Population of Guatemala: (est.) 14.36 million.

Largest city/Capital Guatemala City

Population of Guatemala City Metro 2.5 million

Urban population 49% of total population (2008)

Rate of urbanization 3.4% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)


Environmental Problems
One of the most troubling environmental issues for Guatemala City is waste removal. The Guatemala City garbage dump occupies 40 acres of land; making it one of the largest and most toxic landfills in Cental America. It single-handedly houses over a third of the countries waste. There are very few health and safety restrictions on what can be desposed of; therefore the dump contains a dangerous mix of medical supplies, gas tanks, biohazardous materials, trash, recyclebales, decaying animals etc.
What makes this lack of regulation even more troubling is the fact that thousands squatters live along its perimeter. Here they pick through the trash to find food and re-usable items in order to survive.
Borg, J. P., & Zitomer, D. H. (2008). Dual-Team Model for International Service Learning in Engineering: Remote Solar Water Pumping in Guatemala. Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education & Practice, 134(2), 178-185. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)1052-3928(2008)134:2(178)

Social problems
According to the World Bank "Guatemala suffers from economic inequality and stark disparities are embedded in access to health, basic education, social services and opportunities. Cronic malnutrition along with infant and maternal mortality rates remain high." "Guatemala's social indicators often fall below those of countries with lower per capita incomes. The average school attendance of the adult population is 5.4 years and just 1.9 years for the indigenous population."

Guatemala has one of the highest violent crime rates in Latin America. In 2010, approximately 55 murders a week were reported in Guatemala City alone. Some of the most violent crimes are connected to drug trafficking and include beheadings and point blank shootings.

Gangs are a growing concern in Guatemala City. Members are often well armed with sophisticated weaponry and can use massive amounts of force. Armed robbers have attacked vehicles on main roads in broad daylight.


Posted by Steph McLean