Ecuador Demographics

What is the population of Ecuador?

Population 16,904,867
Population Growth Rate 1.4%
Urban Population 67.500000
Population in Major Urban Areas Guayaquil 2.287 million; QUITO (capital) 1.622 million
Nationality Noun Ecuadorian(s)
Ethnic Groups mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 65%, Amerindian 25%, Spanish and others 7%, black 3%

Ecuador Learning

What is school like in Ecuador?


Children are required to wear a uniform to school. In fact, each year before school begins, each child must buy 3 uniform sets, 2 pair of shoes, a change for gym clothes, and various other school charges. This cost of approximately $200 per years can be very challenging or often even impossible for families who make only a few dollars each day. Sometimes children must take turns going to school every other year because of the cost of attending school. Other families pool their resources and send only one child out of five or more, which is very hard for those who get left behind. Furthermore, children who attend in small villages receive a vastly inadequate education—not because the teacher isn’t trying but rather because she may be poorly trained and have very sparse resources for a class that is too large.

Schools in the poorer areas usually do not have enough desks or other basic classroom resources. Some will not even have adequate running water. There are many volunteer projects sponsored by international groups who are working to improve the educational facilities and system in Ecuador, but it is a very large problem that is not easily fixed.

Education Culture

Although 90% of adults in Ecuador are literate, government and education leaders alike agree that there is much the country can do to better prepare its children for the future. In recent years, educational budgets have increased to provide better technology for the students and increased incentives for the teachers.

Perhaps because of the economic challenges that Ecuador faces, private schools have become a very important part of the educational fabric of the country: 65% of the education in the country is public, and 35% is private. Not all private schools are designed for the wealthy, however. Admittedly, some are, but many have also been founded by well-meaning individuals and groups who simply want to provide a better education for Ecuador’s children. Thus, international and national groups have created humanitarian opportunities for volunteers and dedicated teachers to teach in small villages in difficult circumstances in addition to creating upscale, technologically savvy schools focused on preparing the next generation of business and civic leaders for Ecuador.

Ecuador has two main schedules for the school year: children in the highlands follow a traditional schedule of two months off during the summer. However, in the coastal regions, children attend from April through December, and have the rainy season of January through March off.

If students are fortunate enough to be able to move on from the basic educational programs offered, the country has over 50 universities and 350 technical institutes available for further study. Approximately 1% of children from rural areas will attend a university, compared to 5% from the cities. Obviously, leaders of the country would like to improve that statistic as they move forward into an increasingly complex world.


Children are required to attend school from age 6 to 14; however, that requirement is enforced differently depending on local conditions. Three out of every four children in the cities will attend school through the 6th grade; in rural areas, only one out of every three will graduate from 6th grade. Unfortunately, only about half of all students enroll in secondary schools, and nearly one out of every five students will drop out of school between the ages of 12 and 17 in order to work.

Classes are taught in Spanish, the national language. Subjects include math, science, history, geography, Spanish, English, music, technology (when resources allow), and physical education. Like many Latin American countries, the quality of education can vary widely throughout the country, with money being the most important influence. In communities with more money, the schools have better resources; in poor villages, the local school can struggle to even provide the most basic education.

To School

School generally begins at 7:30 in the morning and is done at around 12:30 in the afternoon. Kids will usually walk or ride a public transportation bus to school, depending on how far from the school they live. Because they are not required to attend the school closest to their homes, they sometimes ride the bus 1.5 to 2 hours to and from the school in order to attend the one that they feel suits their needs best.

The government provides breakfast at school for the students, such as a simple bowl of oatmeal. Lunch is also available at the school, consisting of tuna, rice, and something prepared by parents. Parents take turns preparing food for the lunch.

For schools that do not have a food program, students return home to eat. A typical lunch at home might begin with a bean-and-potato soup, followed by a rice dish containing a fried egg, cheese, or chicken.

