Paraguay Country Overview
Where is Paraguay located? The landlocked country of Paraguay is located in South America. It borders Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia. The local time is 4 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-4). The time zone map shows that the World Time Zone that Paraguay is in is called “Paraguay Time”. In the summer months (October-March) there is a time change to daylight saving time. Then the time difference decreases to 3 hours time difference.
As of 2023, the latest population of Paraguay is 7,191,685, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).
|Population growth rate||1.16%|
|Birth rate||16.60 births per 1,000 people|
|Overall life expectancy||76.60 years|
|Men life expectancy||73.97 years|
|Women life expectancy||79.35 years|
|65 years and above||7.35%|
|Median age||27.30 years|
|Gender ratio (Male to Female)||1.01|
|Population density||17.68 residents per km²|
|over 90% European indigenous, 2% European descent, 1.6% indigenous (Guaraní)|
|Catholics (Roman Catholic) 90%, Mennonites, and other Protestants|
|Human Development Index (HDI)||0.724|
|HDI ranking||98th out of 194|
People in Paraguay
Almost 7 million people live in Paraguay. Only 5 percent of them, around 350,000 people, live in the western part, the dry Chaco landscape. All others live in the east of Paraguay, 2.6 million in the region around the capital Asunción alone.
In surveys in 2012 and 2013, Paraguayans (along with the residents of Panama) described themselves as the happiest people in the world.
90 to 95 percent of the population describe themselves as mestizos, descendants of Indians with whites. With this high number, Paraguay has one of the most uniform population groups in Latin America. Almost 2 percent describe themselves as Indians and therefore belong to the indigenous population.
Black slaves from Africa were also brought into Paraguay during colonial times. Today only a few black people live in the country. The numbers vary between 1 and 4 percent. Like the majority of the population, they speak the Guaraní language.
The Mennonites are a minority. They originally come from German-speaking areas, where they were persecuted because of their religion. You belong to the Anabaptists. About 30,000 Mennonites live in Paraguay. They are a small but economically successful group. Above all, the dairy industry was built up by them.
The Guaraní are the largest indigenous group in Paraguay. The Guaraní live in the east of the country. Sometimes all Paraguayans are referred to as guaraní and the country’s soccer team also has this nickname. Even the currency was called that!
There are other indigenous peoples in eastern Paraguay. But these peoples are small, for example the Aché (around 1500 people) or the Chamacoco (1800 people). The Aché still live as hunters and gatherers. So they are nomads and move from one camp to the next.
Guaycurú and other peoples in the Chaco
The Guaycurú include the Mocovíes and Toba. They live in western Paraguay, in the Chaco. There are also other smaller indigenous peoples here, for example the Sanapaná or the Guaná.
- Children: Every woman in Paraguay has an average of 2.5 children. With us, every woman has an average of 1.4 children. A quarter of the population (25 percent) is under 14 years old. In Germany only 13 percent are under 14 years old.
- Urban and rural: 60 percent of Paraguay’s residents live in cities. So 40 percent live in the country.
- Age: The average age is 28 years. The average age in Germany is 47 years.
Languages in Paraguay
Spanish and Guaraní
Spanish is one of two official languages in Paraguay. The other official language is Guaraní, the language of the Guaraní people. In fact, 85 percent of the population speak Guarani as their mother tongue, only 11 percent speak Spanish. This makes Paraguay an exception among the Latin American countries.
Most of the residents are at least bilingual: 95 percent speak Guaraní, 90 percent Spanish. Many people speak a mixture of both languages. Typical for the Guaraní in Paraguay is an admixture of many Spanish words. This variant of the Guaraní is also called Jopara-Guaraní.
Seseo and Voseo
The Spanish spoken in Paraguay is also different from the Spanish spoken in Spain. While in Spain, for example, the c is usually pronounced like an English th, i.e. between the teeth (as in through), in Paraguay (and throughout Latin America) the c is pronounced like a sharp s (as in see). This is called Seseo. Voseo is the name given to the peculiarity that instead of tu (for “you”) vos is said. This is common in Paraguay, tu is hardly needed.
Words from the Guaraní
Incidentally, in German we use a few words that originally come from the Guaraní. These include the words tapir, jaguar, pineapple, cassava, passion fruit, rhea and piranha.
Religions in Paraguay
88 percent of the population are Catholics (Roman Catholic). 8 percent belong to a Protestant church. So the vast majority are Christians.