Guyana: People & Society#

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Guyanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Guyanese
Ethnic groupsEast Indian 43.5%, black (African) 30.2%, mixed 16.7%, Amerindian 9.1%, other 0.5% (includes Portuguese, Chinese, white) (2002 est.)
LanguagesEnglish (official), Guyanese Creole, Amerindian languages (including Caribbean and Arawak languages), Indian languages (including Caribbean Hindustani, a dialect of Hindi), Chinese (2014 est.)
ReligionsProtestant 30.5% (Pentecostal 16.9%, Anglican 6.9%, Seventh Day Adventist 5%, Methodist 1.7%), Hindu 28.4%, Roman Catholic 8.1%, Muslim 7.2%, Jehovah's Witness 1.1%, other Christian 17.7%, other 1.9%, none 4.3%, unspecified 0.9% (2002 est.)
Demographic profileGuyana is the only English-speaking country in South America and shares cultural and historical bonds with the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana's two largest ethnic groups are the Afro-Guyanese (descendants of African slaves) and the Indo-Guyanese (descendants of Indian indentured laborers), which together comprise about three quarters of Guyana's population. Tensions periodically have boiled over between the two groups, which back ethnically based political parties and vote along ethnic lines. Poverty reduction has stagnated since the late 1990s. About one-third of the Guyanese population lives below the poverty line; indigenous people are disproportionately affected. Although Guyana's literacy rate is reported to be among the highest in the Western Hemisphere, the level of functional literacy is considerably lower, which has been attributed to poor education quality, teacher training, and infrastructure. Guyana's emigration rate is among the highest in the world - more than 55% of its citizens reside abroad - and it is one of the largest recipients of remittances relative to GDP among Latin American and Caribbean counties. Although remittances are a vital source of income for most citizens, the pervasive emigration of skilled workers deprives Guyana of professionals in healthcare and other key sectors. More than 80% of Guyanese nationals with tertiary level educations have emigrated. Brain drain and the concentration of limited medical resources in Georgetown hamper Guyana's ability to meet the health needs of its predominantly rural population. Guyana has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the region and continues to rely on international support for its HIV treatment and prevention programs.
Age structure0-14 years: 27.12% (male 101,637/female 97,970)
15-24 years: 21.46% (male 81,017/female 76,912)
25-54 years: 37.73% (male 145,003/female 132,640)
55-64 years: 7.9% (male 26,195/female 31,924)
65 years and over: 5.79% (male 17,585/female 25,026) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 51.1%
youth dependency ratio: 43.5%
elderly dependency ratio: 7.6%
potential support ratio: 13.2% (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 25.8 years
male: 25.5 years
female: 26.2 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate0.17% (2016 est.)
Birth rate15.5 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate7.4 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-6.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Population distributionpopulation is heavily concentrated in the northeast in and around Georgetown, with noteable concentrations along the Berbice River to the east; the remainder of the country is sparsely populated
Urbanizationurban population: 28.6% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 0.76% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - populationGEORGETOWN (capital) 124,000 (2014)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.82 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth20.8
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2009 est.)
Maternal mortality rate229 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 31.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 35.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 27.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 68.4 years
male: 65.4 years
female: 71.5 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate2.04 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate42.5% (2009)
Health expenditures5.2% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density0.21 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
Hospital bed density2 beds/1,000 population (2009)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 98.2% of population
rural: 98.3% of population
total: 98.3% of population
urban: 1.8% of population
rural: 1.7% of population
total: 1.7% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 87.9% of population
rural: 82% of population
total: 83.7% of population
urban: 12.1% of population
rural: 18% of population
total: 16.3% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate1.5% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS7,800 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths100 (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal 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 rate21.9% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight8.5% (2014)
Education expenditures3.2% of GDP (2012)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 88.5%
male: 87.2%
female: 89.8% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 10 years
male: 10 years
female: 10 years (2012)
Child labor - children ages 5-14total number: 30,255
percentage: 16% (2006 est.)