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.
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. About 80% of the population are Christian.
Most Belizeans are of multiracial descent. About 34% of the population is of mixed Maya and European descent (Mestizo), 35% are Kriols, about 10.6% are Maya, and about 6.1% are Afro-Amerindian (Garifuna).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 in Belize, mostly in isolated areas.
- Based on 2010 census.
According to the Statistical Institute of Belize, the current population stands at 408,487.
In conjunction with a census of the British Empire, census data was compiled for Belize in 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911, 1921, 1931 and 1946. Belize conducted its own censuses in 1960, 1970, 1980, 1991 and in 2000. None has been held since then.
Most Belizeans are of multiracial descent. About 52.9% are Mestizo, 25.9% Creole, 11.3% Maya, 6.1.% Garifuna, 3.9% East Indian, 3.6% Mennonites, 1.2% White, 1% Asian, 1.2% Other and 0.3% Unknown.
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. Beginning in 1958, German Mennonites of "Russian" Mennonite and Pennsylvania Dutch heritage settled in Belize, mostly in isolated areas.
Because Belize's original Maya peoples were decimated by disease and wars, or fled to Mexico and Guatemala, most 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. Before the massive migration of Yucatec Maya from Mexico to Belize, a local Yucatec Maya group named the Iciache Maya already inhabited the land. Today most Yucatec Maya work in the sugar cane. 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.
|Census 1946||Census 1991||Census 2000||Census 2010|
| White |
* German Mennonite
* Other white
Birth Rate by Ethnic Groups (2000 Census)
|Ethnic Group||Population (2000)||Birth Rate (1999)||Births|
|Average population||Live births||Deaths||Natural change||Crude birth rate (per 1000)||Crude death rate (per 1000)||Natural change (per 1000)||Total fertility rate||Infant mortality rate|
English is the only official language of Belize, a relic of past British colonization. It is the main language used in government and education.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), 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 and Pennsylvania German dialects of the Mennonites are spoken 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|
|Language||Speaks Very Well||Speaks Some||Total|
|none (cannot speak)||0.2%|
According to the 2010 censusCatholics constitute 40.0% of the population of Belize, down from 49.6% in 2000 and 57.7% in 1991; 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. 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. 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.
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.
|Other (includes Baha'i, Buddhist, Hindu, Mormon, Islam, Rastafarian)||10.5%|
|Total||193 942||193 937||387 879||100|
|0-4||23 163||22 116||45 330||11,68|
|5-9||23 771||23 424||47 195||12,17|
|10-14||22 693||22 659||45 352||11,69|
|15-19||20 850||20 831||41 681||10,75|
|20-24||18 046||18 695||36 741||9,47|
|25-29||15 427||16 458||31 885||8,22|
|30-34||13 335||14 137||27 472||7,08|
|35-39||12 144||12 732||24 876||6,41|
|40-44||10 367||10 495||20 862||5,38|
|45-49||9 187||8 802||17 989||4,64|
|50-54||7 152||6 949||14 101||3,64|
|55-59||5 416||4 976||10 392||2,68|
|60-64||3 957||3 527||7 484||1,93|
|65-69||2 814||2 474||5 288||1,36|
|70-74||2 230||1 975||4 205||1,08|
|75-79||1 564||1 518||3 082||0,79|
|80+||1 776||1 994||3 770||0,97|
|0-14||62 824||61 649||124 473||35,59|
|15-64||104 484||106 035||210 519||60,20|
|65+||7 557||7 179||14 736||4,21|
|Period||Life expectancy in |
|Period||Life expectancy in |
Source: UN World Population Prospects
Demographic statistics according to the World Population Review in 2019.
Demographic statistics according to the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.
Roman 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, Mormon, Muslim, Rastafarian, Salvation Army), unspecified 0.6%, none 15.5% (2010 est.)
Belize is a Caribbean country located on the northeastern coast of Central America. Belize is bordered on the northwest by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by Guatemala. It has an area of 22,970 square kilometres (8,867 sq mi) and a population of 408,487 (2019). Its mainland is about 290 km (180 mi) long and 110 km (68 mi) wide. It has the lowest population and population density in Central America. The country's population growth rate of 1.87% per year is the second highest in the region and one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.
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"Land of the Free" is the national anthem of Belize. The words were written by Samuel Alfred Haynes and the music by Selwyn Walford Young in 1963. It was officially adopted in 1981.
According to the 2010 census, the major languages spoken in Belize include English, Spanish and Kriol, all three spoken by more than 40% of the population. Mayan languages are also spoken in certain areas.
Belize Kriol is an English-based creole language closely related to Miskito Coastal Creole, Jamaican Patois, San Andrés-Providencia Creole, Bocas del Toro Creole, Colón Creole, Rio Abajo Creole, and Limón Coastal Creole.
Belizean Creoles, also known as Kriols, are Creole descendants of Black Africans, enslaved and brought to Belize by English and Scottish log cutters, who were known as the Baymen. Over the years they have also intermarried with Miskito from Nicaragua, Jamaicans and other Caribbean people, Mestizos, Pardos, Europeans, Garifunas, Mayans, and Chinese and Indians who were brought to Belize as indentured laborers. These varied peoples have all mixed to create this ethnic group.
The Belizean culture is a mix of influences and people from Kriol, Maya, East Indian, Garinagu, Mestizo, Mennonites who are of German descent, with many other cultures from Chinese to Lebanese. It is a unique blend that emerged through the country is not very aloud. In Belizean folklore, we find the legends of La Llorona, Cadejo, the Tata Duende, and X'tabai.
Central America is a subregion of the Americas formed by six Latin American countries and one (officially) Anglo-American country, Belize. As an isthmus it connects South America with the remainder of mainland North America, and comprises the following countries : Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.
Christianity is the dominant religion in Belize. The single largest denomination is the Roman Catholic Church with about 40.1% of the population, a reduction from 49.6% of the population in 2000, 57.7% in 1991 and 61.9% in 1980, although absolute numbers have still risen. Other major groups include Pentecostal with 8.4% of the population up from 7.4% in 2000 and 6.3% in 1991, Seventh-day Adventists with 5.4% of the population up from 5.2% in 2000 and 4.1% in 1991. The following of the Anglican Church has been steadily declining, with only 4.7% of the population in 2010 compared to 6.95% in 1991. About 12,000 Mennonites live mostly in the rural districts of Cayo and Orange Walk. People who declared they belong to no religion make up 15.5% of the population in 2010, more than double their 2000 census numbers. 11.2% adhere to other religions which include the Maya religion, Afro-American religions, Mormons, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Bahá'ís, Rastafarians and others.
The Mopan people are an indigenous, sub-ethnic group of the Maya peoples. They are native to regions of Belize and Guatemala.
Belizeans are people associated with the country of Belize through citizenship or descent. Belize is a multiethnic country with residents of African, Amerindian, European and Asian descent or any combination of those groups.
This is an Index of Central America-related articles. This index defines Central America as the seven nations of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.
The following is an alphabetical list of topics related to the nation of Belize.
Mennonites in Belize form different religious bodies and come from different ethnic backgrounds. There are groups of Mennonites living in Belize who are quite traditional and conservative, while others have modernized to various degrees.
The Chinese community in Belize consists of descendants of Chinese immigrants who were brought to British Honduras as indentured laborers as well as recent immigrants from China and Taiwan.
Hispanic Belizeans, Latin Belizean or Belizean Mestizos are Belizeans of Hispanic and mestizo descent. Currently, they comprise around 52.9% of Belize's population.