Ecuador Population and Languages

By | December 14, 2021

There are no population data for Ecuador that are the result of regular censuses. A census was carried out in 1900; but the results were never published. In 1889 T. Wolf estimated the population of Ecuador at 1,192,000; at the beginning of the current century, other calculations made it amount to about 1,400,000 residents; recent calculations, but very uncertain, make it rise to 2 million residents (6 per sq. Km.). The Whites, who have in their hands the political and economic life of the country, are only 8%, while the Indîs represent 48%, the Mestizos (with Cholos and Zambos) 30%, Negroes and Mulattos 14%. The Negroes and the Mulattos live especially in the coastal region, the Whites in the highlands. Wild Indians are still found in the East, where they actually live independently. Foreigners in total amount to 10,000; especially the North Americans, the Germans, the English, the French are numerous; the Italians are over 1600 (1674 in 1927) and constitute a thriving colony that lives almost exclusively in Guayaquil and Quito; for the most part, they are traders and professionals.

The natural conditions mean that the population is very unevenly distributed: 19% live in the coastal region, 76% in the mountainous region and 5% only in the East. Considering the density of the various provinces (see table on p. 444) we see that the maximums are precisely on the plateaus (Tunguragua, 29 residents per sq km; León, 20; Bolívar, Cañar, Chimborazo, 19) and the minimums in the East (Napo-Pastaza and Santiago-Zamora provinces with 1.4 residents per sq. Km.), In the coastal region (Esmeraldas, 2.5 residents per sq. Km.; Manabí, 6) and in the Galápagos (0.05 residents.). The considerable density of the province of Guayas (11) is essentially due to the presence of the large urban center of Guayaquil (100,000 residents). If more precise and detailed data were available, it would be seen that in the coastal region the population lives almost all along the coast and along the rivers; in the East, exclusively along the main rivers; and in the mountainous region, on the main plateaus, leaving the slopes of the Cordillera almost uninhabited. The climatic conditions are the main factor that has influenced the greater density of the population on the plateaus; in the coastal region, the climatic and hygienic conditions not very favorable to humans (until a few decades ago the region around Guayaquil was infested with yellow fever and cases of bubonic plague were far from rare) are partly compensated by the fertility of the soil and the relative ease of communications, and therefore of traffic. For Ecuador society, please check

Of the Ecuadorian centers, only 10 exceed 10,000 residents: Guayaquil alone reaches 100,000; Quito, the capital, has 95,000. They are followed by Cuenca (40,000 residents), Riobamba (20,000), Latacunga (15,000), Loja (12,000), Ambato (10,000), Ibarra (10,000), Portoviejo (10,000) and Tulcán (10,000). None of these cities are right on the sea; Guayaquil is 40 km away.; it and Portoviejo are located in the coastal region, the others are all in the mountainous one, mostly at very considerable heights, always higher than 2200 m. (Tulcán, 2980 m.; Quito, 2850; Latacunga, 2800; Riobamba, 2800, Ambato, 2600; Cuenca 2580, etc.).

Official language of Ecuador is Spanish; the absolute majority of the population (except the wild Indians) is Catholic (see below).

Bibl.: Papers: the best, for the whole republic, is still that of T. Wolf (Carte geográfica del Ecuador) at a scale of 1: 445,000, in 6 sheets (Leipzig 1892). Of the sheets already published of the Map of Hispanic America at the millionth of the Geographical Society of New York, only the Rio Mira-Islas Galápagos sheet is of interest to Ecuador.

Ecuador Population and Languages