Ecuador Population Comparison

Ecuador Health Information

What are the health conditions in Ecuador?

Life Expectancy at Birth 76.150000
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 5.03
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 18.480000
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 7.3%
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population 1.69
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population 1.6
Major Infectious Diseases - degree of risk high
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 91.600000
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 110
Contraceptive Prevalence Rate - female 12-49 72.7%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 2.33
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 21.4%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 86.500000
Underweight - percent of children under five years 6.2%

Ecuador Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Ecuador?

Life Expectancy at Birth 76.150000
Median Age 26.300000
Contraceptive Prevalance Rate - female 12-49 72.7%
Infant Mortality Rate 18.480000
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 110
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 2.33

Ecuador median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 19
Median Age 26.300000
Net Migration Rate - migrant(s)/1,000 population -0.25
Population Growth Rate 1.4%
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.050000
Age Structure 27.520000
Contraceptive Prevalance Rate - female 12-49 72.7%
Infant Mortality Rate 18.480000
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 110
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 2.33

Ecuador Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Ecuador?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Adequate medical and dental care is available in the major cities of Ecuador. In smaller communities and in the Galápagos Islands, services are limited, and the quality is generally well below U.S. standards. Ambulances, with or without trained emergency staff, are in short supply in cities, but even more so in rural areas.

Pharmacies are readily available in any city; however, you might find that the availability of some medications is sporadic, and formulations and brand names will differ from products available in the United States. Narcotics and tranquilizers are extremely limited in availability. Pharmacists sometimes dispense medications without requesting a prescription. These individuals may have little training and often prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics. Consider any advice from them accordingly. Folk healers and traditional markets in some parts of the country offer herbal and folk remedies. You should exercise caution when exploring these remedies, as the formulations can be questionable and some components may interact with other prescription medications.

Many tropical diseases are present in Ecuador, including malaria, dengue and yellow fever (which are transmitted by mosquitoes at lower altitudes), leishmaniaisis (transmitted by sand flies), chagas disease (transmitted by triatomine bugs) and tuberculosis (transmitted from person to person via respiratory droplets). To protect yourself from insect-borne diseases while at lower altitudes, use insect repellants, clothing treated with permethrin, and bed nets.

In Ecuador, yellow fever is found only in the Amazon basin. Ecuadorian authorities might require you to show a certificate of yellow fever vaccination when entering or leaving this area, or when continuing travel to other areas of South America. If possible, you should obtain a yellow fever vaccine prior to departure from the United States. You can also obtain the vaccination in Guayaquil from the Jefatura Provincial de Salud, Panama y Padre Aguirre, (tel): 04-230-3160, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The vaccine is free if you do not need an international certification; otherwise it costs $10.40. Antimalarial medication significantly reduces the risk of contracting malaria. There are no vaccines or prophylactic medications for dengue, leishmaniaisis or chagas. If you become ill with fever or flu-like symptoms during or after travel in a high-risk area, you should promptly seek medical attention. Note that the onset of these diseases may be delayed by up to a year.

Your Health and High Altitudes: If you travel to Quito (elevation: 9,400 feet) or other highland areas, you will typically require some time to adjust to the altitude, which can adversely affect your blood pressure, digestion, and energy level. Mountain climbers in particular should be cautioned not to underestimate the time required to adjust before beginning a challenging climb at altitude. Consult with your personal health care providers before undertaking high-altitude travel, as there are medications available to help combat the effects. If you have heart or lung problems or the sickle cell trait, you may develop serious health complications at high altitudes.

Health Expenditures - percent of GDP


Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population


Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population


Ecuador Education

What is school like in Ecuador?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 4.4%
Literacy - female 91%
Literacy - male 94%
Literacy - total population 91%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write
Total School Life Expectancy - (primary to tertiary) 0.000000

Ecuador Literacy

Can people in Ecuador read?

