Paraguay - Demographics

Demographics

Main articles: Demographics of Paraguay and Languages of Paraguay See also: List of most common surnames in Paraguay

There is no official data on the ethnic composition of the Paraguayan population, because the Department of Statistics, Surveys and Censuses of Paraguay does not include the concepts of race and ethnicity in census surveys, although it does inquire about the indigenous population. According to the census of 2002, the indigenous population was 1.7% of Paraguay's total population.

Traditionally, the majority of the Paraguayan population is considered mixed (mestizo in Spanish), because of the widespread offspring of Guaraní women and Spanish settlers during Spain's domination of the country. Other demographers contend the total "mostly white" percentage has grown in the last century as a result of European immigration and "whites" are now estimated at 20% or one-fifth of the country's population.

According to the CIA World Factbook, Paraguay has a population of 6,669,086, 95% of which are mestizo (mixed European and Amerindian) and 5% are labelled as "other" and are members of indigenous tribal groups. They are divided into 17 distinct ethnolinguistic groupings, many of which are poorly documented.

One remarkable trace of the indigenous Guaraní culture that has endured in Paraguay is the Guaraní language, generally understoood by about 90% of the population. However, nearly all Paraguayans speak Spanish, which alongside Guaraní is an official language. Small groups of ethnic Italians, Germans, Russians, Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, Arabs, Ukrainians, Brazilians, and Argentines have also settled in Paraguay, and they have to an extent retained their languages and culture, particularly the Brazilians, who represent the largest number at around 400,000. Many of the Brazilians are descendants of German, Italian and Polish immigrants. There are an estimated 63,000 Afro-Paraguayans, or 1% of the population. Some 25,000 German-speaking Mennonites live in the Paraguayan Chaco.

Paraguay has one of the more important German communities in South America. German settlers founded several towns as Hohenau, Filadelfia, Neuland, Obligado, Nueva Germania, etc. Some specialized German sites that promote German immigration to Paraguay refers to 5–7% of German-descent Paraguayan population and 150,000 German-Brazilian-descent population.

Paraguay's population is distributed unevenly through the country. About 56% of Paraguayans live in urban areas. The vast majority of the people live in the eastern region near the capital and largest city, Asunción, accounting for 10% of the country's population. The Gran Chaco region, which includes the Alto Paraguay, Boquerón and Presidente Hayes Department, and accounts for about 60% of the territory, is home to less than 2% of the population.

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