Ecuador Geography and Population

Ecuador – geography

The Andes divide the country into three natural geographical regions. The highlands, the Sierra, consist of two parallel mountain ranges with a plateau in between. The Pan-American Highway runs on the plateau at an altitude of 2000-3000 m, and the route is flanked at intervals by up to 6000 m high snow-covered volcanoes in perfect cone shape. This landscape element is so distinctive that it is part of the country’s coat of arms. The eastern region, Oriente, is made up of tributaries from the Andes, which slowly slide into the tropical rainforest of the Amazon Basin. The coastal region, Costa, consists of a low mountain range along the coast and a large river plain between this and the Andes. The rivers converge in a large outlet at Guayaquil.

The climate is characterized by its location on the equator. The temperature and precipitation are quite uniform throughout the year, but due to the large altitude differences, you can find all climate types from tropical to polar with a similar variation in the plant cover. In the coastal region, it will be drier to the south due to the cooling from the cold Humboldt current. In an old guide, it is stated that when you can no longer see trees, you are in Peru.

Population and occupation

The population is very unevenly distributed. The rainforest areas of the Oriente are very sparsely populated, while the rest of the country has a population density of approximately 100 residents per km2. Just over 60% live in cities. The population growth is approximately 1.5% per year. There is some emigration to especially the United States, but the country also receives immigrants itself, especially from neighboring Colombia. Within the country’s borders, the population flow goes from country to city, with by far the largest share to the capital Quito and the other major city of Guayaquil. Some are also moving to newly cleared rainforest areas in the Oriente around the oil city of Coca.

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approximately 40% of the population are stated to be Indians and about as many mestizos, but the boundary between the two groups is fluid. approximately 10% white and slightly fewer blacks and people of mixed black and white descent make up the rest. The blacks inhabit especially the northeastern part of the country around Esmeralda. Together with Guatemala and Bolivia, Ecuador has Latin America’s largest Native American population, both in terms of number and per cent. of the population. The Highland and Lowland Indians are of vastly different ethnic origins.

Profession. Nearly three-quarters of those in employment are men; women are mainly employed in public and private service occupations. Until oil exports began in the early 1970’s, the country was completely dependent on the agricultural sector, and a one-sided export of first cocoa and later bananas meant great dependence on the world market and its fluctuating prices.

Agriculture etc. contributes less than 10% of GDP, but up to 30% of the population is associated with the sector. A large part of the production, especially of food, takes place on small farmers’ minimal plots of land with outdated cultivation methods. Several attempts at land reform have not decisively changed the pattern. A 1994 reform is to completely liberalize land trade; The aim is to promote a concentration of good land through acquisitions, so that export production can be expanded. The law has caused extensive political unrest.

In the highlands, extensively run estates are found on the best lands in the valley bottoms, while the small plots of land of the Native American peasants lie up the mountain slopes. Products from the temperate zone are grown here, such as potatoes, barley, onions and beans. In the flat, tropical coastal lowlands, the original rainforest has been felled in favor of large plantations of bananas, oil palms and rubber trees. Bananas continue to account for a significant share of Ecuador’s exports, and the country is a world market leader with about a quarter of total banana exports.

The Amazon lowlands are largely covered by rainforest with scattered Native American settlements, but felling takes place very quickly. In connection with the oil extraction in the region, the road network is being expanded, and colonists from the highlands are more or less legally settling on small farms. Large plantations are also laid out here, especially with oil palms. The major changes are causing serious conflicts with the indigenous people.

Up through the 1980’s, with large investments, Ecuador developed n of the world’s largest productions of farmed shrimp from large basins in the coastal region’s mangrove swamp. The value of shrimp exports is the same as banana exports.

Oil. Since the early 1970’s, oil production has provided the framework for the country’s business development, with major investments in infrastructure, modernization of agriculture, shrimp farms and industry coming from oil revenues and from the loans that oil has provided. Extraction takes place in northern Amazon Slavonia around the city of Coca, while Guayaquil Bay has natural gas fields. The sector contributes approximately 40% of exports. There are constantly new fields in the Amazon. The oil extraction itself has been developed with significant foreign support, while investments in refineries and other ancillary industries have not been of interest to investors. Ecuador is thus a major exporter of crude oil, but imports fuel.

Despite the development after the oil boom, Ecuador’s industry is small compared to other South American countries. The production is mainly aimed at the domestic market with cement, rubber and fertilizer industries, but an increasing proportion of coffee is exported as instant coffee. It has not succeeded in integrating the industry into an overall economic development; the individual industries function as isolated islands, and virtually all input in the form of machinery and raw materials is imported. The sector is entirely concentrated in Guayaquil and Quito.

Ecuador – language

The official language of Ecuador is Spanish. In addition, Quechua, called Quichua in Ecuador, is spoken by approximately 2.5 million In the eastern rainforest areas, Shuar and 9-10 other South American Native American languages ​​are spoken by nearly 60,000 (2000). About half of the Native American population does not speak Spanish. For culture and traditions of Ecuador, please check calculatorinc.

Ecuador – religion

The vast majority of the population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church; approximately 1% are Protestants, not least through missions from the United States. Some Native American tribes in the rainforest areas have preserved their original natural religion.

The Catholic mission began with the conquistadors in the 1500’s; in the 1800’s. was the country under Jesuit influence. In 1904, state and church were separated, and religious freedom was introduced.