Guatemala: The Facts

The following facts provide basic information about Guatemala. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, just ask us. We should be able to track down an answer.

The Basics

Location: Guatemala is located in Central America. It borders the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, as well as the countries of El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras, and Belize. Guatemala is found between 15˚ and 10˚ north latitude and 90˚ and 15˚ west longitude.

Area: 108,889 km² (42,042 mi²)

Land Borders: Total 1,687 km (1,048 mi): 226 km (140 mi) with Belize, 203 km (126 mi) with El Salvador, 256 km (159 mi) with Honduras, and 962 km (598 mi) with Mexico.

Total Coastline: 400 km (249 mi)

Capital City: Guatemala City

Highest Point: Volcán Tajumulco at 4,211 meters (13,816 ft.)

Lowest Point: Sea level at 0 meters

Temperature Range: Temperatures depend on the season and location, but can range from 40°F to 100°F (4°C to 38°C).

Average Rainfall: Rainfall depends on the season and location, but can vary from 20–30 inches (51–76 cm) to 80–150 inches (200–381 cm) a year.

Humidity: Humidity depends on the season and location, but can range from 40% to 97%.

Population: 14,647,000 (2014)

Population Growth Rate: 1.86% (2014)

Population Density: 134.3/km² (2010)

Ethnicities: 59.4% mestizo (mixed Amerindian-Spanish; also known locally as ladino) and European, 9.1% K’iche, 8.4% Kaqchikel, 7.9% Mam, 6.3% Q’eqchi, and 8.6% other Mayan.

Official Language: Spanish

Religion: Roman Catholic, Protestant, indigenous Mayan beliefs.

Dialing code: 502

Discover more about Guatemalan Society in this "Guide to People of Guatemala & Guatemalan Culture."

Quality of Life

Life Expectancy: 71.74 years

Life Expectancy of Men: 69.82 years

Life Expectancy of Women: 73.76 years

Fertility Rate: 2.99 births per woman (2014)

Literacy: 75.9%

Poverty Rate: About 75% of the population is estimated to live below the poverty line, which is defined as an income that is insufficient to purchase basic goods and services.

Airports: 291; 16 airports have paved runways, 275 airports have unpaved runways.

Roadways: 11.501 km (7.146 mi) total; 6.797 km (4.223 mi) paved and 4.704 km (2.923 mi) unpaved.

Railways: 332 km (206 mi) total

Waterways: 990 km (615 mi)

Ports: Puerto Quetzal and Santo Tomas de Castilla.

Learn more about living in Guatemala in our "Guatemala Health & Safety Guide for Travelers."

Government and Economy

Government Type: Constitutional Democratic Republic

Head of Government: President Otto Fernando Pérez Molina (elected January, 2012).

Legislative Branch: Unicameral Congress of the Republic (158 seats; members elected through a party list proportional representation system).

Independence Day: September 15, 1821 (from Spain)

National Constitution: There have been several previous constitutions. The latest was adopted on May 21, 1985; it was suspended, reinstated, and amended in 1993.

Suffrage: 18 years of age (is universal; however, active duty members of the police and armed forces may not vote by law).

National Symbol: Quetzal (bird)

Currency: Quetzal

GDP per Capita: $5,300 (2013 est.)

Industry: Sugar, textiles, clothing, furniture, chemicals, metals, petroleum, rubber, and tourism.

Exports: Coffee, sugar, petroleum, bananas, apparel, fruits, vegetables, and cardamom.

Agriculture: Corn, sugarcane, coffee, bananas, beans, cardamom, sheep, cattle, pigs, and chickens.

Learn more about the evolution of Guatemala's infrastructure in this "Guide to Guatemalan History."

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