Demographics of Ecuador
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Alvaro Noboa · Mike Judge · Julio Jaramillo · Rafael Correa · Jamil Mahuad · Roberto Manrique · Johanna Carreno
Total population
±16,5 million

Spanish, and 2 indigenous linguistic groups of Amerindian languages.

The Ethnography of Ecuador consists of a diverse collection of ethnic groups, almost all related to another group in one way or another. The great majority of Ecuadorans trace their origins to one or more of three geographical sources of Human migrations: the pre-Hispanic indigenous Amerindians who settled the region over 15,000 years ago, the Europeans (principally Spaniards) who arrived over 5 centuries ago, and ultimately the black sub-Saharan Africans whom they imported as slave labour during the same period. The mixing of two or more of these three groups established other mixed ethnic groups.

Mestizos, the multiracial group of mixed European and Amerindian ancestry, are by far the largest of all the ethnic groups, and comprise around 65 per cent of the current population. The second most numerous group are the indigenous Amerindians (in Spanish indígenas, amerindios, or more controversially, indios), who account for approximately 25% of the population. Whites (in Spanish blancos) are estimated at 7%, and consists largely of those of unmixed or predominant European descent. Most White Ecuadorans are of colonial era Spanish origin, also known as criollos (literally meaning "local[-born Spaniards]", as opposed to "Peninsulares", which were Spaniards born in the Iberian Peninsula in Spain). Criollos is one of many terms from the colonial era caste system. White Ecuadorans of European non-colonial non-Spanish origin are a minority within the White Ecuadoran group, and are simply termed white. They mainly include descendants of immigrants from Italy, Germany, and France, as well as other countries. Afro-Ecuadorans make up most of the balance of the percentage, and include mulattos (mixed European and sub-Saharan African) and zambos (mixed Amerindian and sub-Saharan African).

Besides the above-mentioned ethnic groups, there are also non-European Caucasians mostly of Levantine origine and East Asians, mostly Chinese and Japanese.

See also: Lebanese people in Ecuador.


Migration trends

In recent decades, there has been a high rate of emigration due to the economic crisis that seriously affected the economy of the country in the 1990s, over 400,000 Ecuadorans left for Spain and Italy, and around 100,000 for the United Kingdom while several hundred thousand Ecuadorans live in the US, (450,000 by some estimates) mostly in the city of Northeast corridor. Many other Ecuadorans have emigrated across Latin America, thousands have gone to Japan and to Australia. One famous American of Ecuadoran descent is pop music vocalist Christina Aguilera.

In Ecuador there are about 100,000 American and 30,000 European Union expatriates. They move to Ecuador for business opportunities and as cheaper place for retirement.

As a result of the political conflict in Colombia and of the criminal gangs that had appeared in the areas of power vacuum a constant flow of refugees and asylum seekers had moved into Ecuadoran territory. Over the last decade a minimum of 45 000 persons are now residents in Ecuador and the government and international organizations are assisting them. According to the UNHCR 2009 report as many as 167,189 refugees and asylum seekers are temporary residents in Ecuador.[1]

Following the migratory trend to Europe many of the jobs that those that left held in the country had been taken over by Peruvian economic migrants. Those jobs are mostly in agriculture and unskilled labor. There are no official statistics but some press reports estimate their number into the tens of thousands.

There is a diverse community of Middle Eastern Ecuadorans, numbering in the tens of thousands, mostly from Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian descent; prominent in commerce and industry, and concentrated in the coastal cities of Guayaquil, Quevedo and Machala. They are well assimilated into the local culture and are referred commonly as "turcos" since the early migrants of these communities arrived with passports issued by the Ottoman Empire in the beginning of the century. See also: Lebanese people in Ecuador.

Ecuador is also home to communities of Basques, Italians, Germans, Portuguese, French, Britons and Greek-Ecuadorans. Ecuadoran Jews, who number around 450 are mostly of German or Italian descent. There are 225,000 English speakers and 112,000 German speakers in Ecuador of which the great majority reside in Quito, mainly all descendants of immigrants who arrived in the late 19th century and of retaired emigrees that returned to their terroir. Most of the descendants of European immigrants strive for the preservation of their heritage. Therefore some groups even have their own schools (e.g. German School Guayaquil and German School Quito), Liceé La Condamine (French Heritage), Alberto Einstein (Jewish Heritage) and The British School of Quito (Anglo-British), cultural and social organizations, churches and country clubs. Their contribution for the social, political and economical development of the country is immense, specially in relation to their percentage in the total population. Most of the families of European heritage belong to the Ecuadoran upper class and had married into the wealtiest families of the country.

