Belize: People & Society#

Population353,858 (July 2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Belizean(s)
adjective: Belizean
Ethnic groupsmestizo 52.9%, Creole 25.9%, Maya 11.3%, Garifuna 6.1%, East Indian 3.9%, Mennonite 3.6%, white 1.2%, Asian 1%, other 1.2%, unknown 0.3%
note: percentages add up to more than 100% because respondents were able to identify more than one ethnic origin (2010 est.)
LanguagesEnglish 62.9% (official), Spanish 56.6%, Creole 44.6%, Maya 10.5%, German 3.2%, Garifuna 2.9%, other 1.8%, unknown 0.3%, none 0.2% (cannot speak)
note: shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census (2010 est.)
ReligionsRoman Catholic 40.1%, Protestant 31.5% (includes Pentecostal 8.4%, Seventh Day Adventist 5.4%, Anglican 4.7%, Mennonite 3.7%, Baptist 3.6%, Methodist 2.9%, Nazarene 2.8%), Jehovah's Witness 1.7%, other 10.5% (includes Baha'i, Buddhist, Hindu, Morman, Muslim, Rastafarian), unknown 0.6%, none 15.5% (2010 est.)
Demographic profileMigration continues to transform Belize's population. About 16% of Belizeans live abroad, while immigrants constitute approximately 15% of Belize's population. Belizeans seeking job and educational opportunities have preferred to emigrate to the United States rather than former colonizer Great Britain because of the United States' closer proximity and stronger trade ties with Belize. Belizeans also emigrate to Canada, Mexico, and English-speaking Caribbean countries. The emigration of a large share of Creoles (Afro-Belizeans) and the influx of Central American immigrants, mainly Guatemalans, Salvadorans, and Hondurans, has changed Belize's ethnic composition. Mestizos have become the largest ethnic group, and Belize now has more native Spanish speakers than English or Creole speakers, despite English being the official language. In addition, Central American immigrants are establishing new communities in rural areas, which contrasts with the urbanization trend seen in neighboring countries. Recently, Chinese, European, and North American immigrants have become more frequent. Immigration accounts for an increasing share of Belize's population growth rate, which is steadily falling due to fertility decline. Belize's declining birth rate and its increased life expectancy are creating an aging population. As the elderly population grows and nuclear families replace extended households, Belize's government will be challenged to balance a rising demand for pensions, social services, and healthcare for its senior citizens with the need to reduce poverty and social inequality and to improve sanitation.
Age structure0-14 years: 34.41% (male 62,139/female 59,611)
15-24 years: 20.71% (male 37,333/female 35,960)
25-54 years: 36.26% (male 64,968/female 63,346)
55-64 years: 4.84% (male 8,445/female 8,666)
65 years and over: 3.78% (male 6,291/female 7,099) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 56.8%
youth dependency ratio: 50.9%
elderly dependency ratio: 5.9%
potential support ratio: 17% (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 22.4 years
male: 22.2 years
female: 22.6 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate1.84% (2016 est.)
Birth rate24.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate6 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Population distributionapproximately 25 to 30% of the population lives in the former capital, Belize City; over half of the overall population is rural; population density is slightly higher in the north and east
Urbanizationurban population: 44% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.93% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - populationBELMOPAN (capital) 17,000 (2014)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Maternal mortality rate28 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 19.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 68.7 years
male: 67.2 years
female: 70.4 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate2.9 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate55.2% (2011)
Health expenditures5.8% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density0.83 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
Hospital bed density1.1 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 98.9% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 99.5% of population
urban: 1.1% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0.5% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 93.5% of population
rural: 88.2% of population
total: 90.5% of population
urban: 6.5% of population
rural: 11.8% of population
total: 9.5% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate1.52% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS3,600 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths100 (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate20.6% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight6.2% (2011)
Education expenditures6.2% of GDP (2013)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2013)
Child labor - children ages 5-14total number: 27,751
percentage: 40% (2001 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 25%
male: 18%
female: 35.6% (2012 est.)