Population: 729,425 (July 1994 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.75% (1994 est.)
Birth rate: 19.95 births/1,000 population (1994 est.)
Death rate: 7.36 deaths/1,000 population (1994 est.)
Net migration rate: -20.03 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1994 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 48.5 deaths/1,000 live births (1994 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population 64.9 years male 61.66 years
Total fertility rate: 2.29 children born/woman (1994 est.)
noun Guyanese (singular and plural)
Ethnic divisions: East Indian 51%, black and mixed 43%, Amerindian 4%, European and Chinese 2%
Religions: Christian 57%, Hindu 33%, Muslim 9%, other 1%
Languages: English, Amerindian dialects
Literacy: age 15 and over having ever attended
school (1990 est.)
Labor force: 268,000
Guyana is often referred to as the land of six peoples, reflecting the multi-ethnic composition of its population. The largest ethnic group is the East Indians (about 5l percent), descendants of indentured labourers from India, followed by the Africans (38 percent). The other ethnic groups are the Chinese, the Europeans (mostly Portuguese) and the Amerindians. The Portuguese came as indentured labourers from Madeira, the Azores and the Cape Verdes. During the colonial era, they were regarded as a separate group from the other Europeans (mainly British), no doubt because of their origins as indentured labourers. This practice underlines the notion of six peoples. There is also a large racially mixed group.
[More on the notions of 'six peoples' can be read here.]
About one-third of the population lives in towns. Georgetown, the capital, is situated on the coast, on the right bank of the Demerara river, one of the three main rivers flowing into the Atlantic Ocean. Other important towns are Anna Regina, Corriverton, Rose Hall and New Amsterdam, all located along the coastline, and Linden, a bauxite mining town, about 65 miles inland on the Demerara River.
The official language of Guyana is English. Creolese, an English-based creole, is widely used as a language of informal communication. The Amerindians have maintained their many dialects. Hindi and Urdu are used almost exclusively for religious purposes by Hindus and Muslims, respectively.
Guyana is a secular state with religious freedom guaranteed to all under the Constitution. The three main religions are Christianity, Hinduism and Islam.