Quick Facts

  • Officially known as the Republic of Guatemala
  • Gained independence from Spain on September 15, 1821
  • 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
  • Area:  42, 042 sq. miles, slightly smaller than the state of  Tennessee
  • Population:  14, 099,032 (2012)
  • Capital and major city:  Guatemala City – 1+ million
  • Climate:  tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands
  • Terrain:  mostly mountains with narrow coastal plains and rolling limestone plateaus
  • Nationality:  Guatemalans
  • Ethnic groups:  mestizo (mixed Amerindian-Spanish) and European 59.4%, kiche 9.1%, Kaqchikel 8.4%, other
  • Language:  Spanish (official), Amerindian languages 40%
  • Religions:  Roman Catholic, Protestant, Mayan beliefs
  • Literacy:  69.1% age 15 and over can read and write
  • Economy:  Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America, yet the GDP per capita is roughly 1/2 that of the average for Latin American and the Caribbean.  The agriculture sector accounts for 13% of GDP and 38% of the labor force.    More than 1/2 the population is below the national poverty level and 13% of the population lives in extreme poverty.
  • Current weather conditions –  www.weather.com
  • Tips for Travel in country – www.travel.state.gov
  • Currency exchange rates –  www.xe.com

Government in Power

  • Guatemala is a constitutional democratic republic
  • Chief of State and Head of Government:  President Otto Fernando Perez Molina – elected by popular vote

Healthcare Statistics

  • Life expectancy:  71.17 years
  • Health expenditures:  5.7% of GDP
  • Physicians density:  0.9 physicians/1,000 population
  • Hospital bed density:  0.66 beds/1,000 population
  • HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate :  degree of risk – high
  • Food or waterborne diseases:  bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A and typhoid fever
  • Vectorborne diseases:  dengue fever and malaria
  • Water contact diseases:  leptospirosis
  • Children under the age of 5 underweight:  17.7%  – half of the children are chronically malnourished
  • One of the highest malnutrition rates in the world
  • Infectious disease updates:  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm

Images From the Field


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