Central America. Due to persistent cloud cover, obtaining conventional high-altitude photos of this region is extrordinarily difficult. Radar's ability to penetrate clouds and make 3-D measurements allowed scientists to generate the first complete high-resolution topographic map of the entire region. All of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras are visible on this image, as well as a considerable portion of southern Mexico (the Yucatan Peninsula). Image courtesy of NASA/JPL/NGA.



The Maya civilization flourished in Guatemala and surrounding regions during the first millennium A.D. 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. In 1996, the government signed a peace agreement formally ending the internal conflict.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico, and bordering the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea) between Honduras and Belize

Geographic coordinates

15 30 N, 90 15 W

Map references

Central America and the Caribbean


total: 108,889 sq km

land: 107,159 sq km

water: 1,730 sq km

comparison ranking: total 107

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 1,667 km

border countries (4): Belize 266 km; El Salvador 199 km; Honduras 244 km; Mexico 958 km


400 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation


tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands


two east-west trending mountain chains divide the country into three regions: the mountainous highlands, the Pacific coast south of mountains, and the vast northern Peten lowlands


highest point: Volcan Tajumulco (highest point in Central America) 4,220 m

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 759 m

Natural resources

petroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish, chicle, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 41.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 14.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 8.8% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 18.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 33.6% (2018 est.)

other: 25.2% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

3,375 sq km (2012)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lago de Izabal - 590 sq km

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

Natural hazards

numerous volcanoes in mountains, with occasional violent earthquakes; Caribbean coast extremely susceptible to hurricanes and other tropical storms

volcanism: significant volcanic activity in the Sierra Madre range; Santa Maria (3,772 m) has been deemed a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Pacaya (2,552 m), which erupted in May 2010 causing an ashfall on Guatemala City and prompting evacuations, is one of the country's most active volcanoes with frequent eruptions since 1965; other historically active volcanoes include Acatenango, Almolonga, Atitlan, Fuego, and Tacana; see note 2 under "Geography - note"

Geography - note

note 1: despite having both eastern and western coastlines (Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean respectively), there are no natural harbors on the west coast

note 2: Guatemala is one of the countries along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

People and Society


total: 18,255,216

male: 9,050,684

female: 9,204,532 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 70; male 68; total 69


noun: Guatemalan(s)

adjective: Guatemalan

Ethnic groups

Mestizo (mixed Indigenous-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.)

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

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Spanish audio sample:


Evangelical 45.7%, Roman Catholic 42.4%, none 11%, unspecified 0.9% (2023 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: 31.5% (male 2,925,079/female 2,819,927)

15-64 years: 63.2% (male 5,688,500/female 5,839,958)

65 years and over: 5.4% (2024 est.) (male 437,105/female 544,647)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 60.9

youth dependency ratio: 53

elderly dependency ratio: 7.9

potential support ratio: 12.7 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 24.8 years (2024 est.)

male: 24.2 years

female: 25.4 years

comparison ranking: total 174

Population growth rate

1.49% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 64

Birth rate

21.4 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 59

Death rate

4.9 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 200

Net migration rate

-1.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 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: 53.1% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

3.095 million GUATEMALA CITY (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

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

15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

20.6 years (2014/15 est.)

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

Maternal mortality ratio

96 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 70

Infant mortality rate

total: 25 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 28.1 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 21.7 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 59

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 73.5 years (2024 est.)

male: 71.5 years

female: 75.6 years

comparison ranking: total population 149

Total fertility rate

2.52 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 70

Gross reproduction rate

1.23 (2024 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 97.9% of population

rural: 92.2% of population

total: 95% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.1% of population

rural: 8% of population

total: 5% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

6.5% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

1.24 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

0.4 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 90.4% of population

rural: 66.3% of population

total: 78.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 9.6% of population

rural: 33.7% of population

total: 21.2% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2023)

