Paraguay Demographics

What is the population of Paraguay?

Population 7,191,685
Population Growth Rate 1.23%
Urban Population 61.9%
Population in Major Urban Areas ASUNCION (capital) 2.139 million
Nationality Noun Paraguayan(s)
Nationality Adjective Paraguayan
Ethnic Groups mestizo (mixed Spanish and Amerindian) 95%
Languages Spoken Spanish (official), Guarani (official)

Paraguay Learning

What is school like in Paraguay?


Most schools require a uniform. In order to make the most of the school buildings and facilities, some schools will begin at 7:30 in the morning and go until 11:30. A second session for other students will run from 1:30 until 5:30. Some schools will also offer a third session in the evening. Children only attend school for four hours a day, and the multiple sessions of school available help them because they must often work most of the rest of the day, either on a farm in rural areas or selling goods on the streets in the cities. Children can make up the bulk of the street vendors in the cities, which is quite a change from North American and European cultures.

Most children go to school with only a notebook and a pencil. Textbooks are hard to come by, and teachers usually do most of their teaching from a barely adequate blackboard.

In Paraguay, the big meal of the day is usually at noon. Families return home for lunch and then take a little nap (siesta) after eating and before returning to their day’s activities. In large cities such as Ascuncion this is becoming more difficult to do, so the tradition is changing to a more American-like work and school schedule, but most of the country continues as they have for many, many years.

Education Culture

Education in Paraguay, like many Latin American countries, is difficult. Despite that, 80% of all children over the age of five can read and write, and 92% of adults read and write.

Schooling is free and required for children from ages seven to fourteen years old. However, this rule is not strictly enforced, especially for children in rural areas. In those areas, many children never attend or will drop out to help their family attend to farming. The school year runs from March to October, with a two-week break in mid-winter (July).

Because of the challenge of getting a good education in Paraguay, wealthier families will often send their children to universities in Argentina or Brazil. Paraguay has two universities for those who are able to advance to that level (the National University and the Catholic University), but for those who do, the education is free—even at the universities.

In the early 1970s, more than 95% of all rural students dropped out of school before finishing the required six years of education. Soon after, however, education began a slow but determined improvement. Recent studies show that the overall percentage of children, both urban and rural, who finish six years of school has risen to nearly 40%. (For rural kids, only 25% finish elementary school.) Approximately one out of every four children will continue to secondary school, but only 1% will earn a university degree. One very encouraging fact is that young women make up half of all secondary school graduates, which reflects significant progress in education rights and possibilities for girls.

Following six years in elementary school, secondary school is divided into two separate three-year segments: one focuses on the humanities and is intended to prepare students for university and professional studies, while the other is focused on more practical interests such as a program in agriculture, commerce, or industry. Graduation from either program brings the student a baccalaureate degree.


Paraguay has two official languages: Spanish and Guarani. Spanish is used in schools, government, and business, whereas Guarani is common for everyday conversations among family and friends. In schools with high Guarani-speaking populations, some classes and some materials are available in that language.

Primary education is Compulsory but not every child attends especially in the  rural areas. By the time young people reach secondary school they often must give up their studies to work in the fields to supplement family incomes.  To persuade parents of the relevance of education the government offers technical and vocational education to young people.   About 90 percent of the adult population can read and write.

The school system is heavily influenced by the Catholic Church, which is the official state religion and operates nearly all private schools. There is little distinction between church and state education. However, other religions are permitted to both worship in the country and operate schools if they so choose. In part because of this strong, centuries-long influence, the school system is quite centralized, with all schools conducting the same programs and teaching the same content.

The core subjects covered in elementary schools include reading, writing, math, science, and history; additional subjects offered in many schools are Christian education, Spanish, Guarani, English, music, and computer skills.

The average student to teacher ratio is 21 to 1. Unfortunately, many teachers in the rural schools are not certified to teach and are not as well educated as they should be.

To School

Kids will either walk or ride public transportation buses to school, regardless of which school session they attend, and then return home the same way. In some areas, bicycles may be the best way to get around, but walking remains most common. It is free and can get the kids everywhere, given enough time.

Paraguay Health Information

What are the health conditions in Paraguay?

