Latin America is the part of the Americas where the people speak Romance languages: Spanish or Portuguese. This includes most of South America and Central America (also including the Spanish-speaking and sometimes the French-speaking Caribbean islands).
|Area||20,111,457 square kilometers (7,765,077 square miles)|
|Population||656,098,097 (2021 estimate)[a]|
|Population density||31 per square kilometer (80 per square mile)|
Spanish, Portuguese, and French
Quechua, Haitian Creole, Mayan languages, Guaraní, Aymara, Nahuatl, Italian, German, English, Dutch, Polish, Ukrainian, Welsh, Yiddish, Chinese, Japanese
|Time zones||UTC−2 to UTC−8|
|Largest cities||(Metro areas)|
1. São Paulo
2. Mexico City
3. Buenos Aires
5. Rio de Janeiro
8. Belo Horizonte
|UN M49 code|
The places in the Americas which speak French (Haiti, French Guiana and the French-speaking Caribbean islands) are not always included as a part of Latin America, although French is also a Romance language.
In the United States, the term "Latino" refers to a person who has Latin American heritage. It is different from Hispanic which would only include countries where Spanish is the official language. For example, Hispanic would not include Brazil because its official language is Portuguese.
In Spanish, "latino" is a masculine term (for boys and men) whereas "latina" is a feminine term (for girls and women). In the English language, "latino" is not associated with gender so it is an all-inclusive term (male, female, and non-binary). In the 2010s, the term "Latinx" was created to be a gender-neutral term but very few Latinos actually use it.
Countries and territories that make up Latin America change
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Puerto Rico[sn 1]
|Source: "UN report 2004 data" (PDF)|
Largest cities change
|City||Country||2017 population||2014 GDP (PPP, $million, USD)||2014 GDP per capita, (USD)|
|Rio de Janeiro||Brazil||14,440,345||$176,630||$14,176|
Ethnic groups change
- Native American or indigenous. The Native population in Latin America, came during the Lithic stage. There are more than sixty million of these people. They are the majority only in Bolivia, Peru, and Guatemala. In Ecuador they are a large minority of about 1/4 of the population. Mexico's Native American population is nearly 30%, and is also one of the largest American Indian population in the Americas in terms of absolute numbers. Most of the remaining countries have Native American minorities.
- European. In the 1500s, many Iberian colonists came to what is now Latin America. Today, most White Latin Americans are of Spanish and Portuguese origin. The Iberians brought their language, religion, and culture to Latin America.
- African. Millions of African slaves were brought to the Americas from the early 1500s onward. The majority went to the Caribbean and Brazil.
- Asian. People of Asian descent number several millions in Latin America. The majority of Asian Latin Americans are of Japanese and Chinese heritage, and they mostly live in Peru and Brazil. The largest community of Japanese ethnicity living outside of Japan, resides in Brazil. There is also a growing Chinese population in Panama, as well as Costa Rica (though, Chinese Costa Ricans are a large minority). In the Dominican Republic, there is a place where large numbers of Japanese people came; most Japanese Dominicans live in towns such as Bonao and Santo Domingo.
- Arab or Middle Eastern. Arabs in Latin America are also many, but they are mostly found among the Hispanic-Caribbean regions. In Cuba and Puerto Rico. In the Dominican Republic, the Arabs arrived sometime between the 19th and 20th century; (most are Morracians, Lebanese and East Indians).
Most of these ethnic groups can be found anywhere in Latin America; but since most Latin Americans are of mixed-race, many of these ethnic groups do not reach 100%.
Spanish and Portuguese are the most common languages in Latin America. Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, while Spanish is the official language of most other Latin America mainland countries, and of Cuba, Puerto Rico (along with English), and the Dominican Republic.
Many people speak Native American languages in Peru, Guatemala, Bolivia, Paraguay and Mexico. These languages are less common in other countries, but in some countries like Bolivia, they are considered official along with the main European language.
Other Indo-European languages spoken in Latin America include English (mainly in Puerto Rico but also in Guyana), French (spoken in Haiti and French Guiana), and Dutch (in Suriname). Although French is also spoken in the Canadian province of Quebec and the American state of Louisiana, these countries are not considered part of Latin America because they are mostly English-speaking. Guyana, French Guiana (one of the overseas territories of France), and Suriname, which are found the northern part of South America and known together as the Guianas, are the only places in South America that do not speak Spanish or Portuguese.
In several nations, Creole languages are also spoken, especially in the Caribbean. Palenquero is the Spanish-based Creole language spoken in Colombia by some 3,000 people, it is Spanish with many African influences and some Portuguese influence. Other creoles in mainland Latin America have the same roots, blending Spanish with either African or Indigenous languages or both, as Cuban Spanish does. The island of Haiti also has a well-known creole language, called Haitian Creole.
Poverty and inequality change
Poverty continues to be one of the biggest challenges for Latin American countries. According to estimates, Latin America is the most unequal region of the world. According to a Country Studies Institute the poorest countries in the region (in 2011) were: Haiti, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Honduras. Undernourishment affects 72% of Haitians, 47% of Nicaraguans and Bolivians, and 32% of Hondurans.
Related pages change
- Includes the population estimates for South American and Central American countries, not including Belize, Guyana, the United States, and Spanish and French-speaking Caribbean countries and territories.
- Not including Anglophone or Dutch-speaking countries, such as Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago; see Contemporary definitions section
- Note: Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States.
- Note: French Guiana is an overseas department of France.
- Note: Guadeloupe is an overseas department of France.
- Note: Martinique is an overseas department of France.
- Note: Saint Barthélemy is an overseas collectivity of France.
- Note: Saint Martin is an overseas collectivity of France.
- "World Development Indicators: Rural environment and land use". World Development Indicators, The World Bank. World Bank. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
- "World Population Prospects 2022". population.un.org. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
- "World Population Prospects 2022: Demographic indicators by region, subregion and country, annually for 1950-2100" (XSLX). population.un.org ("Total Population, as of 1 July (thousands)"). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
- "Global Metro Monitor 2014". Brookings Institution. 30 November 2001. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
- Geography Department at Loughborough University, The World According to GaWC 2012, Table 4
- Colburn, Forrest D (2002). Latin America at the End of Politics. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-09181-5.
- "Latin American literature". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
- ""Latinx" is Unpopular with Actual Latin Americans, Poll Shows".
- Lizcano Fernández, Francisco (May–August 2005). "Composición Étnica de las Tres Áreas Culturales del Continente Americano al Comienzo del Siglo XXI" (PDF). Convergencia (in Spanish). Mexico: Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Centro de Investigación en Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades. 38: 185–232, table on p. 218. ISSN 1405-1435. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-02-24. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
Other websites change
- Latin America – Citizendium
- The Washington Post Interactive Map of Politics in Latin America
- Andean Community official webpage Archived 2008-05-09 at the Wayback Machine
- Council on Hemispheric Affairs
- Latin American Network Information Center Archived 2007-12-24 at the Wayback Machine
- Latin America Working Group
- Washington Office on Latin America
- Politics in Latin America
- Infolatam. Information and analysis of Latin America Archived 2008-09-08 at the Library of Congress Web Archives