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

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

21.2% (2016)

comparison ranking: 92

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 1.63 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.9 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.05 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.68 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.01 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 135

Tobacco use

total: 10.9% (2020 est.)

male: 20.1% (2020 est.)

female: 1.6% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 131

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

14.4% (2021/22)

comparison ranking: 36

Education expenditures

3.1% of GDP (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 158


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 83.3%

male: 87.7%

female: 79.3% (2021)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 10 years (2019)


Environment - current issues

deforestation in the Peten rainforest; soil erosion; water pollution

Environment - international agreements

party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands

Land use

agricultural land: 41.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 14.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 8.8% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 18.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 33.6% (2018 est.)

other: 25.2% (2018 est.)


urban population: 53.1% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.78% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 59

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 91

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 20.75 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 16.78 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 10.7 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 2,756,741 tons (2015 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lago de Izabal - 590 sq km

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 840 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 600 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 1.89 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

127.91 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Guatemala

conventional short form: Guatemala

local long form: República de Guatemala

local short form: Guatemala

etymology: the Spanish conquistadors used many native Americans as allies in their conquest of Guatemala; the site of their first capital (established in 1524), a former Maya settlement, was called "Quauhtemallan" by their Nahuatl-speaking Mexican allies, a name that means "land of trees" or "forested land", but which the Spanish pronounced "Guatemala"; the Spanish applied that name to a re-founded capital city three years later and eventually it became the name of the country

Government type

presidential republic


name: Guatemala City

geographic coordinates: 14 37 N, 90 31 W

time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the Spanish conquistadors used many native Americans as allies in their conquest of Guatemala; the site of their first capital (established in 1524), a former Maya settlement, was called "Quauhtemallan" by their Nahuatl-speaking Mexican allies, a name that means "land of trees" or "forested land", but which the Spanish pronounced "Guatemala"; the Spanish applied that name to a re-founded capital city three years later and eventually it became the name of the country

Administrative divisions

22 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, Chimaltenango, Chiquimula, El Progreso, Escuintla, Guatemala, Huehuetenango, Izabal, Jalapa, Jutiapa, Peten, Quetzaltenango, Quiche, Retalhuleu, Sacatepequez, San Marcos, Santa Rosa, Solola, Suchitepequez, Totonicapan, Zacapa


15 September 1821 (from Spain)

National holiday

Independence Day, 15 September (1821)


history: several previous; latest adopted 31 May 1985, effective 14 January 1986; suspended and reinstated in 1994

amendments: proposed by the president of the republic, by agreement of 10 or more deputies of Congress, by the Constitutional Court, or by public petition of at least 5,000 citizens; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote by the Congress membership and approval by public referendum, referred to as "popular consultation"; constitutional articles such as national sovereignty, the republican form of government, limitations on those seeking the presidency, or presidential tenure cannot be amended; amended 1993

Legal system

civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years with no absences of six consecutive months or longer or absences totaling more than a year


18 years of age; universal; note - active duty members of the armed forces and police by law cannot vote and are restricted to their barracks on election day

Executive branch

chief of state: President Bernardo ARÉVALO de León (since 15 January 2024); Vice President Karin HERRERA (since 15 January 2024); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Bernardo ARÉVALO de León (since 15 January 2024); Vice President Karin HERRERA (since 15 January 2024)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on the same ballot by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 4-year term (not eligible for consecutive terms); election last held on 25 June 2023 with a runoff on 20 August 2023 (next to be held in June 2027)

election results:
Bernardo ARÉVALO de León elected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - Sandra TORRES (UNE) 21%; Bernardo ARÉVALO de León (SEMILLA) 15.6%, Manuel CONDE Orellana (VAMOS) 10.4%; Armando CASTILLO Alvarado (VIVA) 9.6%, other 43.4%; percent of vote in second round - Bernardo ARÉVALO de León 60.9%, Sandra TORRES 39.1%

