FACTBOX-Ten facts on Central America's most populous country - Guatemala

by Ellen Wulfhorst | @EJWulfhorst | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 3 May 2017 04:01 GMT

Indigenous people of the Ixil region attend a hearing against former Guatemalan president Efrain Rios Montt in Guatemala city, Guatemala August 25, 2015. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

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Nearly half of children under age 5 are malnourished. Less than 40 percent of sexually active teens use contraception.

By Ellen Wulfhorst

GUATEMALA CITY, May 3 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - With 16 million people, Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America. With people, come problems, and in Guatemala they are felt most keenly by women, girls and the indigenous.

Here are 10 facts about Guatemala:

1. One third of the labor force works in agriculture, and the key exports are sugar, coffee, bananas and vegetables.

2. Almost half of Guatemala's population is under age 19, making it the youngest population in Latin America, according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

3. Nationwide, 46.5 percent of children under age 5 are chronically malnourished. Among indigenous populations, that figure reaches 65 percent, according to Plan International, a British-based children's aid organization.

4. A rural indigenous woman is 20 times more likely to die in childbirth than a non-indigenous city dweller in Guatemala, according to Fundaeco, an organization that promotes protection of natural resources and women's rights.

5. Eight in 10 indigenous people live in poverty, according to Guatemalan government statistics.

6. More than half of indigenous children have stunted growth, according to Mayan Families, a community development organization.

7. By age 16, only a quarter of indigenous girls are enrolled in school, Mayan Families said.

8. Less than 40 percent of sexually active teens use contraception, according to Guttmacher Institute, a U.S.-based reproductive rights organization.

9. A Guatemalan court last year convicted two former military officers of holding indigenous women as sex slaves during the civil war. Eleven Mayan women, many in their 70s and 80s, testified during the historic trial.

It was the first time any national court considered charges of sexual slavery during an armed conflict, considered a crime under international law, according to the United Nations.

10. Women make up more than half the registered voters in Guatemala but are significantly under-represented in political office and political leadership positions, according to the National Democratic Institute.

Women hold 14 percent of its national legislative seats, according to the World Bank.

(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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