Statistical information Guatemala 1996Guatemala

Map of Guatemala | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Energy | Communication
Military | Transportation | Transnational Issues | Year:  | More stats

Guatemala in the World
Guatemala in the World

Guatemala - Introduction 1996
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Background: Guatemala was freed of Spanish colonial rule 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 conflict which had led to the death of more than 100,000 people and had created some 1 million refugees.

Guatemala - Geography 1996
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Location: Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Honduras and Belize and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico

Geographic coordinates

Map reference

Total: 108,890 km²
Land: 108,430 km²
Comparative: slightly smaller than Tennessee

Land boundaries: Total 1,687 km, Belize 266 km, El Salvador 203 km, Honduras 256 km, Mexico 962 km

Coastline: 400 km

Maritime claims
Continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: Tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands

Terrain: Mostly mountains with narrow coastal plains and rolling limestone plateau (Peten)

Extremes lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Extremes highest point: Volcan Tajumulco 4,211 m

Natural resources:
Rare woods

Land use

Land use
Arable land: 12%
Permanent crops: 4%
Permanent pastures: 12%
Forests and woodland: 40%
Other: 32%

Irrigated land: 780 km² (1989 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards


Guatemala - People 1996
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11,277,614 (July 1996 est.)
10,998,602 (July 1995 est.)

Growth rate:
2.48% (1996 est.)
2.53% (1995 est.)

Noun: Guatemalan(s)
Adjective: Guatemalan

Ethnic groups:
Mestizo_mixed Amerindian-Spanish ancestry (in local Spanish called Ladino) 56%
Amerindian or predominently Amerindian 44%

LanguagesSpanish 60%, Indian language 40% (23 Indian dialects, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi)

ReligionsRoman Catholic, Protestant, traditional Mayan

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years:
43% (male 2,464,498; female 2,362,457) (July 1996 est.)
43% (male 2,424,686; female 2,324,041) (July 1995 est.)

15-64 years:
54% (male 3,026,834; female 3,031,278) (July 1996 est.)
53% (male 2,934,334; female 2,939,170) (July 1995 est.)

65 years and over:
3% (male 184,927; female 207,620) (July 1996 est.)
4% (male 177,564; female 198,807) (July 1995 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate:
2.48% (1996 est.)
2.53% (1995 est.)

Birth rate:
33.96 births/1000 population (1996 est.)
34.65 births/1000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate:
7.15 deaths/1000 population (1996 est.)
7.33 deaths/1000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate:
-1.98 migrant(s)/1000 population (1996 est.)
-2.04 migrant(s)/1000 population (1995 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution
Current issues Natural hazards: numerous volcanoes in mountains, with frequent violent earthquakes; Caribbean coast subject to hurricanes and other tropical storms
International agreements: party to_Antarctic Treaty, Endangered Species, Biodiversity, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified_Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Climate Change, Law of the Sea
International agreements note: No natural harbors on west coast

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
All ages:
1.01 male(s)/female (1996 est.) Infant Mortality Rate:50.7 deaths/1000 live births (1996 est.)
52.2 deaths/1000 live births (1995 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 65.24 years (1996 est.); 64.85 years (1995 est.)
Male: 62.64 years (1996 est.); 62.27 years (1995 est.)
Female: 67.97 years (1996 est.); 67.56 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate:
4.5 children born/woman (1996 est.)
4.63 children born/woman (1995 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over that can read and write (1995 est.)
Total population: 55.6%
Male: 62.5%
Female: 48.6%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Guatemala - Government 1996
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Country name
Conventional long form: Republic of Guatemala
Conventional short form: Guatemala
Local long form: Republica de Guatemala
Local short form: Guatemala

Government type: Republic

Capital: Guatemala

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

Dependent areas

Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)

National holiday: Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

Constitution: 31 May 1985, effective 14 January 1986
Note: Suspended 25 May 1993 by President SERRANO; reinstated 5 June 1993 following ouster of president

Legal system: Civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

International law organization participation



Executive branch: Chief of state and head of government:President Alvaro Enrique ARZU Irigoyen (since 14 January 1996); Vice President Luis Alberto FLORES Asturias (since 14 January 1996); results_Alvaro Enrique ARZU Irigoyen (PAN) 51.2%, Jorge PORTILLO Cabrera (FRG) 48.8%; ARZU was elected for a four-year term by universal suffrage; election runoff held on 14 January 1996 (next to be held November 2000)
Note: President SERRANO resigned on 1 June 1993 shortly after dissolving Congress and the judiciary; on 6 June 1993, Ramiro DE LEON Carpio was chosen as the new president by a vote of Congress; he finished off the remainder of SERRANO's term which expired 14 January 1996
Cabinet: Council of Ministers; named by the president