Alejandro GIAMMATTEI elected president; percent of vote in first round - Sandra TORRES (UNE) 25.5%, Alejandro GIAMMATTEI (VAMOS) 14%, Edmond MULET (PHG) 11.2%, Thelma CABRERA (MLP) 10.4%, Roberto ARZU (PAN-PODEMOS) 6.1%, other 32.8%; percent of vote in second round - Alejandro GIAMMATTEI 58%, Sandra TORRES 42%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Congress of the Republic or Congreso de la Republica (160 seats; 128 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies in the country's 22 departments and 32 directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by closed party-list proportional representation vote, using the D'Hondt method; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 25 June 2023 (next to be held in June 2027)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - VAMOS 39, UNE 28, SEMILLA 23, CABAL 18, Valor-Unionist 12, VIVA 11, TODOS 6, VOS 4, BIEN 4, CREO 3, PPN 3, Victoria 3, Blue 2, Elephant 2, Change 1, Winaq-URNG 1; composition - men 128, women 32, percentage women 20%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (consists of 13 magistrates, including the court president and organized into 3 chambers); note - the court president also supervises trial judges countrywide; note - the Constitutional Court or Corte de Constitucionalidad of Guatemala resides outside the country's judicial system; its sole purpose is the interpretation of the constitution and to see that the laws and regulations are not superior to the constitution (consists of 5 titular magistrates and 5 substitute magistrates)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court magistrates elected by the Congress of the Republic from candidates proposed by the Postulation Committee, an independent body of deans of the country's university law schools, representatives of the country's law associations, and representatives of the Courts of Appeal; magistrates elected for concurrent, renewable 5-year terms; Constitutional Court judges - 1 elected by the Congress of the Republic, 1 by the Supreme Court, 1 by the president of the republic, 1 by the (public) University of San Carlos, and 1 by the Assembly of the College of Attorneys and Notaries; judges elected for renewable, consecutive 5-year terms; the presidency of the court rotates among the magistrates for a single 1-year term

subordinate courts: Appellate Courts of Accounts, Contentious Administrative Tribunal, courts of appeal, first instance courts, child and adolescence courts, minor or peace courts

Political parties and leaders

Bienestar Nacional or BIEN [Fidel REYES LEE]
Blue Party (Partido Azul) or Blue [Jorge VILLAGRÁN]
Cambio [Manuel BALDIZÓN]
Citizen Prosperity or PC [Hernan MEJIA and Jorge GARCIA SILVA]
Commitment, Renewal, and Order or CREO [Rodolfo NEUTZE]
Elephant Community (Comunidad Elefante) or Elephant [Hugo PEÑA Medina]
Everyone Together for Guatemala or TODOS [Felipe ALEJOS]
Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity or URNG-MAIZ or URNG [Walter FELIX]
Humanist Party of Guatemala or PHG [Rudio MERIDA]
Movement for the Liberation of Peoples or MLP [Thelma CABRERA and Vincenta JERONIMO]
Movimiento Semilla or SEMILLA [Bernardo ARÉVALO de León]
National Advancement Party or PAN [Manuel CONDE]
National Convergence Front or FCN-NACION [Javier HERNANDEZ]
National Unity for Hope or UNE [Adim MALDONADO]
Nationalist Change Union or UCN [Carlos ROJAS and Sofia HERNANDEZ] (dissolved 16 December 2021)
Nosotros or PPN [Rudy GUZMAN and Nadia de LEÓN Torres]
Political Movement Winaq or Winaq [Sonia GUTIERREZ Raguay]
Value or VALOR [Zury RIOS and Lucrecia MARROQUIN]
Vamos por una Guatemala Diferente or VAMOS [Alejandro GIAMMATTEI]
Victory or VICTORIA [Juan Carlos RIVERA]
Vision with Values or VIVA [Armando Damian CASTILLO Alvarado]
Will, Opportunity and Solidarity (Voluntad, Oportunidad y Solidaridad) or VOS [Orlando BLANCO]

