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People, Languages & Religions in Paraguay
 
 
 

People

There is no official data on the ethnic composition of the Paraguayan population, because the Department of Statistics, Surveys and Censuses (Dirección General de Estadísticas, Encuestas y Censos – DGEEC) of Paraguay does not include the concepts of race and ethnicity in census surveys, although it does inquire about the indigenous population. According to the census of 2002, the indigenous population was 1.7% of Paraguay's total population.

Traditionally, the Paraguayan population is considered mixed (mestizo in Spanish), because of the widespread offspring of Guaraní women and Spanish settlers during Spain's domination of the country.

Small groups of ethnic Italians, Germans, Russians, Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, Arabs, Ukrainians, Brazilians, and Argentines settled in Paraguay, and they have to an extent retained their respective languages and culture, particularly the Brazilians who represent the largest number. An estimated 400,000 Brazilians live in Paraguay. Many of the Brazilians are descendants of the German, Italian and Polish immigrants. There are also an estimated 63,000 Afro-Paraguayans, or 1% of the population. Some 25,000 German-speaking Mennonites live in the Paraguayan Chaco.

Paraguay has one of the more important and representative German communities in South America. German settlers founded several towns as Hohenau, Filadelfia, Neuland, Obligado, Nueva Germania, etc. Some specialised German sites that promote German immigration to Paraguay refers to 5-7% of German descent Paraguayan population and 150.000 German-Brazilian descent population.

Languages

Paraguay is a bilingual nation. Spanish, the dominant language, is taught in the schools and is spoken by slightly more than half of the people. However, the great majority of Paraguayans speak Guaraní, an Amerindian language that evolved from the southern dialect of the Tupi-Guaraní group. It is also the language of widely esteemed literature, drama, and popular music. Both Spanish and Guaraní are official languages.

Religions

The constitution of Paraguay provides for freedom of conscience and recognises no official religion. Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion, but all people are free to follow whichever faith they choose. The total population is about 90% Roman Catholic. The remaining 10% consisted of mainline Protestant, evangelical Christian, Jewish, Mormon, Muslim and Baha'i groups. There were also substantial Mennonite communities, whose practitioners originally came to the country in several waves between 1880 and 1950 in order to avoid religious persecution.

 

 
 

 



 


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