Guatemala is a predominantly poor country that struggles in several areas of health and development, including infant, child, and maternal mortality, malnutrition, literacy, and contraceptive awareness and use. The large indigenous population is disproportionately affected. Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America and has the highest fertility rate in Latin America. It also has the highest population growth rate in Latin America, which is likely to continue in the long term because of its large reproductive-age population and high birth rate. Almost half of Guatemala’s population is under age 19, making it the youngest population in Latin America. Guatemala’s total fertility rate has slowly declined during the last few decades due in part to limited government-funded health programs. However, the birth rate is still more than three children per woman and is markedly higher among its rural and indigenous populations.
In Guatemala, 54% of the population lives below the poverty line, with 13% of the population living in extreme poverty. However, poverty among indigenous groups, which make up 38% of the population, averages 73% and extreme poverty is 28%. This is the vulnerable population which Project Salud y Paz primarily serves.
Some other facts about Guatemala:
- The Maternal Mortality Rate is 120/100,000 live births
- Infant Mortality Rate: 25.16/1,000 live births
- There is less than 1 doctor per 1,000 people
- 17.7% percent of children under 5 years are underweight
- Nearly one half of Guatemala’s children under age 5 are malnourished
- Child mortality rate: 31.8/1000 children under age five
- 69.1% of persons over age 15 can read and write
- School life expectancy: 11 years
- Richest 20% of the population account for more than 51% of overall consumption