International organization participation

ACS, BCIE, CACM, CD, CELAC, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, Petrocaribe, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNISFA, UNITAR, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNOOSA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d'Affaires Viviana Raquel ARENAS AGUILAR (since 30 January 2024)

chancery: 2220 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 745-4953

FAX: [1] (202) 745-1908

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Columbus (OH), Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville (TN), New York, Oklahoma City, Omaha (NE), Philadelphia, Phoenix, Providence (RI), Raleigh (NC), Rockville (MD), San Francisco, Seattle

consulate(s): Dallas, Del Rio (TX), Lake Worth (FL), McAllen (TX), Riverhead (NY), San Bernardino (CA), Tucson (AZ)

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Tobin BRADLEY (since 12 February 2024)

embassy: Avenida Reforma 7-01, Zone 10, Guatemala City

mailing address: 3190 Guatemala Place, Washington DC  20521-3190

telephone: [502] 2326-4000

FAX: [502] 2326-4654

email address and website:

Flag description

three equal vertical bands of light blue (hoist side), white, and light blue, with the coat of arms centered in the white band; the coat of arms includes a green and red quetzal (the national bird) representing liberty and a scroll bearing the inscription LIBERTAD 15 DE SEPTIEMBRE DE 1821 (the original date of independence from Spain) - all superimposed on a pair of crossed rifles signifying Guatemala's willingness to defend itself and a pair of crossed swords representing honor - and framed by a laurel wreath symbolizing victory; the blue bands represent the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea; the white band denotes peace and purity

note: one of only two national flags featuring a firearm, the other is Mozambique

National symbol(s)

quetzal (bird); national colors: blue, white

National anthem

name: "Himno Nacional de Guatemala" (National Anthem of Guatemala)

lyrics/music: Jose Joaquin PALMA/Rafael Alvarez OVALLE

note: adopted 1897, modified lyrics adopted 1934; Cuban poet Jose Joaquin PALMA anonymously submitted lyrics to a public contest calling for a national anthem; his authorship was not discovered until 1911

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 4 (3 cultural, 1 mixed)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Antigua Guatemala (c); Tikal National Park (m); Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua (c); National Archaeological Park Tak'alik Ab'aj (c)


Economic overview

developing Central American economy; steady economic growth fueled by remittances; high poverty and income inequality; limited government services, lack of employment opportunities, and frequent natural disasters impede human development efforts and drive emigration

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$159.034 billion (2022 est.)
$152.744 billion (2021 est.)
$141.426 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 77

Real GDP growth rate

4.12% (2022 est.)
8% (2021 est.)
-1.79% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 104

Real GDP per capita

$9,200 (2022 est.)
$8,900 (2021 est.)
$8,400 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 148

GDP (official exchange rate)

$95.003 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

6.89% (2022 est.)
4.26% (2021 est.)
3.21% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 109

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: BB- (2020)

Moody's rating: Ba1 (2010)

Standard & Poors rating: BB- (2017)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 13.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 23.4% (2017 est.)

services: 63.2% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 101; industry 121; agriculture 73

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 86.3% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 9.7% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 12.3% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -0.2% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 18.8% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -26.9% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

sugarcane, bananas, oil palm fruit, maize, cantaloupes/melons, potatoes, milk, tomatoes, chicken, pineapples (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage


sugar, textiles and clothing, furniture, chemicals, petroleum, metals, rubber, tourism

Industrial production growth rate

4.64% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 68

Labor force

7.069 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 67

Unemployment rate

3.05% (2022 est.)
2.17% (2021 est.)
2.88% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 45

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 7.2% (2021 est.)

male: 6.3%

female: 9.4%

comparison ranking: total 176

Population below poverty line

59.3% (2014 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

48.3 (2014 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 15

Average household expenditures

on food: 41.2% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 1.6% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.7%

highest 10%: 38.1% (2014 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population


