A cross overlooks the city of Antigua in the central highlands of Guatemala; the Volcan de Agua (Volcano of Water) appears in the background.
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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

country comparison to the world: 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

Map description

Guatemala map showing major cities as well as parts of surrounding countries and the North Pacific Ocean.

People and Society

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: 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% (2020 est.) (male 363,460/female 442,066)

2022 population pyramid
2022 population pyramid

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

Birth rate

22.34 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 56

Death rate

4.91 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 199

Net migration rate

-1.66 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 162

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: 52.7% of total population (2022)

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

Major urban areas - population

3.036 million GUATEMALA CITY (capital) (2022)

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: 0.68 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2022 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 ratio

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

country comparison to the world: 72

Infant mortality rate

total: 26.18 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 29.51 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 22.69 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 63

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 72.91 years

male: 70.88 years

female: 75.04 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 150

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.)

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.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

(2020 est.) <1,000

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

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.)

country comparison to the world: 135

Tobacco use

total: 10.9% (2020 est.)

male: 20.1% (2020 est.)

female: 1.6% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 131

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 80.8%

male: 85.3%

female: 76.7% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 10 years (2019)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 4.6%

male: 4%

female: 5.7% (2019 est.)

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

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 23.59 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 16.78 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 10.7 megatons (2020 est.)

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: 52.7% of total population (2022)

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

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 106

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

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: 835 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 603.1 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 1.886 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

127.91 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Guatemala

conventional short form: Guatemala

local long form: Republica 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 Alejandro GIAMMATTEI (since 14 January 2020); Vice President Cesar Guillermo CASTILLO Reyes (since 14 January 2020); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Alejandro GIAMMATTEI (since 14 January 2020); Vice President Cesar Guillermo CASTILLO Reyes (since 14 January 2020)

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 16 June 2019 with a runoff on 11 August 2019 (next to be held in June 2023)

election results:
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 (VAMOS) 58%, Sandra TORRES (UNE) 42%

2015: Jimmy Ernesto MORALES Cabrera elected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - Jimmy Ernesto MORALES Cabrera (FNC) 23.9%, Sandra TORRES (UNE) 19.8%, Manuel BALDIZON (LIDER) 19.6%, other 36.7%; percent of vote in second round - Jimmy Ernesto MORALES Cabrera 67.4%, Sandra TORRES 32.6%

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 16 June 2019 (next to be held on June 2023)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UNE 52, VAMOS 17, UCN 12, VALOR 9, BIEN 8, FCN-NACION 8, SEMILLA 7, TODOS 7, VIVA 7, CREO 6, PHG 6, VICTORIA 4, Winaq 4, PC 3, PU 3, URNG 3, PAN 2, MLP 1, PODEMOS 1; composition - men 129, women 31, percent of women 19.4%

Judicial branch

highest courts: 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]
Citizen Prosperity or PC [Hernan MEJIA and Jorge GARCIA SILVA]
Commitment, Renewal, and Order or CREO [Rodolfo NEUTZE]
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 [Samuel PEREZ Alvarez]
National Advancement Party or PAN [Manuel CONDE]
National Convergence Front or FCN-NACION [Javier HERNANDEZ]
National Unity for Hope or UNE [Sandra TORRES and Jorge VARGAS]
Nationalist Change Union or UCN [Carlos ROJAS and Sofia HERNANDEZ] (dissolved 16 December 2021)
PODEMOS [Jose LEON]
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 [Abraham RIVERA and his four sons  Amilcar, Juan, Manuel, and Edgar]
Vision with Values or VIVA [Armando Damian CASTILLO Alvarado]

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 William W. POPP (since 13 August 2020)

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: 3 (2 cultural, 1 mixed)

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

Economy

Economic overview

Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America with a GDP per capita roughly half the average for Latin America and the Caribbean. The agricultural sector accounts for 13.5% of GDP and 31% of the labor force; key agricultural exports include sugar, coffee, bananas, and vegetables. Guatemala is the top remittance recipient in Central America as a result of Guatemala's large expatriate community in the US. These inflows are a primary source of foreign income, equivalent to two-thirds of the country's exports and about a tenth of its GDP.

 

The 1996 peace accords, which ended 36 years of civil war, removed a major obstacle to foreign investment, and Guatemala has since pursued important reforms and macroeconomic stabilization. The Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) entered into force in July 2006, spurring increased investment and diversification of exports, with the largest increases in ethanol and non-traditional agricultural exports. While CAFTA-DR has helped improve the investment climate, concerns over security, the lack of skilled workers, and poor infrastructure continue to hamper foreign direct investment.

 

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 23% of the population lives in extreme poverty. Poverty among indigenous groups, which make up more than 40% of the population, averages 79%, with 40% 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.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$141.5 billion (2020 est.)

$143.68 billion (2019 est.)

$138.33 billion (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 76

Real GDP growth rate

2.8% (2017 est.)

3.1% (2016 est.)

4.1% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 103

Real GDP per capita

$8,400 (2020 est.)

$8,700 (2019 est.)

