Ethnic Groups Of Guatemala

Indigenous girls in Chichicastenango, Guatemala.
Indigenous girls in Chichicastenango, Guatemala.

The Republic of Guatemala is a Central American country that borders several other South American States including, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize, and Mexico. Guatemala also borders the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean. The country has a population of more 15 million people and its capital, and largest city is Guatemala City. Guatemala's population has almost equal numbers of different indigenous peoples and Mestizo who are the biggest group including other smaller numbers of White, Q'eqchi', K'iche,' Mam among other indigenous groups

Ethnic Groups Of Guatemala


The Mestizo of Guatemala are people of mixed native and European ancestry. The Guatemalan Mestizo population is mostly found in the urban areas of Guatemala such as the Capital City and other departmental capitals. At the time of Guatemala's independence, the Mestizo population rose to around 600,000. At present, the Guatemalan Mestizo accounts for 42% of the total population.


The White Guatemalans came from Europe in the 17th century with most of them being having Spanish ancestry from the colonial era. Locally born Spaniards are known as criollo. During the Spanish colonial period, the White Guatemalans sired children with the indigenous people of Guatemala giving rise to the mestizo ethnic group that has continued to dominate the population of Guatemala. Currently, the population of White Guatemalans accounts for 18% of the total population.


The K'iche' are an indigenous group belonging to one of the Maya people. Most of the K'iche' people speak their native language and have basic knowledge of Spanish. Most of the K'iche' people live in the highlands of Guatemala. The K'iche' account for 9% of the Guatemalan population.


The Kaqchikel are an indigenous group of the Maya people. About 400,000 Kaqchikel speak their native Kaqchikel language which happens to be one of the Mayan languages. The Kaqchikel practice agriculture and a culture fused with Spanish and Mayan influences. The current Kaqchikel population accounts for 8%.


The Mam are an aboriginal group who live in the Western highlands of Guatemala, and they speak the Mam language. Some of the Mam population reside in the mountainous region of northern Guatemala in small hamlets and have retained their customs and traditions. Some of the Mam are also bilingual speaking with the Mayan language and Spanish. The Mam accounts for 8% of the population in the country.


The Q'eqchi' are also another Guatemalan ethnic group belonging to one of the Maya people and they speak their native language known as the Q'eqchi'. The Q'eqchi' community was dispersed into other Guatemalan regions due to migrations, land displacements and persecution. The Q'eqchi' account for 6% of the population.

Other Indigenous People Of Guatemala

Other indigenous ethnic groups in Guatemala include the Afro-Mestizo, the Garifuna, and the Afro-Guatemalans. Most of the other indigenous groups live in the Eastern end of Guatemala. There are smaller groups of Arabs who reside in Guatemala City, a good number of Jews who migrated from Germany and Eastern Europe during the 19th century and Asians mostly of Chinese and Korean descent whose ancestors came to Guatemala to work on the railroads and farms during the 20th century. The other indigenous group accounts for 9% of the population.

A good number of Guatemalans live outside of the country with their largest diaspora being the United States. Guatemala is a country that is ethnically diverse with a variety of languages, cultures, and race.

Ethnic Groups Of Guatemala

Rank Ethnic Group Share of Guatemalan Population
1 Mestizo 42%
2 White 18%
3 K'iche' 9%
4 Kaqchikel 8%
5 Mam 8%
6 Q'eqchi' 6%
Other Indigenous Peoples 9%

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