19.16% of GDP (2022 est.)
17.9% of GDP (2021 est.)
14.68% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities


revenues: $8.647 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $10.373 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-1.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 86

Public debt

31.56% of GDP (2020 est.)
26.49% of GDP (2019 est.)
26.48% of GDP (2018 est.)

note: central government debt as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 166

Taxes and other revenues

11.61% (of GDP) (2021 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 175

Current account balance

$1.243 billion (2022 est.)
$1.89 billion (2021 est.)
$3.918 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 45


$18.127 billion (2022 est.)
$15.246 billion (2021 est.)
$12.713 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 92

Exports - partners

US 32%, El Salvador 12%, Honduras 10%, Nicaragua 6%, Mexico 4% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

garments, coffee, bananas, palm oil, raw sugar (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars


$33.938 billion (2022 est.)
$27.343 billion (2021 est.)
$19.267 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 77

Imports - partners

US 34%, China 18%, Mexico 9%, El Salvador 4%, Costa Rica 3% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, video displays, paper, plastic products, cars (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$20.415 billion (2022 est.)
$20.935 billion (2021 est.)
$18.464 billion (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 71

Debt - external

$22.92 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$21.45 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 91

Exchange rates

quetzales (GTQ) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
7.748 (2022 est.)
7.734 (2021 est.)
7.722 (2020 est.)
7.697 (2019 est.)
7.519 (2018 est.)


Electricity access

population without electricity: 1 million (2020)

electrification - total population: 97.8% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 97.6% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 98.1% (2021)


installed generating capacity: 5.185 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 10,793,650,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 2.19 billion kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 1.141 billion kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 1.587 billion kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 87; transmission/distribution losses 117; imports 70; exports 49; consumption 99

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 39.4% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 1.5% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 2.1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 38% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 2.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 17% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 2.28 million metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 2.376 million metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 10,300 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 112,600 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 6,700 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 86.1 million barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

1,162 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 105

Refined petroleum products - exports

10,810 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 80

Refined petroleum products - imports

97,900 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 55

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

19.041 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 5.037 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 14.004 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 85

Energy consumption per capita

19.411 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 135


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 1.918 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 11 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 52

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 20.553 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 115 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 62

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Guatemala’s telecom infrastructure has suffered from years of under investment from state and provincial government; the poor state of fixed-line infrastructure has led to Guatemala having one of the lowest fixed-line teledensities in the region; in many rural regions of the country there is no fixed-line access available, and so mobile services are adopted by necessity; private investment has been supported by government and regulatory efforts, resulting in a steady growth in the number of fixed lines which has supported growth in the fixed broadband segment; delays in launching LTE services left the country lagging behind in the development of mobile broadband and the benefits which it can bring to the country's social and economic growth; two new submarine cables are due for completion by 2022; improved international connectivity should drive further uptake of both fixed and mobile broadband services; intense competition among the networks has helped to improve services and lower prices for end-users; given the commercial impetus of networks, insufficient government financial investment has resulted in many regional areas remaining with poor or non-existent services; the country benefits from one of the most open regulatory frameworks, with all telecom sectors having been open to competition since 1996; mobile subscriptions are on par with the regional average, though the slower growth in the mobile subscriber base suggests a level of market saturation, with the emphasis among networks being on generating revenue via mobile data services (2021)

domestic: fixed-line teledensity roughly 13 per 100 persons; fixed-line investments are concentrating on improving rural connectivity; mobile-cellular teledensity about 126 per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 502; landing points for the ARCOS, AMX-1, American Movil-Texius West Coast Cable and the SAm-1 fiber-optic submarine cable system that, together, provide connectivity to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; connected to Central American Microwave System; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

Broadcast media

4 privately owned national terrestrial TV channels dominate TV broadcasting; multi-channel satellite and cable services are available; 1 government-owned radio station and hundreds of privately owned radio stations (2019)

