Demographics of Belize

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

 
Jump to: navigation, search

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Belize, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Demographics of Belize, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands.

Belize is the most sparsely populated nation in Central America. It is larger than El Salvador. Slightly more than half of the people live in rural areas. About one-fourth live in Belize City, the principal port, commercial centre, and former capital.

Most Belizeans are of multiracial descent. About 34% of the population is of mixed Maya and European descent (Mestizo), 25% are Kriols, 15% are Spanish, about 10.6% are Maya, and about 6.1% are Afro-Amerindian (Garifuna).[1] The remaining population includes European, East Indian, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and North American groups. In the case of Europeans, most are descendants of Spanish and British colonial settlers, whether pure-blooded or mixed with each other. Most Spanish left the nation just after it was taken by the British colonists who, in the same way, left after independence. Dutch and German Mennonites settled Belize, most in the isolated areas.

Because Belize's original Maya peoples were decimated by disease and wars, or fled to Mexico and Guatemala, many of the country's Maya today are descended from other groups. The current Maya population consists mainly of three language groups. The Yucatec fled to Belize in the late 1840s to escape the Caste War in Yucatán, Mexico. Their descendants live in the Orange Walk and Corozal districts, which border on Mexico. In the 1870s-1880s, many Q'eqchi' fled from Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, where their lands were being stolen for coffee plantations, which then enslaved them. They settled villages in the Toledo district. Living near rivers and streams, they are primarily farmers, though many younger people now work in tourism, and on shrimp, banana and citrus plantations. The Mopans originated in Belize, but most were driven out to Guatemala after the British displaced Spanish in a struggle that took most of the 18th century. They returned to Belize in 1886, running from enslavement and taxation in Petén. The Cayo district and San Antonio in the Toledo district are their homes now. Q'eqchi' and Mopan have intermarried, though the two languages remain distinct and mutually unintelligible. About 80% of the population is Christian.

Population[edit]

Population pyramid for Belize (2010)

According to the 2012 revison of the World Population Prospects the estimated mid year population of 2014 is 340,000 (medium fertility).[2]

Belize's largest cities and towns by population[edit]

  1. Belize City, BZ - 57,169
  2. San Ignacio, CY - 17,878
  3. Belmopan, CY - 13,931
  4. Orange Walk Town, OW - 13,709
  5. San Pedro, BZ - 11,765
  6. Corozal Town, CZ - 10,287
  7. Dangriga, SC - 9,591
  8. Benque Viejo del Carmen, CY - 6,148
  9. Ladyville, BZ - 5,458
  10. Punta Gorda, TO - 5,351

- Based on 2010 census.

Vital statistics[3][4][edit]