$8,500 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 148

GDP (official exchange rate)

$76.678 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

3.7% (2019 est.)

3.7% (2018 est.)

4.4% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 158

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: BB- (2020)

Moody's rating: Ba1 (2010)

Standard & Poors rating: BB- (2017)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 13.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 23.4% (2017 est.)

services: 63.2% (2017 est.)

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

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 31.4%

industry: 12.8%

services: 55.8% (2017 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.6%

highest 10%: 38.4% (2014)

Budget

revenues: 8.164 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 9.156 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

24.7% of GDP (2017 est.)

24.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 175

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$1.134 billion (2017 est.)

$1.023 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 48

Exports

$13.12 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$13.6 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$13.35 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 97

Exports - partners

United States 33%, El Salvador 12%, Honduras 8%, Mexico 5%, Nicaragua 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

bananas, raw sugar, coffee, cardamom, palm oil (2019)

Imports

$19.3 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$21.52 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$21.17 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 87

Imports - partners

United States 36%, China 12%, Mexico 11%, El Salvador 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, broadcasting equipment, packaged medicines, cars, delivery trucks (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$11.77 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$9.156 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 71

Debt - external

$22.92 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$21.45 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 91

Exchange rates

quetzales (GTQ) per US dollar -

7.323 (2017 est.)

7.5999 (2016 est.)

7.5999 (2015 est.)

7.6548 (2014 est.)

7.7322 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 92% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 99% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 85% (2019)

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.)

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 barrels/day (2018 est.)

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

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

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.)

country comparison to the world: 85

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 2,272,467 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 54

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 20,390,671 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 114 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 60

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; key players including Millicom (operating as Tigo Guatemala) and América Móvil are regional and global powerhouses which can tap into expertise and financial resources to bolster their Guatemalan businesses; the acquisition of Telefónica’s Guatemala business by América Móvil in 2019 created a strong competitor to Millicom, which dominates the mobile sector; 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; América Móvil controls about 85.1% of the fixed-lines market through its subsidiaries Claro and Movistar; mobile telephony is the most developed telecom market sector in Guatemala, accounting for 90% of connections in the country; 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 114 per 100 persons (2020)

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)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced a downturn, particularly in mobile device production; progress towards 5G implementation has resumed, as well as upgrades to infrastructure; consumer spending on telecom services has increased due to the surge in demand for capacity and bandwidth; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home is still evident, and the spike in this area has seen growth opportunities for development of new tools and increased services

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: 8,429,167 (2020 est.)

percent of population: 50% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 64

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 612,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 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 - with paved runways

total: 16

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 6

under 914 m: 4 (2021)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 275

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 77

under 914 m: 195 (2021)

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)

country comparison to the world: 97

Roadways

total: 17,440 km (2020)

paved: 7,458 km (2020)

unpaved: 9,982 km (2020) (includes 4,548 km of rural roads)

country comparison to the world: 118

Waterways

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

country comparison to the world: 71

Merchant marine

total: 9

by type: oil tanker 1, other 8 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 158

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): Land Forces (Fuerzas de Tierra), Naval Forces (Fuerzas de Mar), and Air Force (Fuerza de Aire); Ministry of Government (Interior): National Civil Police (Policia Nacional Civil; includes paramilitary units) (2022)

Military expenditures

0.4% of GDP (2021 est.)

0.4% of GDP (2020)

0.4% of GDP (2019) (approximately $530 million)

0.4% of GDP (2018) (approximately $470 million)

0.4% of GDP (2017) (approximately $460 million)

country comparison to the world: 161

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 (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Guatemalan military inventory is small and mostly comprised of older US equipment; since 2010, Guatemala has received small amounts of equipment from several countries, including the US (2022)

Military service age and obligation

all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 50 are eligible for military service; in practice, most of the force is volunteer, however, a selective draft system is employed, resulting in a small portion of 17-21 year-olds being conscripted; conscript service obligation varies from 1 to 2 years; women may volunteer (2022)

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

Military deployments

155 Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) (May 2022)

Military - note

since the 2000s, the Guatemalan Government has used the Army to support the National Civil Police in internal security operations (as permitted by the constitution) to combat organized crime, gang violence, and narco-trafficking 

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 (2022)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

annual ministerial meetings under the Organization of American States-initiated Agreement on the Framework for Negotiations and Confidence Building Measures continue to address Guatemalan land and maritime claims in Belize and the Caribbean Sea; Guatemala persists in its territorial claim to half of Belize, but agrees to Line of Adjacency to keep Guatemalan squatters out of Belize's forested interior; both countries agreed in April 2012 to hold simultaneous referenda, scheduled for 6 October 2013, to decide whether to refer the dispute to the ICJ for binding resolution, but this vote was suspended indefinitely; Mexico must deal with thousands of impoverished Guatemalans and other Central Americans who cross the porous border looking for work in Mexico and the US

Refugees and internally displaced persons

IDPs: 243,000 (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) (2021)

Illicit drugs

a major transit country for illegal drugs destined for the United States with increasing cultivation originating from Guatemala; farmers  cultivate opium poppy and cannabis