Ecuador Population, People, Languages and Religions

By | January 21, 2022

Ecuador Country Overview

Where is Ecuador located? The Republic of Ecuador is located in northwestern South America. Ecuador owes its name to the fact that the equator runs through its national territory. Along the lines of longitude, countries are assigned world time zones. Ecuador is located in a zone called “Ecuator Time” (ECT) on the time zone map. The time in this time zone is 5 hours behind the official world time (UTC -5). Like most countries that are close to the equator, Ecuador does not spare time for Daylight Saving Time.

Bordering Countries of Ecuador

According to abbreviationfinder, Ecuador, located in the northwestern corner of South America, is bordered by Colombia to the north and Peru to the south and east. To the west lies the Pacific Ocean. The country is home to diverse ecosystems, including tropical forests, highlands, and coastal plains. Its total land area is just over 283,561 square kilometers (109,483 square miles).

The border between Ecuador and Colombia stretches for 1,250 kilometers (777 miles) along the northern part of Ecuador. It follows a line from its westernmost point at Point Garrapatas on the Pacific coast in Esmeraldas province to its easternmost point at Piedras Coloradas on the border with Peru near El Chaco province. Along this border are several rivers that form natural boundaries between both countries. These include the San Miguel River near Esmeraldas province; Putumayo River near Sucumbíos province; Guayllabamba River near Pichincha province; Napo River near Orellana province; and Aguarico River near El Chaco province.

The border between Ecuador and Peru runs for 1,420 kilometers (883 miles), from its westernmost point at Tumbes on the Pacific coast in El Oro province to its easternmost point at Yanteles in Zamora Chinchipe Province near Peruvian Amazonia region. Along this border are several rivers that form natural boundaries between both countries. These include Zarumilla River near El Oro Province; Santiago River near Loja Province; Marañón River in Cajamarca Region of Peru; Putumayo River in Loreto Region of Peru; Napo River in Orellana Province of Ecuador and Loreto Region of Peru; Pastaza River in Pastaza Province of Ecuador and Loreto Region of Peru; Curaray River in Morona Santiago Province of Ecuador and Pastaza Region of Peru; Tigre River in Sucumbíos Province of Ecuador and Napo Region of Peru; Huancabamba River on Cajamarca region-Loreto region boundary line between both countries; Nucuray river on Cajamarca region-Loreto region boundary line between both countries; Palanda river on Zamora Chinchipe-Loreto region boundary line between both countries.

Finally, Ecuador’s maritime borders consist mostly of territorial waters along its western coast facing out into the Pacific Ocean as well as some parts within Gulf de Guayaquil which it shares with neighboring country Colombia. This maritime boundary extends from Point Garrapatas up north to Point Nemo down south where it meets with Colombian territorial waters along their common maritime boundary within Gulf de Guayaquil. This maritime boundary was established through an agreement between both countries which divides up fishing zones within this area as well as navigation rights for ships belonging to each country passing through these waters.

Ecuador National Flag

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of Ecuador is 16,904,867, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 16,904,867
Population growth rate 1.20%
Birth rate 17.90 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall 76.15 years
Men 73.20 years
Women 79.25 years
Age structure
0-14 years 26.64%
15-64 years 65.68%
65 years and above 7.67%
Median age 27.00 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 0.99
Population density 59.62 residents per km²
Urbanization 61.80%
45% European Indigenous, 35% Indigenous, 10% European, 10% Afro-Ecuadorian
Catholics (Roman Catholic) 74% Evangelical 10.4% Jehovah’s Witnesses 1.2% Others 6.4% Atrheists 7.9%
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.758
HDI ranking 85th out of 194

People in Ecuador

17 million people live in Ecuador. However, the population is not evenly distributed in the country. On the one hand, it migrates to the cities and, on the other hand, from the Andes highlands to the coastal region. Half of the population now lives there, and only 38 percent in the highlands.

Most Ecuadorians have both white and indigenous ancestors. 72 percent of the population is affected.