Legislative branch: Unicameral Congress of the Republic (Congreso De La Republica):Elections were held on 12 November 1995 to select 80 new congressmen (next election will be held in November 2000); results_seats (80 total) PAN 43, FRG 21, FDNG 6, DCG 4, UCN 3, UD 2, MLN 1
Note: On 11 November 1993 the congress approved a procedure that reduced its number from 116 seats to 80; the procedure provided for a special election in mid-1994 to elect an interim congress of 80 members to serve until replaced in the November 1995 general election; the plan was approved in a general referendum in January 1994 and the special election was held on 14 August 1994

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Suprema de Justicia; additionally the Court of Constitutionality is presided over by the President of the Supreme Court, judges are elected for a five-year term by Congress

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: BCIE, CACM, CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), NAM, OAS, OPANAL, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIH, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation

Flag descriptionflag of Guatemala: 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) 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 and a pair of crossed swords and framed by a wreath

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Guatemala - Economy 1996
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Economy overview: The economy is based on family and corporate agriculture, which accounts for 25% of GDP, employs about 60% of the labor force, and supplies two-thirds of exports. Manufacturing, predominantly in private hands, accounts for about 20% of GDP and 12% of the labor force. In both 1990 and 1991, the economy grew by 3%, the fourth and fifth consecutive years of mild growth. In 1992 growth picked up to almost 5% as government policies favoring competition and foreign trade and investment took stronger hold. In 1993-94, despite political unrest, this momentum continued, foreign investment held up, and annual growth averaged 4%. Strong international prices for Guatemala's traditional commodity exports featured 4.9% growth in 1995. Given the markedly uneven distribution of land and income, the government faces major obstacles in its program of economic modernization and the reduction of poverty.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate:
4.9% (1995 est.)
4% (1994 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: Accounts for 25% of GDP; most important sector of economy; contributes two-thirds of export earnings; principal crops_sugarcane, corn, bananas, coffee, beans, cardamom; livestock_cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens; food importer

Textiles and clothing

Industrial production growth rate: Growth rate 1.9% (1991 est.), accounts for 20% of GDP

Labor force: 3.2 million (1994 est.)
By occupation Agriculture: 60%
By occupation Services: 13%
By occupation Manufacturing: 12%
By occupation Commerce: 7%
By occupation Construction: 4%
By occupation Transport: 3%
By occupation Utilities: 0.7%
By occupation Mining: 0.3% (1985)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 4.9%; underemployment 30%-40% (1994 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $1.6 billion (1996 est.); $604 million (1990)
Expenditures: $1.88 billion, including capital expenditures of $570 million (1996 est.); $808 million, including capital expenditures of $134 million (1990)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: Calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

total value. $2.3 billion (f.o.b., 1995 est.)
$1.38 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)


U.S. 30%
El Salvador
Costa Rica

Total value:
$2.85 billion (c.i.f., 1995 est.)
$2.6 billion (c.i.f., 1994 est.)

Fuel and petroleum products
Motor vehicles

U.S. 44%

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external:
$3.1 billion (1995 est.)
$2.2 billion ( 1992 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates

Guatemala - Energy 1996
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 2.3 billion kWh

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 211 kWh (1993)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Guatemala - Communication 1996
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: 210,000 telephones (1993 est.); fairly modern network centered in the city of Guatemala
Local: NA
Intercity: NA
International: connection into Central American Microwave System; 1 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth station

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Guatemala - Military 1996
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $130 million, 1% of GDP (1994; $121 million, 1% of GDP (1993)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Guatemala - Transportation 1996
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 463
With paved runways over 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 2
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 5
With paved runways under 914 m: 320
With unpaved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 1
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 9
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 124 (1995 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Over 3047 m: 1
2438 to 3047 m: 1
15-24 to 2437 m: 2
914 to 1523 m: 5
Under 914 m: 320

Airports with unpaved runways
2438 to 3047 m: 1
15-24 to 2437 m: 9
914 to 1523 m: 124 (1995 est.)


Pipelines: Crude oil 275 km



Waterways: 260 km navigable year round; additional 730 km navigable during high-water season

Merchant marine: None

Ports and terminals

Guatemala - Transnational issues 1996
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: Transit country for cocaine shipments; illicit producer of opium poppy and cannabis for the international drug trade; the government has an active eradication program for cannabis and opium poppy


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