Literacy - female 91%
Literacy - male 94%
Literacy - total population 91%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write

Ecuador Crime

Is Ecuador a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

Crime is a severe problem in Ecuador. Crimes against U.S. citizens in the past year have ranged from petty theft to violent offenses, including armed robbery, home invasion, sexual assault, and several instances of murder and attempted murder. Very low rates of apprehension and conviction of criminals – due to limited police and judicial resources – contribute to Ecuador’s high crime rate.

“Secuestro Express” Taxi Assaults: Robberies and assaults against taxi passengers, known locally as “secuestro express” continue to present a significant safety concern, especially in Guayaquil and Manta, but also with increasing regularity in Quito. Shortly after the passenger enters a taxi, the vehicle is typically intercepted by armed accomplices of the driver, who threaten passengers with weapons, rob passengers of their personal belongings, and force victims to withdraw money from ATMs. Increasingly, victims have been beaten or raped during these incidents.

In the Guayaquil area, you should call to order a taxi by phone or use a service affiliated with major hotels. If you must hail a taxi on the street, seek out those that are officially registered and in good condition. Registered taxis in Ecuador are usually yellow, display matching unit numbers on their windshields and doors, feature a taxi cooperative name on the door, and are identified with an orange license plate. Still, be aware that passengers have been victimized even in taxis that meet these criteria. U.S. officials associated with the U.S. Consulate in Guayaquil are forbidden from hailing street taxis.

If you become a victim of express kidnapping and/or robbery, cooperation with the assailant usually results in the best outcome, as nothing material is as valuable as your life. Following a criminal incident, U.S. citizens are encouraged to immediately file a police report with the local authorities and to inform the American Citizens Services Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Quito or the U.S. Consulate General in Guayaquil.

Violent Robberies: Armed or violent robberies can occur in all parts of Ecuador, not just the major cities. Many travelers have been robbed after using ATMs or when exiting banks. Travelers should avoid withdrawing large amounts of cash at one time from banks and ATMs, and should use ATMs in protected indoor areas like well-guarded shopping malls. In some cases, robbers have used motorcycles to approach their victims and flee the scene. Tourists have also been robbed at gunpoint on beaches and along hiking trails.

Non-Violent Robberies: Pick-pocketing, purse-snatching, robbery, bag-slashing, and hotel room theft are the most common types of crimes committed against U.S. citizens in Ecuador. They occur throughout Ecuador and incidents have increased significantly in recent years. Pickpockets and other petty thieves are particularly active in airports, restaurants, on public transportation, in crowded streets, bus terminals, public markets, and grocery stores. Backpackers are frequently targeted for robbery, as are travelers carrying laptop computer bags. On buses, luggage stowed below the bus or at a traveler’s feet is sometimes stolen. Thieves in Ecuador often distract the victim, sometimes by purposefully spilling liquid on the victim and pretending to help the victim clean it up, while accomplices snatch the victim’s bag or pick the victim’s pocket. To lower your risk of these or other non-violent crimes, leave valuables in a safe place, or don’t travel with them. Make use of hotel safes when available, avoid wearing obviously expensive jewelry or designer clothing, and carry only the cash or credit cards that you will need on each outing. Stay alert to pickpockets when in crowds and when taking public transportation, and be conscious that distractions can be created to target you.

Carjacking and Thefts from Vehicles: To avoid carjacking or theft from your vehicle while you are stopped at intersections, drive with your doors locked and windows rolled up. “Smash and grabs” occur when thieves break into parked vehicles, but have also been known to occur in slow-moving or stopped traffic, particularly when cars are driven by females in the car alone. Do not leave anything of value in plain view in a car, including sunglasses, sports equipment, purses, briefcases or valuables. Always be aware of your surroundings, and try to travel in groups.

Sexual Assault: Incidents of sexual assault and rape have increased, including in well-traveled tourist areas. Criminals generally target women who are alone, and use alcohol or incapacitating drugs on unsuspecting tourists to rob and/or sexually assault them. These so-called date-rape drugs disorient the victim and can cause prolonged unconsciousness and serious medical problems. To lower your risk, travel in groups, don’t leave food or drinks unattended in public places, and never allow a stranger to give you a drink.

