The population is concentrated in the eastern part of Paraguay. In the Chaco area west of the Paraguay River, only a few percent of residents live. The population is unusually uniform to be in Latin America: around 95 percent have mixed origins from mainly Europeans and indigenous peoples. It is also unusual for a majority of the residents to speak both Spanish and a native language, Guarani.
The majority of the people call themselves masturbators and are predominantly white colonialists (mainly Spaniards) and indigenous peoples (or “Indians”). In the country there are also small groups of indigenous people (see below), whites, blacks and Asians. The Mennonites are Christian immigrants of predominantly German origin who came to Paraguay between 1920 and 1950, mainly from the United States, Canada and Europe. Later, Mennonites from Mexico have moved to Paraguay, due to the drug-related violence in Mexico. The Mennonites who are pacifists live in closed agricultural cooperatives and have cultivated large areas of Chaco that were previously untouched.
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Key populations estimated size and data of Paraguay, including population density of how many people per square mile. Also included are facts for population and language.
The indigenous peoples, which are divided into 19 ethnic groups, live almost exclusively in the countryside. Half live in Chaco, the others live in small enclaves in the east. Many of them lived until the 1950s as hunters and collectors or sheep herders. They constitute the country’s poorest strata and are at the bottom of the social ladder, with poorer living standards, health, working conditions and education than average.
The indigenous people’s cultural rights and land ownership are protected by law, but in reality many of them are landless. Occasionally, urinals are relocated from land they have lived on for generations. Several groups near the border with Brazil have been driven away due to logging and threatened with extinction when their natural habitat disappears.
Population growth is one of the highest in Latin America and the influx of cities is high. Nevertheless, Paraguay is less urbanized than most other Latin American countries. One third of Paraguayans live in or on the outskirts of the capital Asuncion, where large slums have emerged.
In the 1970s and until the mid-1980s, there was extensive immigration from Brazil to eastern Paraguay (see Agriculture and Fisheries). Today, there are estimated to be up to 400,000 brasiguayos in Paraguay. In some border regions, there are now more people who speak Brazil’s main Portuguese than the native languages. Other immigrant groups have come from Argentina, Korea and Japan.
The emigration of Paraguayans has been great, partly for political reasons (see Modern History). When democracy was restored in 1989, many refugees returned, but hundreds of thousands of Paraguayans still live abroad, mainly in Argentina.
Paraguay has two official languages, Spanish and Guarani. Three quarters of the population speak both languages, while a small group speak only Spanish. Most others only speak guaraní. The fact that a native language has such a strong position is special for Paraguay and is because the Spaniards who came to the country from the 16th century onwards often married into families on the spot. The language is almost the only thing left of the original Guarani culture.
FACTS – POPULATION AND LANGUAGE
about 95% have mixed origins, small groups of Europeans, indigenous people etc
Number of residents
6 811 297 (2017)
Number of residents per square kilometer
Percentage of residents in the cities
61.3 percent (2017)
Nativity / birth
20.9 per 1000 residents (2016)
Mortality / mortality
5.7 per 1000 residents (2016)
1.3 percent (2017)
2.5 number of births per woman (2016)
Percentage of women
49.3 percent (2017)
73 years (2016)
Life expectancy for women
75 years (2016)
Life expectancy for men
71 years (2016)
Spanish and Guarani are official languages
Yes to constitutional change
A majority of voters say yes in a referendum on a constitutional change that gives voting rights to Paraguayans living abroad.
Officers murdered by the guerrillas
Two police officers are murdered by EPP in the north (see also April 2010).
The Senate rejects constitutional amendment
The Senate rejects a proposal to amend the Constitution to allow President Lugo to run for a second term in 2013.
Two ministers are set aside
The president dismisses two ministers accused of having presidential ambitions.
200 years of independence for Paraguay
Paraguay celebrates its 200th anniversary of its independence from Spain. Another reason for Paraguay to celebrate is that the parliament in Brazil finally approves the July 2009 energy agreement, which means that the price of electricity sold to the neighboring giant will triple.
The Foreign Minister is allowed to go
Foreign Minister Héctor Lacognata is forced to resign. In addition to his remuneration as minister, Lacognata received a substantial salary as an advisor to the management of the Itaiipu dam, which is contrary to the constitution. He is succeeded by Jorge Lara Castro, who has been Deputy Foreign Minister.