The Montubios have indigenous, black and white ancestors. 7.4 percent of Montubios live in Ecuador, specifically in the southern coastal regions, particularly in the province of Salitre, 40 kilometers north of Guayaquil. They often work in agriculture or ranching. They have preserved their own culture with their own music and dances as well as clothing. The men traditionally wear sombreros, which are wide straw hats. They love rodeos. They fought to be recognized as an ethnic group in their own right, which happened in 2001.

7.2 percent of the population has African ancestors. They are descendants of the slaves who were brought here in the 16th century. Some are descendants of Maroons, runaway slaves who hid from the Spanish colonial rulers in the hinterland. The black Ecuadorians live mainly on the coast and especially in the province of Esmeraldas, in the far north.

6.1 percent of the population are white. They are descendants of the Spaniards, but also of the French, Italians and Germans. Around one million Ecuadorians live outside their country, most of them emigrated to the USA and Spain.

Kichwa and Shuar

7 percent of Ecuadorians are of indigenous descent. The largest group are the Quechua, who are called Kichwa in Ecuador. Their own name, which they give themselves, is Runakuna. The Quechua ethnic groups live all over the country, but mostly in the Andes. They include, for example, Otavalos, Salasaca, Puruhá, Kañari, Saraguros and Sarayaku.

The second largest indigenous group are the Shuar. They live in the Amazon lowlands. Smaller groups are the 3400 Chachi in the rainforest, in the northwest of the country, and the 2300 Tsáchila, who live on the western slope of the Andes near the city of Santo Domingo de los Colorados. The Spaniards called them Colorados (dyed red) because the men traditionally dyed their hair red.

In the Amazon lowlands, around 2000 Achuar live on the border with Peru, around 1650 Waorani (Huaorani) and Sioni (250) in the interior and around 800 Cofán on the border with Colombia.

Shrunken heads

The Shuar live in the higher areas of the Amazon lowlands. They became known for the production of shrink heads. Until the 19th century they made them as trophies from the heads of defeated enemies. Pretty scary, isn’t it? Today, of course, the Shuar don’t do that anymore, but the heads of sloths are still made with shrunken heads.

  • Children: Every woman in Ecuador has an average of 2.5 children. With us, every woman has an average of 1.4 children.
  • Urban and rural: 64 percent of Ecuador’s residents live in cities. So only around a third of the population lives in rural areas. The most densely populated is the coastal region, where half of the residents live. 38 percent live in the Andes, 12 percent in the sparsely populated east of the Amazon lowlands.

Languages in Ecuador

Spanish in Ecuador

Spanish is the official language in Ecuador. 93 percent of the population speak Spanish as their mother tongue. The Spanish spoken in Ecuador is different from the Spanish spoken in Spain.

There are also three dialects in Ecuadorian Spanish, which can be assigned to the three regions coast, Andes and Amazon lowlands. The Seseo is typical of all variants (c before e and i is pronounced like s, not like the English th).

Words from Quechua, for example ñaño for brother, which means hermano in Spanish, have also found their way into Ecuadorian Spanish. The oral use of the Voseo is typical of the Andes region, which means that “you” say vos instead of tu.

Languages ​​of the Indians

Many of the indigenous peoples also speak their own languages. There are still 65 indigenous languages ​​in total in Ecuador. Quechua (pronounced: Quechua), the ancient language of the Inca, is of great importance. It still has about a million speakers and is spoken in several dialects. 4 percent of the population learn it as their mother tongue.

Shuar is still spoken by around 50,000 to 100,000 people. Quechua and Shuar are the “official languages ​​for intercultural relations”. They are not on an equal footing with Spanish, but at least their importance is recognized.

The remaining indigenous languages ​​each have no more than 5000 speakers. Chachi (3500 speakers) and Tsafiki (or Colorado, 2300 speakers of the Tsáchila) belong to the Barbacoa languages.

Religions in Ecuador

74 percent of the population are Catholics (Roman Catholic). 10.4 percent belong to a Protestant church. 1.2 percent are Jehovah’s Witnesses. The rest are Jews, Buddhists, Hindi or Muslims (6.4 percent in total) or do not belong to any church (8 percent).