Guatemala is a small country in Central America with a population of 17.6 million. Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America. The Ladino/Mestizo and Mayan ethnic groups make up the majority of the population.
Guatemala's birth and infant mortality rates are among the highest in Central America. Life expectancy is very low. The country's location makes it ideal for organized crime, which is linked to drug trafficking. Money laundering, human trafficking and arms trafficking affect the lives of people throughout Guatemala.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Guatemala since 1976.
Guatemala is one of the four countries in the world where chronic malnutrition is most common among children under the age of 5. Children from the poorest households are most affected by chronic malnutrition. Malnutrition leads to a higher risk of ill-health.
Guatemala has high infant and child mortality rates. In 2021, there were 22,400 known cases of malnourished children in Guatemala. The rate of chronic malnutrition is twice as high among indigenous children, affecting 8 out of 10 children.
Socioeconomic and geographic inequality is the main cause of poverty in Guatemala. 8 out of 10 people in rural areas are living in poverty.
Parental education and household income are linked to poverty levels. The lower the level of education, the lower the income.
Children living in poverty often cannot go to school and have to work to financially support their families.
Although the Guatemalan legal system has laws that provide protection and resources to female survivors of violence, they are not always enforced.
Discrimination against women is still widespread. In the last decade, the number of femicides has reached unprecedented levels, with 700 murdered per year.
There are rural areas where 90% of children and women suffer from domestic violence. The attackers are rarely prosecuted.