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Geography—note: no natural harbors on west coast.

total: 108,890 sq km
land: 108,430 sq km
water: 460 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly smaller than Tennessee.

Coastline: 400 km

Climate: tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands.

Terrain: mostly mountains with narrow coastal plains and rolling limestone plateau (Peten).

Natural resources: petroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish, chicle.

Environment—current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution.

Population: 12,007,580 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 43% (male 2,629,861; female 2,522,112)
15-64 years: 54% (male 3,213,744; female 3,216,415)
65 years and over: 3% (male 199,738; female 225,710) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.71% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 36.02 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 6.96 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 47.68 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 66.04 years
male: 63.4 years
female: 68.81 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.81 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Guatemalan(s)
adjective: Guatemalan

Ethnic groups: Mestizo (mixed Amerindian-Spanish—in local Spanish called Ladino) 56%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 44%

Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant, traditional Mayan

Languages: Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (23 Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 55.6%
male: 62.5%
female: 48.6% (1995 est.)

National capital: Guatemala

Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)

National holiday: Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

Constitution: 31 May 1985, effective 14 January 1986
note: suspended 25 May 1993 by President SERRANO; reinstated 5 June 1993 following ouster of president

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Political parties and leaders: National Centrist Union or UCN [Juan AYERDI Aguilar]; Christian Democratic Party or DCG [Alfonso CABRERA Hidalgo]; National Advancement Party or PAN [Raphael BARRIOS Flores]; National Liberation Movement or MLN [Mario SANDOVAL Alarcon]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Sergio FLORES Cruz]; Revolutionary Party or PR [Carlos CHAVARRIA Perez]; Guatemalan Republican Front or FRG [Efrain RIOS Montt]; Democratic Union or UD [Jose CHEA Urruela]; New Guatemalan Democratic Front or FDNG [Rafael ARRIAGA Martinez]

Economy—overview: The agricultural sector accounts for one-fourth of GDP and two-thirds of exports and employs more than half of the labor force. Coffee, sugar, and bananas are the main products. Manufacturing and construction account for one-fifth of GDP. Since assuming office in January 1996, President ARZU has worked to implement a program of economic liberalization and political modernization. The signing of the Peace Accords in December 1996, which ended 36 years of civil war, removed a major obstacle to foreign investment. In 1997, Guatemala met its economic targets when GDP growth accelerated to 4.1% and inflation fell to 9%. The government also increased tax revenues—historically the lowest in Latin America—to 9% of GDP and created a new tax administration. It also successfully placed $150 million in dollar-denominated notes in the international markets. Debt service costs should decline in 1998. Remaining challenges for the administration in 1998 include completing a deal with the IMF and stabilizing monetary policy. Throughout 1997, the Central Bank maintained a tight money supply, helping to control inflation, but it also caused high interest rates and led to operating losses for the bank. Early in 1998, it relaxed its monetary policy in an effort to correct these problems, but increased pressure on the quetzal has prompted the bank to intervene to prop up its value.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$45.8 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 4.1% (1997 est.)

Agriculture—products: sugarcane, corn, bananas, coffee, beans, cardamom; cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens

total value: $2.9 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)
commodities: coffee, sugar, bananas, cardamom, petroleum
partners: US 37%, El Salvador 13%, Honduras 7%, Costa Rica 5%, Germany 5% 

total value: $3.3 billion (c.i.f., 1997 est.)
commodities: fuel and petroleum products, machinery, grain, fertilizers, motor vehicles
partners: US 44%, Mexico 10%, Venezuela 4.6%, Japan, Germany

Debt—external: $3.38 billion (1996 est.)

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 2,827,992 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 1,846,963 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $132.9 million (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 0.66% (1998 est.)

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