MVP Sustainability Map



Sustainability Grade




Sustainable Population

48.9 %

Contraception Use


Species Threatened

1.52 %

Population Growth

$ 4,603

GDP Per Capita

Country Comments

Guatemala has approximately 40% more citizens than it can support sustainably. Cutting its consumption per person is not really an option. It is the fifth poorest country in Latin America with high rates of poverty and inequality and has the sixth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world. It still suffers significant increasing population growth from a total fertility rate of approximately 3 children per mother down from 5 at the turn of the century.

Guatemala's main environmental problems are deforestation—over 50% of the nation's forests have been destroyed since 1890—and consequent soil erosion. As recently as 1993, the nation obtained 90% of its energy from wood, losing 40,000-60,000 hectares of forest per year. Between 1965 and 1990, Guatemala also lost over 30% of its mangrove area, which totaled 16,000 hectares in the early 1990. The nation's water supply is at risk due to industrial and agricultural toxins. Guatemala still suffers from a lack of financial resources and well-trained personnel to implement environmental control programs.(1)

According to the Population Council, 39% of all indigenous women in the country are illiterate. Traditional practices inhibit girls from attending schools. They are expected to stay at home and help with childcare and household chores. Guatemalan indigenous girls make up the majority of the two million school age children who do not attend school. But several innovative aid and education programs are targeting women in indigenous areas, helping to bring them out of poverty with astounding results.