Paraguay Travel Information

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The Nature Conservancy in Paraguay

Facts About Paraguay

Background: In the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance (1865-70), Paraguay lost two-thirds of all adult males and much of its territory. It stagnated economically for the next half century. In the Chaco War of 1932-35, large, economically important areas were won from Bolivia. The 35-year military dictatorship of Alfredo STROESSNER was overthrown in 1989, and, despite a marked increase in political infighting in recent years, relatively free and regular presidential elections have been held since then.
Government type: constitutional republic
Capital: Asuncion
Currency: 1 guarani (G) = 100 centimos

Geography of Paraguay

Location: Central South America, northeast of Argentina
Geographic coordinates: 23 00 S, 58 00 W
Area:
total: 406,750 sq km
land: 397,300 sq km
water: 9,450 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 3,920 km
border countries: Argentina 1,880 km, Bolivia 750 km, Brazil 1,290 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Climate: subtropical to temperate; substantial rainfall in the eastern portions, becoming semiarid in the far west
Terrain: grassy plains and wooded hills east of Rio Paraguay; Gran Chaco region west of Rio Paraguay mostly low, marshy plain near the river, and dry forest and thorny scrub elsewhere
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: junction of Rio Paraguay and Rio Parana 46 m
highest point: Cerro San Rafael 850 m
Natural resources: hydropower, timber, iron ore, manganese, limestone
Land use:
arable land: 6%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 55%
forests and woodland: 32%
other: 7% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 670 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: local flooding in southeast (early September to June); poorly drained plains may become boggy (early October to June)
Environment - current issues: deforestation (an estimated 2 million hectares of forest land were lost from 1958-85); water pollution; inadequate means for waste disposal present health risks for many urban residents.
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note: landlocked; lies between Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil; population concentrated in southern part of country.

People of Paraguay

Paraguay's population is distributed unevenly throughout the country. The vast majority of the people live in the eastern region, most within 160 kilometers (100 mi.) of Asuncion, the capital and largest city. The Chaco, which accounts for about 60% of the territory, is home to less than 2% of the population. Ethnically, culturally, and socially, Paraguay has one of the most homogeneous populations in South America. About 95% of the people are of mixed Spanish and Guarani Indian descent. Little trace is left of the original Guarani culture except the language, which is understood by 90% of the population. About 75% of all Paraguayans speak Spanish. Guarani and Spanish are official languages. Germans, Japanese, Koreans, ethnic Chinese, Arabs, Brazilians, and Argentines are among those who have settled in Paraguay.

Population: 6,347,884 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  38.9% 
15-64 years:  56.39%
65 years and over:  4.71%
Population growth rate: 2.6% 
Birth rate: 30.88 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 4.75 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -0.09 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 29.78 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  73.92 years
male:  71.44 years
female:  76.52 years 
Total fertility rate: 4.11 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Paraguayan(s)
adjective: Paraguayan
Ethnic groups: mestizo (mixed Spanish and Amerindian) 95%
Religions: Roman Catholic 90%, Mennonite, and other Protestant
Languages: Spanish (official), Guarani (spoken by most of rural population)
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.1%
male: 93.5%
female: 90.6% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Paraguay > Map Economy History