ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Poverty in Guatemala

Updated on September 20, 2011

Unequal distribution of wealth is one of the leading causes of poverty in the world. Guatemala I no exception to this it has one of the highest poverty rates in all of Central America. Its GDP is also one of the highest with its domestic production wealth going only to a handful of political elites. Guatemala has more then seventy five percent of its national population living at or below the poverty line and this is most severe for rural and indigenous populations.

Its distribution of wealth is unusual in the world the wealthiest in Guatemala are the top ten percent owning nearly fifty percent of the nation’s wealth and the poorest ten percent owning less than 1%. This includes industrial, retail, farming, and land.

The population of Guatemala is over twelve million, half of the population is under 18 and more then half of that age group live in squalor. The high level of poverty in the country can be attributed to a number of reasons one is the lack of social programs and the demand for cheap labor which results in children being taken advantage of. But, sometimes the children need to work if it means they are the sole support for their family. Guatemala has also one of the highest percentages of street children discarded like trash by their families since there is no means to support them.

With extreme poverty there also comes consequences, one of which is the low life expectancy age in the country. Guatemala ranks as one of the worst with the average age of 65 and a 40 out of every 100 births do not survive past a few weeks. The government only spends a small amount of money in social programs such as health care which result in the poor health of a lot of Guatemalan families. The poor do not have easy access to good health care as facilities are focused in the metropolitan areas. Then with the use of pesticides, the low availability of drinking water and waste disposal services in rural areas there has also raised the occurrence of health problems.

Another drawback to the poverty crises in Guatemala is that among Guatemala’s children it is very high. Most children under 5 in this country are mal nourished more so in the rural areas but it effects the over all mortality rate whether it is in the city or rural areas. Malnutrition mirrors the geographic and ethnic patterns of poverty, being higher among rural children than urban (51% vs. 32%). The poor are highly dependent on agriculture, some 87 percent, as small scale subsistence farmers or agricultural day laborers. Non Spanish speakers also face lower incomes

The government must also focus on another issue the lack of proper education for the populous. Education is not a great priority for poor Guatemalans as children are needed to work to contribute to the family income. Only 44 percent of school age children attend classes and only 55.6 percent of the total population is literate. Child labor significantly inhibits the ability to attend school.

This will continue until there is a step in by the government or wealthy individuals to help the cause. There are so many things ready to be discovered and introduced by Guatemala but there is a lack of basic life infrastructure that still needs to be met. The people of Guatemala must learn to sustain themselves with basic education micro business anything to keep alive which will grow as their efforts are far from futile. So next time you’re in Guatemala try and pass something along that you know they will use.

If you would like to learn more about Guatemalas History, Traditions, Culture, News, and expat living come and visit my website at


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)