Average population (x 1000)Live birthsDeathsNatural changeCrude birth rate (per 1000)Crude death rate (per 1000)Natural change (per 1000)Total fertility rate[5]Infant mortality rate[5]
1934521 94597197437.418.718.7
1935532 0811 37770439.326.013.3
1936531 8791 25662335.523.711.8
1937541 8761 05482234.719.515.2
1938542 0521 17887438.021.816.2
1939552 0841 09299237.919.918.0
1940562 1929861 20639.117.621.5
1941572 1331 0301 10337.418.119.4
1942571 9051 25065533.421.911.5
1943581 9251 13678933.219.613.6
1944582 0311 15387835.019.915.1
1945592 1411 20493736.320.415.9
1946592 0651 0191 04635.017.317.7
1947612 4731 0491 42440.517.223.3
1948632 5068611 64539.813.726.1
1949652 5488771 67139.213.525.7
1950692 6578451 81239.712.627.0
1951712 9058012 10442.111.630.5
1952733 0287942 23442.111.031.0
1953762 9868202 16640.411.129.3
1954783 2318762 35542.511.531.0
1955803 4638582 60544.411.033.4
1956823 7258212 90446.010.135.9
1957853 6159322 68343.611.232.3
1958873 9887953 19346.49.237.1
1959894 0167303 28645.68.337.3
1960924 0917173 37445.07.937.1
1961954 2447083 53645.67.638.0
1962974 4618533 60847.09.038.0
19631004 7837124 07148.87.341.5
19641034 5687293 83945.27.238.0
19651064 6377103 92744.66.837.8
19661094 8987764 12245.87.338.5
19671134 8518114 04043.77.336.4
19681164 6717143 95741.06.334.7
19691194 6607833 87739.86.733.1
19701224 4558133 64237.16.830.4
19711255 0526254 42741.45.136.3
19721274 9546694 28540.05.434.6
19731295 0108014 30339.86.434.2
19741315 0397214 37939.45.634.2
19751335 2018004 40140.06.233.9
19761355 3408814 45940.26.633.5
19771375 5707674 80341.05.635.3
19781395 3848854 49938.76.432.4
19791415 5237104 81338.95.033.9
19801446 2647175 54743.24.938.3
19811485 8217095 11239.14.834.3
19821515 8996635 23638.64.334.3
19831566 0447245 32038.24.633.6
19841605 7567505 00638.04.933.0
19851655 9166935 22335.64.231.5
19861706 1366885 44836.24.132.1
19871746 1216755 44635.13.931.3
19881796 3257085 61735.44.031.4
19891836 6867625 92436.54.232.3
19901887 2008196 38138.44.434.0
19911916 5558425 71334.34.429.9
19921957 5978466 75139.04.334.6
19931986 4629355 52732.64.727.9
19942025 8879444 94329.14.724.4
19952076 6239315 69232.04.527.5
19962126 6789645 71431.44.526.9
19972187 3481 1736 17533.65.428.3
19982256 8441 3505 49430.46.024.4
19992327 1131 1905 92330.75.125.5
20002397 3131 5345 77930.76.424.2
20012457 2151 2615 95429.45.124.3
20022527 5531 2846 26930.05.124.9
20032587 4401 2776 16328.84.923.9
20042658 0831 2986 78530.54.925.6
20052728 3961 3697 02730.95.025.83.618.4
20062797 1711 3965 77525.75.020.73.019.6
20072867 0361 3895 64724.64.919.72.917.2
20082947 1261 3025 82424.34.419.82.812.0
20093017 0001 4535 54723.34.818.4

Ethnic groups[edit]

Population of Belize according to ethnic group[6][7]
Ethnic
group
Census 1946Census 1991Census 2000[1]Census 2010
Number %Number %Number %Number %
Q'eqchi' Maya10,03016.97,9544.312,3665.317,4095.7
Mopan Maya6,7703.78,9803.910,5573.5
Yucatec/other Maya5,6863.13,1551.42,1410.7
Mestizo18,36031.080,47743.6113,04548.7150,92149.7
Creole22,69338.355,05129.857,85924.963,05721.8
Black African5820.31,1510.4
Garifuna4,1126.912,2746.614,0616.113,9854.6
White
* German/Dutch Mennonite
* Other white
2,3293.97,257
5,763
1,494
3.9
3.1
0.8
10,034
8,276
1,758
4.3
3.6
0.8
13,964
10,865
3,099
4.6
3.6
1.0
East Indian1,3662.36,4553.56,8683.07,0732.3
Chinese/Asians500.17470.41,7160.72,8230.9
Mixed18,9476.2
Syrian/Lebanese1280.21670.12400.1
Other1,8671.02,6101.17620.3
Unknown1520.3170.08350.43920.1
Total59,220184,722232,111303,422

Birth Rate by Ethnic Groups (2000 Census)[8]

Ethnic GroupPopulation (2000)Birth Rate (1999)Births
African58217.1810
British1,7589.1016
Chinese1,71619.2333
Creole57,85928.881,671
East Indian6,86827.66190
Garifuna14,06127.17382
Q'eqchi'12,36644.88555
Mopan8,98035.30317
Yucatec3,15519.3361
Mennonite8,27642.53352
Mestizo78,53729.732,335
Spanish34,50832.221,112
Other2,61021.8457
Not Available83545.5138
Total232,11130.717,128