There is also a small Asian-Ecuadoran (see Asian Latino) community estimated in a range from 2,500 to 25,000, mainly consists of those having any amount of Chinese Yunan and Han descent, and possibly 10,000 being Japanese whose ancestors arrived as miners, farm hands and fishermen in the late 19th century. Guayaquil has an East Asian community, mostly Chinese including Taiwanese and Koreans.


Due to the prevalence of Malaria and Yellow fever in the coastal region until the end of the 19th century, the Ecuadoran population was most heavily concentrated in the Highlands and valleys of the "Sierra" region. Today's population is distributed more evenly between the "Sierra" and the "Costa" (the coastal lowlands)region. Migration towards the cities—particularly larger cities—in all regions has increased the urban population to about 55 percent.

The "Oriente" region, consisting of Amazonian lowlands to the East of the Andes and covering about half the country's land area, remains sparsely populated and contains only about 3% of the country's population, that for the most are indigenous peoples who maintain a wary distance from the recent mestizo and white settlers. The territories of the "Oriente" are home to as many as nine indigenous groups: Quichua, Shuar, Achuar, Huaorani, Siona, Secoya, Shiwiar, and Cofan, all represented politically by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadoran Amazon, CONFENIAE.

As a result of the oil exploration and the development of the infrastructure required for the exploitation of the oil fields in the eastern jungles during the seventies and early eighties, there was a wave of settlement in the region. The Majority of these wave of internal immigration came from the southern province of Loja as a result of a drought that lasted three years and affected the southern provinces of the country. This boom of the petroleum industry has led to a mushrooming of the town of Lago Agrio (Nueva Loja) as well as substantial deforestation and pollution of wetlands and lakes.

See also Texaco.

CIA World Factbook demographic statistics

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated. Population: 15,007,343 (July 2011 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 34.9% (male 2,430,303; female 2,351,166)
15-64 years: 60.6% (male 4,116,289; female 4,198,667)
65 years and over: 4.5% (male 284,082; female 329,727) (2003 est.)
0-14 years: 31.1% (male 2,312,610/female 2,220,378)
15-64 years: 62.7% (male 4,506,908/female 4,636,703)
65 years and over: 6.2% (male 432,144/female 464,358) (2009 est.)

Median Age

Total: 25.7 years
Male: 25 years
Female: 26.3 years (2011 est.)

Population growth rate

1.443% (2011 est.)

Birth rate

24.94 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
20.77 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)

Death rate

5.29 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
4.99 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate

-0.52 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
-0.81 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.93 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

Infant mortality rate

Total: 31.97 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 26.39 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 37.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
Total: 20.9 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 17.24 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 24.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 101

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 71.89 years
male: 69.06 years
female: 74.86 years (2003 est.)
total population: 75.3 years
male: 72.37 years
female:78.37 years (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 82

Total fertility rate

2.99 children born/woman (2003 est.)
2.51 children born/woman (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.3% (2007 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

26,000 (2007 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

1,400 (2007 est.)


noun: Ecuadoran(s)
adjective: Ecuadoran

Ethnic groups

Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and Spanish) 70%

Amerindian (mostly Quechua but including ten separate indigenous communities) 12%

Afro-Ecuadoran (mostly from Cimarron communities and Slave ship castaways) 3%

White (Spanish descendent) 10%


Roman Catholic: approximately 95%
Protestant: approximately 4%
Jewish: below 0.002%
Eastern Orthodox: under 0.2%
Muslim: (Suni) approximately 0.001%
Buddhism: under 0.15%
Animism: beliefs under 0.5%
Atheist: and agnostics: 1%

Languages Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua).

Achuar-Shiwiar - 2,000 Pastaza province. Alternate names: Achuar, Achual, Achuara, Achuale.

Chachi - 3,450 Esmeraldas Province, Cayapas River system. Alternate names: Cayapa, Cha' Palaachi.

Colorado - 2,300 Santo Domingo de los Colorados province. Alternate names: Tsachila, Tsafiki.

Quechua 9 separate dialocts are spoken in as many areas in the country with a combined population of 1'460,000.

Shuar - 46,669 (2000 WCD). Morona-Santiago Province. Alternate names: Jivaro, Xivaro, Jibaro, Chiwaro, Shuara.

Waorani - 1,650 (2004). Napo and Morona-Santiago provinces. Alternate names: Huaorani, Waodani, Huao.


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91%
male: 92,3%
female: 89,7% (2003 est.)

External Links


  1. ^ [1]

See also

Ecuador Census

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