Two large groups of people dominate in Guyana: Indians (Indoguyanans) and Blacks (Afroguyanans). The country’s modern history is largely characterized by contradictions between them. One tenth of the residents belong to the indigenous peoples. Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America.
Like neighboring Surinam, Guyana is one of the least populous countries in the world, with a population of just under 800,000. As a result of extensive emigration, almost half a million Guyanese citizens live abroad, and it is estimated that their children amount to more than one million foreign Guyanese. In relation to the size of the population, it is one of the highest figures in the world. Immigration means that the population size has remained essentially unchanged since 1980. Most foreign Guyanese are in the United States: a common joke is that New York is the country’s eleventh region (see Political system). Many also live in other parts of the United States as well as in Canada, the United Kingdom and small nations in the Caribbean.
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Key populations estimated size and data of Guyana, including population density of how many people per square mile. Also included are facts for population and language.
The Black Guyanans are descendants of slaves that the European colonialists brought from Africa. When slavery was abolished in 1834, contract workers from other parts of the world were attracted to Guyana’s plantations – first Chinese and Portuguese, then more and more Indians. The Indians, who largely reside in the countryside, are the largest population and make up about 40 percent of the population. Almost 30 percent of the residents are black and are mainly in the cities where many work in the administration or as military or police officers. The proportion of residents who identify themselves as being of mixed descent is growing and now accounts for 20 percent.
Native people – often collectively called Amerindians – are divided into nine groups. Most of them live inland and rely on burning, hunting and fishing, and now also gold washing. Several indigenous peoples in the west have retained their traditional culture and religion. Inland there are also a few maroons, descendants of slaves who escaped from the coastal plantations.
Several thousands of Brazilian gold diggers are estimated to reside in Guyana, most illegally.
English is the official language. This contributes to the fact that the Guyanese often identify themselves more with the English-speaking Caribbean island world than with the other South America. Most everyday people speak a Creole language, “Guyanese English”. A few Indoguyanans speak Hindi, mainly in religious contexts. The indigenous peoples speak the Caribbean or Arabic language.
FACTS – POPULATION AND LANGUAGE
Indoguyanans 39.8 percent, Afroguyanans 29.2 percent, mixed ancestry 19.9 percent, Indigenous people 10.5 percent, other 0.6 percent (census 2012)
Number of residents
777 859 (2017)
Number of residents per square kilometer
Percentage of residents in the cities
26.5 percent (2017)
Nativity / birth
20.6 per 1000 residents (2016)
Mortality / mortality
8.2 per 1000 residents (2016)
0.6 percent (2017)
2.5 number of births per woman (2016)
Percentage of women
49.5 percent (2017)
67 years (2016)
Life expectancy for women
69 years (2016)
Life expectancy for men
64 years (2016)
English is the official language and is spoken by most, a form of Hindi is also spoken like many of the indigenous peoples’ languages.