Photos of Guatemala

Introduction

Background

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.

Geography

Location

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

Area

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

Coastline

400 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

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

Climate

tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands

Terrain

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

Elevation

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

Population

17,980,803 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 69

Nationality

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.)

Languages

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:

Religions

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: 31.98% (male 2,927,423/female 2,822,441)

15-64 years: 62.78% (male 5,568,051/female 5,720,928)

65 years and over: 5.24% (2023 est.) (male 420,782/female 521,178)

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: 24.4 years (2023 est.)

male: 23.8 years

female: 25 years

comparison ranking: total 172

Population growth rate

1.54% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 66

Birth rate

21.9 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 60

Death rate

4.9 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 200

Net migration rate

-1.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 164

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

Urbanization

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: 0.81 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2023 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: 25.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 28.8 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 22.2 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 61

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 73.2 years (2023 est.)

male: 71.2 years

female: 75.3 years

comparison ranking: total population 148

Total fertility rate

2.57 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 70

Gross reproduction rate

1.25 (2023 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

Literacy

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

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

Climate

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.)

Urbanization

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.)

Government

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

Capital

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

Independence

15 September 1821 (from Spain)

National holiday

Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

Constitution

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

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

Suffrage

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:
2023:
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%

2019:
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, percent of 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]
CABAL [Edmond MULET]
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]
PODEMOS [Jose LEON]
Political Movement Winaq or Winaq [Sonia GUTIERREZ Raguay]
TODOS [Felipe ALEJOS]
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

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, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Alfonso Jose QUINONEZ LEMUS (since 17 July 2020)

chancery: 2220 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 745-4953

FAX: [1] (202) 745-1908

email address and website:
infoembaguateeuu@minex.gob.gt

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Del Rio (TX), Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, McAllen (TX), Miami, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Providence (RI), Raleigh (NC), San Bernardino (CA), San Francisco, Seattle

consulate(s): Lake Worth (FL), Silver Spring (MD), Tucson (AZ)

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d'Affaires Patrick VENTRELL (since August 2023)

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:
AmCitsGuatemala@state.gov

https://gt.usembassy.gov/

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)

Economy

Economic overview

growing Central American economy; unique South Korean business relations; high poverty, inequality, and malnutrition; low government revenues impede educational, sanitation, and healthcare efforts; high migration, child labor, and remittances

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$152.734 billion (2021 est.)
$141.445 billion (2020 est.)
$143.985 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 77

Real GDP growth rate

7.98% (2021 est.)
-1.76% (2020 est.)
4% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 41

Real GDP per capita

$8,900 (2021 est.)
$8,400 (2020 est.)
$8,700 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 151

GDP (official exchange rate)

$76.678 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

4.26% (2021 est.)
3.21% (2020 est.)
3.7% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 145

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

sugar cane, bananas, oil palm fruit, maize, melons, potatoes, milk, plantains, pineapples, rubber

Industries

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

Industrial production growth rate

8.49% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 47

Labor force

6.671 million (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 71

Unemployment rate

3.57% (2021 est.)
3.55% (2020 est.)
2.19% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 43

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 7.2% (2021 est.)

male: 6.3%

female: 9.4%

comparison ranking: total 176

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%: 1.6%

highest 10%: 38.4% (2014)

Budget

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.)

comparison ranking: 168

Taxes and other revenues

9.97% (of GDP) (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 192

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$2.113 billion (2021 est.)
$3.918 billion (2020 est.)
$1.821 billion (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 43

Exports

$15.318 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$12.713 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$13.598 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

comparison ranking: 91

Exports - partners

United States 32%, El Salvador 12%, Honduras 10%, Nicaragua 6%, Mexico 4% (2021)

Exports - commodities

clothing, bananas, coffee, palm oil, cardamoms, raw sugar, iron alloys (2021)

Imports

$27.388 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$19.267 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$21.527 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

comparison ranking: 78

Imports - partners

United States 33%, China 17%, Mexico 9%, El Salvador 5%, Costa Rica 3% (2021)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, broadcasting equipment, cars, packaged medicines, delivery trucks, clothing and apparel, polymers (2021)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$20.935 billion (31 December 2021 est.)
$18.464 billion (31 December 2020 est.)
$14.784 billion (31 December 2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 65

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:
7.734 (2021 est.)
7.722 (2020 est.)
7.697 (2019 est.)
7.519 (2018 est.)
7.348 (2017 est.)

Energy

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)

Electricity

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.)

Coal

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.)

Petroleum

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

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 1,917,670 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 52

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 22,124,839 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 126 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 58

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

Transportation

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

Airports

291 (2021)

comparison ranking: total 23

Airports - with paved runways

16

note: paved runways have a concrete or asphalt surface but not all have facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control; the length of a runway required for aircraft to safely operate depends on a number of factors including the type of aircraft, the takeoff weight (including passengers, cargo, and fuel), engine types, flap settings, landing speed, elevation of the airport, and average maximum daily air temperature; paved runways can reach a length of 5,000 m (16,000 ft.), but the “typical” length of a commercial airline runway is between 2,500-4,000 m (8,000-13,000 ft.)

Airports - with unpaved runways

275

note: unpaved runways have a surface composition such as grass or packed earth and are most suited to the operation of light aircraft; unpaved runways are usually short, often less than 1,000 m (3,280 ft.) in length; airports with unpaved runways often lack facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control

Heliports

1 (2021)

Pipelines

480 km oil (2013)

Railways

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

Roadways

total: 17,440 km (2022)

paved: 7,420 km (2022)

unpaved: 9,440 km (2022)

comparison ranking: total 118

Waterways

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 163

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): 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) (2023)

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

Military expenditures

0.5% of GDP (2022 est.)
0.4% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.4% of GDP (2020 est.)
0.4% of GDP (2019 est.)
0.4% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 160

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

150 Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) (2023)

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

Disputes - international

Guatemala-Belize: demarcated but disputed boundary due to Guatemala’s claims to more than half of Belizean territory; line of Adjacency operates in lieu of an international boundary to control influx of Guatemalan squatters onto Belizean territory; smuggling, narcotics trafficking, and human trafficking are also problems; the dispute was referred to the ICJ in 2019 for binding resolution; the 12-nm territorial sea claims of Belize and Honduras close off Guatemalan access to Caribbean in the Bahia de Amatique; maritime boundary remains unresolved pending further negotiation

Guatemala-
Mexico: thousands of impoverished Guatemalans and other Central Americans cross the porous border with Mexico looking for work in Mexico and the US

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