Contraceptive Prevalence Rate - female 15-49 79.4%
Contraceptive Prevalence - note note: percent of women aged 15-44
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 4.61
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 83.4%
Drinking Water Source - percent of total population unimproved 6.2%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 100%
Food or Waterborne Disease (s) bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 9.7%
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.3%
HIV/Aids Deaths 300
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population 1.3
Infant Mortality Rate - female deaths/1,000 live births 17.57
Infant Mortality Rate - male deaths/1,000 live births 25.21
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 21.48
Major Infectious Diseases - degree of risk intermediate
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 99
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 17.9%
People Living with HIV/AIDS 13,000
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population 1.11
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of total population unimproved 20.3%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 96.1%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of rural population improved 52.5%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 2.01
Underweight - percent of children under five years 3.4%
Vectorborne Disease (s) dengue fever

Paraguay Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Paraguay?

Life Expectancy at Birth 76 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - female 79 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - male 73 Years
Median Age 26 Years
Median Age - female 26 Years
Median Age - male 26 Years

Paraguay Infant Mortality - per 1,000 live births

Paraguay median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 17
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 4.61
Median Age 26 Years
Median Age - female 26 Years
Median Age - male 26 Years
Net Migration Rate - migrant(s)/1,000 population -0.08
Population Growth Rate 1.23%
Sex Ratio 0-14 Years - male/female 1.04
Sex Ratio 15-24 Years - male/female 1.01
Sex Ratio 25-54 Years - male/female 1
Sex Ratio 55-64 Years - male/female 1.01
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.05
Sex Ratio of Total Population - male/female 1.01
Sex Ratio Over 64 Years - male/female .87

Paraguay Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Paraguay?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Adequate medical facilities, prescription and over-the-counter medications, supplies, and services are available in Asuncion. Elsewhere these are limited, and in rural areas may not exist.

Paraguay Education

What is school like in Paraguay?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 4.8%
Literacy - female 93%
Literacy - male 94.9%
Literacy - total population 94%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write
School Life Expectancy - female 13 Years
School Life Expectancy - male 12 Years
Total School Life Expectancy - (primary to tertiary) 13 Years

Paraguay Literacy

Can people in Paraguay read?

Literacy - female 93%
Literacy - male 94.9%
Literacy - total population 94%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write
Predominant Language Spanish (official), Guarani (official)

Paraguay Crime

Is Paraguay a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

Crime has increased steadily over the past several years posing a challenge to the Paraguayan National Police. Although most crime is nonviolent, there has been an increase in the use of weapons, and there have been incidents where extreme violence has been used. U.S. citizens have on occasion been the victims of assault, robbery, and rape. Local authorities frequently lack the training and resources to solve these cases. Under these circumstances, U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Paraguay should be aware of their surroundings and security at all times. Travelers and residents alike should take common sense precautions including refraining from displaying expensive-looking cameras and jewelry, large amounts of money, or other valuable items. Criminals often target those thought to be wealthy. Resistance to armed assailants has often aggravated the situation and therefore is not advised.

Armed robbery, car theft, and home invasions are a problem in both urban and rural areas. Street crime, including pick pocketing and mugging, is prevalent in cities. The number of pick pocketing incidents and armed assaults is also increasing on public buses and in the downtown area of Asuncion. A common tactic is the use of motorcycles by robbers to quickly approach their victims and then brandish a weapon and demand a wallet or purse. Please note that this method of operation – two men on a motorcycle – is something for which you should be attentive. As many incidents on public buses involve individuals snatching valuables, passengers should not wear expensive-looking jewelry or display other flashy items. There have been incidents of pilferage from checked baggage at both airports and bus terminals. Travelers have found it prudent to hide valuables on their person or in carry-on luggage. Unauthorized ticket vendors also reportedly operate at the Asuncion bus terminal, badgering travelers into buying tickets for substandard or non-existent services.

Despite concerted efforts by the Paraguayan government over the last several years to improve the quality of its police force, corruption continues to be a problem within the Paraguayan National Police. Police are frequently involved in various criminal activities and actively solicit bribes. Uniformed police often conduct roving checks of vehicles and passengers. All lawful police instructions should be adhered to. However, the Embassy does not support the payment of bribes under any circumstances and encourages U.S. citizens to contact the Embassy if they believe they are being treated improperly.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you will be breaking local law.

Paraguay Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Paraguay, you are subject to its laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Paraguay, 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 wherever you go.

Persons violating Paraguayan laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Paraguay are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. If you should find yourself in jail or legal trouble, you can contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy and consult the Embassy Website for a list of local attorneys.

Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Paraguay, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest, and to have communications from you forwarded to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Paraguay Population Comparison

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