Guatemala Poverty Statistics & Facts

by Hogar Heroes

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While some nations experience a wealth of resources and a favorable location, others struggle due to corruption or the need to constantly defend themselves from invaders. Guatemala is a country that has known war for hundreds of years, and its citizens have suffered greatly for it. Regardless of being one of the wealthiest nations in Central America, the wealth is not distributed equally, and the people of Guatemala suffer from debilitating levels of poverty. Here are some Guatemala poverty statistics and facts that may surprise you, as well as some ways you can help.

A Country Wrought With War

One reason for the chaotic state of life and high rates of poverty in Guatemala is that it’s been plagued by one war after another for hundreds of years. While most countries have been involved in war at one time or another, Guatemala has been involved in near constant warfare, including a guerilla war that was fought for 36 years. Only since 1996 has Guatemala been officially at peace. Its war-torn history has led to a difficult life of poverty for many of its citizens.

Poverty Statistics In Guatemala

Poverty is such an epidemic in Guatemala that it effects the vast majority of its citizens. Almost 80 percent of the population lives in poverty, with 40 percent living in extreme poverty. This means that 40 percent of Guatemalan citizens live on just $1.50 or less each day. Income disparity is also a major problem in Guatemala, with .001 percent of the population owning half of the wealth in the country. One of the most dire statistics pertaining to Guatemala is that the rates of poverty are actually increasing.

Overdependence On Agriculture

When examining the reasons for the poverty epidemic in Guatemala, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that a remarkable 40 percent of their population works as farmers. Over 15 million people live in Guatemala, so this means that about 7 million of their workers are employed in agriculture. In addition to the rock bottom wages typically paid to farmers in Guatemala, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other destructive types of weather can wipe out their crops making it difficult to survive.

Increasing Poverty Due To Tax Collection Issues

To change the trend of so many citizens being stuck in low income labor jobs, the government of Guatemala would have to invest in the nation’s infrastructure. However, the fact that almost all of their citizens work for underground wages that are untraceable, only about 11 percent of their taxes are collected. This keeps the infrastructure in poor shape and provides little change to the poverty rate in Guatemala.

Children In Poverty

Poverty effects every aspect of life for the children in Guatemala. Malnutrition plagues 80 percent of the children, and many struggle to find food each day. About 3 million Guatemalans lack the access to sanitary, drinkable water, and 6 million don’t have access to improved sanitation. The need to earn money and the lack of transport also leaves a shockingly low attendance in schools despite the country’s public education system. Only 59 percent of all students enrolled in high school graduate, with less than 18 percent of the population ever attending post-secondary education.

Join Hogar Heroes In Supporting Guatemalan Orphans

Have you ever wanted to make a difference in the lives of those who truly need it? The orphaned children of Guatemala often face the harshest realities of poverty in the country. Through the Hogar Heroes campaign of Work, Play, Love, our goal is to help these children achieve the support and care they need while setting them up for future success—and letting them know that they are cared for. Our efforts to help the children of Guatemala include the construction and ongoing support of orphanages (“hogars”), volunteer trips, building schools and other actions to give a real chance to these children. Every contribution counts.

Become a Hogar Hero today. Please consider making a donation to support the lives of these children in need.


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