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), it has 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 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.)

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

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.)

Real GDP per capita

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

Agricultural products

sugar cane, eggs, bananas, oil palm fruit, maize, melons, potatoes, milk, tomatoes, poultry

Industries

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

Exports

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

Exports - partners

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

Exports - commodities

textiles (knit and non-knit garments), coffee, bananas, palm oil, raw sugar (2022)

Imports

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

Imports - partners

United States 34%, China 15%, Mexico 9%, El Salvador 4%, Costa Rica 3% (2022)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, video displays, cars, packaged medicines, delivery trucks (2022)

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.)


Page last updated: Monday, April 15, 2024