Guatemala ranked 131 out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Program's 2011 Human Development Index — a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standards of living for countries worldwide.
Guatemala is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in Latin America, and also one of the poorest places in the Western Hemisphere.
Guatemala’s population is one of the youngest, fastest- growing, and least educated in Latin America.
Guatemala is still experiencing the impact of 36 years of civil conflict, which destroyed social support systems and led to increased discrimination of indigenous groups.
51% of the population lives in rural areas, and the rural population accounts for a large majority of the country's poor people.
Young people and those living in rural areas are the most vulnerable to poverty.
58% of the national population in Guatemala have incomes below the extreme poverty line.
More than 75% of the national population lives below the poverty line.
A combination of social and environmental challenges compounds the problems of poverty.
Poverty is highly concentrated among indigenous communities, which comprise over 40% of the total population.
Government figures indicate that 7 out of every 10 people of indigenous descent live in poverty.
Guatemala has the highest percentage of malnourished children in all of Latin America.
Over half of the children in Guatemala have chronic malnutrition. In some areas the rate is as high as 90%.
42% of Guatemalan citizens do not have access to clean water.
More than 2 million children in Guatemala do not attend school. Most of them are indigenous girls living in rural areas.
The country has an overall enrollment rate in primary school of 39%, but in the urban centers it is 48%, compared to 35% in rural areas.
45% of the population over the age of 15 is illiterate.
Only 5% of indigenous girls in Guatemala have completed primary school, and only one in 10 girls is enrolled in secondary school.
Girls with no schooling face a bleak future; instead of learning to read and write they are more likely to experience early marriage and childbearing.
By the age of 18, almost 40% of Mayan (indigenous) girls are married — nearly twice the percentage of Ladina (non-indigenous) girls.
Child labor is higher in Guatemala than anywhere else in Latin America.
Nearly one third of all girls in Guatemala are engaged in child labor.
Agriculture accounts for a fifth of Guatemala’s GDP and employs about 40 per cent of Guatemala's total labor force.
An increase in droughts — as well as hurricanes and diseases such as malaria — linked to changing weather patterns in Guatemala and the rest of Central America, make agriculture vulnerable.
Between 1950 and 2002, Guatemala lost half its forest cover — the rate of loss of mature forest is much greater.
"At a Glance: Guatemala." UNICEF. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/guatemala_statistics.html
"Giving Girls a Second Chance." Girl Up Homepage | GirlUp | United Nations Foundation | Uniting Girls to Change the World. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2014. http://www.girlup.org/
"Poverty and Statistics." Malnutrition in Guatemala. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2014. http://malnutritioninguatemala.weebly.com/poverty-and-statistics.html
"Rural Poverty in Guatemala." Rural Poverty Portal. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. http://www.ruralpovertyportal.org/country/home/tags/guatemala/
"Statistics for Guatemala." The Redd Desk. N.p., Sept. 2013. Web. 27 Apr. 2014. http://theredddesk.org/countries/guatemala/statistics