Guatemala

Country Summary

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. Despite having both eastern and western coastlines (Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean respectively), there are no natural harbors on the west coast.

Geography

Area

total: 108,889 sq km
land: 107,159 sq km
water: 1,730 sq km

Climate

tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands

Natural resources

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

People and Society

Population

17,980,803 (2023 est.)

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.)

Religions

Roman Catholic 41.7%, Evangelical 38.8%, other 2.7%, atheist 0.1%, none 13.8%, unspecified 2.9% (2018 est.)

Population growth rate

1.54% (2023 est.)

Government

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

name: Guatemala City

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)

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)

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.)

Real GDP per capita

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

Exports

$15.318 billion (2021 est.)
$12.713 billion (2020 est.)
$13.598 billion (2019 est.)

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.)
$19.267 billion (2020 est.)
$21.527 billion (2019 est.)

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)

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.)


Page last updated: Tuesday, February 20, 2024