Central America’s most populous country, about 40% of Guatemala’s population are of indigenous descent. Although Guatemala is a lower middle-income country (per capita income: $7,500), this figure masks extreme inequalities that affect indigenous and rural populations. For example, the average time in school among indigenous people is only 3.8 years while it is 6.5 years among the non-indigenous.
Almost 75% of indigenous people live in poverty compared with only 36% of the non-indigenous. These large inequalities are also present between rural and urban residents. Guatemala has a national poverty rate exceeding 50% and a rate of extreme poverty of 15%. While 46% of the total population lives in rural areas, 72% of the extremely poor live in rural areas.