Internet users

total: 9.18 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 51% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 63

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 612,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 86


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 3 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 5

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 145,795 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 110,000 (2018) mt-km


58 (2024)

comparison ranking: 78


2 (2024)


480 km oil (2013)


total: 800 km (2018)

narrow gauge: 800 km (2018) 0.914-m gauge

note: despite the existence of a railway network, all rail service was suspended in 2007 and no passenger or freight train currently runs in the country (2018)

comparison ranking: total 96


total: 17,440 km

paved: 7,420 km

unpaved: 9,440 km (2022)

comparison ranking: total 118


990 km (2012) (260 km navigable year round; additional 730 km navigable during high-water season)

comparison ranking: 71

Merchant marine

total: 9 (2023)

by type: oil tanker 1, other 8

comparison ranking: total 162


total ports: 3 (2024)

large: 0

medium: 0

small: 2

very small: 1

ports with oil terminals: 2

key ports: Puerto Barrios, Puerto Quetzal, Santo Tomas de Castilla

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Army of Guatemala (Ejercito de Guatemala; aka Armed Forces of Guatemala or Fuerzas Armadas de Guatemala): Land Forces (Fuerzas de Tierra), Naval Forces (Fuerzas de Mar), and Air Force (Fuerza de Aire) (2024)

note: the National Civil Police (Policia Nacional Civil or PNC) are under the Ministry of Government (Interior)

Military expenditures

0.4% of GDP (2023 est.)
0.4% of GDP (2022 est.)
0.4% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.4% of GDP (2020 est.)
0.4% of GDP (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 162

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 20,000 active military personnel (18,000 Land Forces; 1,000 Naval Forces; 1,000 Air Forces); approximately 30,000 National Civil Police (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory is limited and mostly comprised of older US equipment; in recent years, Guatemala has received small amounts of equipment from several countries, including Colombia, Spain, and the US (2023)

Military service age and obligation

all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 50 are eligible for military service; most of the force is volunteer; a selective draft system is employed, resulting in a small portion of 17-21 year-olds being conscripted; conscript service obligation varies from 12-24 months; women may volunteer (2023)

note: as of 2017, women comprised up to 10% of the active military

Military deployments

190 Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) (2024)

Military - note

the military is responsible for maintaining sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the honor of Guatemala, but has long focused on internal security; since the 2000s, the Guatemalan Government has used the military extensively to support the National Civil Police in internal security operations (as permitted by the constitution) to combat organized crime, gang violence, and narco-trafficking; in recent years, however, the military has moved to refocus on border security and preparing for conventional operations; it participates in UN missions on a small scale and has a peacekeeping operations training command that offers training to regional countries; the military has security ties with regional partners such as Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, and Honduras; cooperation with El Salvador and Honduras has included a combined police-military anti-gang task force to patrol border areas; it also has ties with the US, including joint training exercises and material assistance

the Land Forces are organized into small combat brigades of infantry, marines, military police, paratroopers, presidential guards, and special forces, including some specialized for jungle and mountain operations that were created to assist in combating crime; the Naval Force has commands for both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, operates a small flotilla of patrol boats, and has a special forces element; the Air Force has a few light fixed-wing ground attack aircraft and multipurpose helicopters; for its internal security missions and supporting the police, the military has typically organized into task forces

the military held power during most of Guatemala’s 36-year civil war (1960-1996) and conducted a campaign of widespread violence and repression, particularly against the country’s majority indigenous population; more than 200,000 people were estimated to have been killed or disappeared during the conflict (2023)

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

IDPs: 242,000 (more than three decades of internal conflict that ended in 1996 displaced mainly the indigenous Maya population and rural peasants; ongoing drug cartel and gang violence) (2022)

Illicit drugs

a major transit country for illegal drugs; illicit cultivation of opium poppies, marijuana, and coca plants in rural areas; a major source of precursor or essential chemicals used in the production of illicit narcotics