Languages[edit]

English is the only official language of Belize due to being a former British colony. It is the main language used in government and education.[9] Although only 5.6% of the population speaks it as the main language at home, 54% can speak it very well, and another 26% can speak some English. 37% of Belizeans consider their primary language to be Kriol, an English-based creole of words and syntax from various African languages (namely Akan, Igbo, and Twi),[10] and other languages (Miskito, Caliche). It is also a second or third language for another 40% of the multilingual country. Kriol shares similarities with many Caribbean English Creoles as far as phonology and pronunciations are concerned. Also, many of its words and structures are both lexically and phonologically similar to English, its superstrate language. Because it is English-based, all Kriol speakers can understand English. A number of linguists classify Belizean Kriol as a separate language, while others consider it to be a dialect of English.

Spanish is the mother tongue of Mestizo and Central American refugees and is commonly spoken at home by 43% of the population. Maya dialects such as Q'eqchi', Mopan and Yucatec are spoken. Garifuna (which is Arawakan/Maipurean based, with elements of the Carib language, French, and Spanish) and the Plautdietsch dialect of the Mennonites are spoke as well. Literacy currently stands at nearly 80%. In 2001, UNESCO declared the Garifuna language, dance, and music a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity". English is the primary language of public education, with Spanish taught in primary and secondary school as well. Bilingualism is highly encouraged, and therefore, very common.

English & Spanish Language Proficiency[1]
LanguageSpeaks Very WellSpeaks SomeTotal
English54%26%80%
Spanish52%11%63%


Languages in Belize according to 2000 census[1]
LanguageMother tongue speakersPercentageFirst language speakersPercentage
Chinese1,6070.8%1,5290.7%
Creole67,52732.9%75,82237.0%
English7,9463.9%11,5515.6%
Garifuna6,9293.4%4,0712.0%
German6,7833.3%6,6243.2%
Hindi2800.1%1930.1%
Q'eqchi' Maya10,1424.9%9,3144.5%
Mopan Maya6,9093.4%6,0933.0%
Yucatec Maya1,1760.6%6130.3%
Spanish94,42246.0%88,12143.0%
Others / no answer1,4020.7%1,1920.6%

Religion[edit]

Main article: Religion in Belize

According to the 2010 census[11][12] Roman Catholics constitute 40.0% of the population of Belize, down from 49.6% in 2000 and 57.7% in 1991;[13] Protestants constitute 31.7% of the population, with a slight growth in percentage for some groups since 2000 (8.5% Pentecostal; 5.5% Adventist; 4.6% Anglican; 3.8% Mennonite; 3.6% Baptist; 2.9% Methodist; 2.8% Nazarene); Jehova's Witnesses are 1.7% of the population (up from 1.4% in 2000). 10.2% of Belizeans follow other religions (with a growth in percentage since 2000); amongst these there are followers of the indigenous Maya religion, Garifuna religion, Obeah and Myalism, and minorities of Mormons, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Baha'is, Rastafarians and other.[14] The Mennonites, of German descent, live mostly in the rural districts of Cayo and Orange Walk. 15.6% of the Belizean population do not adhere to any religion, up from 9.4% in 2000.

Belizean Roman Catholic churches belong to the Diocese of Belize City-Belmopan; Anglican churches belong to the Diocese of Belize, part of the Church in the Province of the West Indies. Hinduism is followed by most Indian immigrants, while Islam is common among Middle Eastern immigrants and has gained a following among some Kriols. Catholics frequently visit the country for special gospel revivals. The Greek Orthodox Church has a presence in Santa Elena.[15]

The Constitution of Belize provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies contribute to the generally free practice of religion. The Government at all levels protects this right in full against abuse, either by governmental or private actors. The Government generally respects religious freedom in practice. In 2008, the U.S. government received no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]