Murder: Since September 2009, at least four U.S. citizens in Ecuador have been victims of murder. In most cases, the victims and alleged perpetrators personally knew each other. Investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators is the responsibility of the Ecuadorian government, and do not proceed with the speed and thoroughness we are accustomed to in the United States. Although the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulate General monitor and encourage these investigations, our ability to intervene is extremely limited. The Ecuadorian government has established an emergency hotline that callers can use to inform police about murders or contract killings. The number is 1-800-DELITO (1800 335486).

Credit Card Fraud: Increasing numbers of U.S. citizens in Ecuador have fallen victim to fraud related to their credit or debit cards. “Skimming,” the theft of credit card informationduring an otherwise legitimate transaction, is most likely to occur in restaurants or bars, where the skimmer takes the victim's card out of the owner’s view. To avoid skimming, take the credit/debit card to the register yourself and never let the card out of your sight. Also, be sure to monitor your bank account or credit card statement frequently.

Staying Alert in Quito: Stay particularly alert for crime on the crowded streets of south Quito, at the Panecillo, the Historic District, and in the areas of El Tejar, Parroquia San Sebastian, Avenida Cristobal Colon, and Gonzalez Suarez. Quito’s Mariscal Sucre district, a popular tourist area with restaurants, bars, hotels, hostels, and shopping, is increasingly a site of crimes; reported incidents in recent years range from petty theft and sexual assault to shootings. In Mariscal Sucre, travel in groups when possible, avoid hailing taxis off the street or using unofficial taxis, and exercise caution in the early morning hours. Outside the city, stay alert if hiking to the summit of Pichincha, as violent crime has been known to occur there.

Staying Alert in Guayaquil and Elsewhere on the Coast: In Guayaquil, visitors should exercise extreme caution in the downtown area and the southern part of the city. Tourist sites such as the Christ statue (Sagrado Corazon de Jesus) on Cerro del Carmen, the Malecon 2000, and Las Peñas, though well-patrolled by police, are still targeted by criminals hoping to prey on unsuspecting tourists. There have also been reports of armed robberies at restaurants in the fashionable areas of Urdesa and Samborondon.

At the airport in both Quito and Guayaquil, arriving passengers have been targeted by armed robbers who follow them from the airport to rob them. Cases have been reported involving multiple vehicles that cut off and intercept the victim as well as just a single motorcycle rider who robs the victim while they are getting out of their car. The perpetrators appear to focus on travelers who are returning from overseas trips laden with gifts and large amounts of cash.

Ecuador Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Ecuador, you are subject to Ecuadorian laws even though you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. Criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. For example, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is also a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Ecuador, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.

If you are arrested in Ecuador, under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and customary international law, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Outside of Quito and Guayaquil, awareness of international protocols is uneven. If you are arrested in Ecuador, request that the Ecuadorian authorities do this on your behalf. Please note, however, that the U.S. government has no authority to intervene in Ecuadorian legal matters.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal to bring back into the United States, if you purchase them, you may also be breaking local law.

Drug Trafficking: Each year, approximately 20 to 25 U.S. citizens are arrested by Ecuadorian authorities for attempting to traffic drugs between Ecuador and the United States, or between mainland Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands. Many of those arrested claim not to have known they were transporting drugs. Under no circumstances should you ever accept gifts, packages, or suitcases from anyone you do not trust and know well. If you are arrested for drug trafficking, you can expect to serve a lengthy period in pre-trial detention, and if convicted you will likely be sentenced to a long prison term and fined heavily. In nearly all cases, U.S. citizens convicted of drug trafficking in Ecuador must serve their sentences in Ecuador, where conditions of confinement are harsh and far below U.S.

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