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Central America: Facts & Stats

DEMOGRAPHICS | Economy | Transportation | Culture

Demographics

The region of Central America includes the most densely populated countries in the Western Hemisphere: El Salvador, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. During the 1960s and 1970s, Central America was the region with the highest population growth rates in the world. Nowadays Central American countries are experiencing rapid urban growth. In the region as a whole, the urban population increased twice during the 1980 to 1998. By the year 2025 it is expected that Central America will have about 58 million inhabitants.

Population:

Total population of Central America is about 41 739 000.
  • Guatemala 14 027 000

  • Honduras 7 466 000

  • El Salvador 6 163 000

  • Nicaragua 5 743 000

  • Costa Rica 4 579 000

  • Panama 3 454 000

  • Belize 307 000
Urban population: 48%;

Rural population: 51%.

Total area: 523 000 km2

Population density: 80 per km2

Approximately two-thirds of Central Americans are of mixed forefathers. Three-fifths of the people of Central America are of mixed European and Indian ancestors (mestizos), and one-fifth is Indian.

Ethnic groups:
  • Mestizo 70%

  • White 8%

  • Arab 1%

  • Asian 0.5%

  • American Indian 10%

  • Black Creole 9%.

Language:

Spanish is the dominant language of Central America and the official language in six countries. Central American Spanish is the name of the Spanish language dialects spoken in Central America (most vocabulary is common but each country has its variations).

English is much of the Caribbean coast (Belize, a former UK colony, is the officially English-speaking country). English speaking people can be found on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Panama. Many Indian languages are also spoken in the region (native languages are still spoken in many rural areas). There are some endangered languages (Rama, Boruca, Pipil , etc.).

Official languages in Central America:
  • Belize: English

  • Costa Rica: Spanish

  • El Salvador: Spanish

  • Guatemala: Spanish

  • Honduras: Spanish

  • Nicaragua: Spanish

  • Panama: Spanish

Religion:

Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion in Central America, but nowadays Protestantism is expanding. In the areas inhabited by Indians traditional religions and Roman Catholicism coexist.




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