Belize: The Facts

The following facts provide basic information about Belize. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, let us know and we will find the answer for you.

The Basics

Location: Belize is a small country in Central America. It has a Caribbean coast, and it borders Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the west.

Area: 8,867 square miles (22,966 sq km)

Land Borders: Guatemala 165 miles (266 km), and Mexico 171.5 miles (276 km)

Total Coastline: 240 miles (386 km)

Capital City: Belmopan

Highest Point: Doyle’s Delight, which is a peak in the Maya Mountain range. It is 3,805 feet (1,160 m) tall.

Lowest Point: Sea level, at the Caribbean Sea.

Temperature Range: Belize doesn’t get very cold, or have that much temperature variation. During January, the coldest month of the year, the average temperature dips to around 68°F (20°C). In August, the hottest month, the average temperature is 90°F (32°C).

Average Rainfall: During most of the year, Belize averages between two and 3 inches of rain per month. In the springtime, the climate is at its driest, averaging around a quarter inch to half an inch. As it gets rainier in the fall months, the rainfall averages around 5 inches per month.

Humidity: Belize has a subtropical climate with high humidity. The average humidity is around 76 percent.

Population: 353,858 (2016 est.)

Population Growth Rate: 1.84% (2016 est.)

Population Density: 16 (2015 est.)

Ethnicities: Mestizo 52.9 percent, Creole 25.9 percent, Maya 11.3 percent, Garifuna 6.1 percent, East Indian 3.9 percent, Mennonite 3.6 percent, white 1.2 percent, Asian 1 percent (2010 est.)

Official Language: English

Religion: 40 percent Roman Catholic, 30 percent Protestant, 1.5 percent Jehovah’s Witness, 10.5 percent other, 15.5 percent none.

Dialing code: 501

Learn more about Belize in our "Guide to The People of Belize & Belizean Culture."

Quality of Life

Life Expectancy: 68.7 years

Life Expectancy for Men: 67.2 years

Life Expectancy for Women: 70.4 years

Fertility Rate: 2.9 children per woman (2016 est.)

Literacy: 82.7 percent literacy rate (2015 est.)

Poverty Rate: 41 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

Airports: 47 total; 6 have paved airports, 41 have unpaved airports.

Roadways: 1,783 miles (2,870 km) total; 303 miles (488 km) paved, and 1,480 miles (2,382 km) unpaved.

Railways: None.

Waterways: 512 miles (825 km), accessible only by small craft.

Ports: Belize City, Big Creek

Discover more about the quality of life in Belize when you read our "Belize Health & Safety Guide for Travelers."

Government and Economy

Government Type: Parliamentary Democracy

Head of Government: Dean Barrow (elected February 2008)

Legislative Branch: Bicameral National Assembly, composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Independence Day: September 21, 1981

National Constitution: September 21, 1981. The latest amendment was in 2012.

Suffrage: Universal suffrage for adults 18 and up.

National Symbol: The keel-billed toucan is the national bird. The flag features a crossed axe and paddle.

Currency: Belize Dollar

GDP per Capita: $8,200 (2016 est.)

Industry: Garment production, food processing, tourism, construction, and oil.

Exports: Sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood, and crude oil.

Agriculture: Bananas, cacao, citrus, sugar; fish, cultured shrimp, and lumber.

How did Belize evolve from hosting Mayan civilizations to the travel destination we know today? Read "Belize History: Ancient Civilizations to Colonization."