Ecuador Population 2017
The last official census recording the population of Ecuador occurred in 2010 and showed there were 14,483,499 people living in the country, which is believed to have grown to 16.2 million in 2015. The country has a population density of 59 people per square kilometer (153/square mile), which ranks 151st in the world.
The majority of people in Ecuador live in the central regions, the Andes mountains or along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Only 3% of the total population lives in the tropical forest east of the mountains, which still remains very sparsely populated.
The largest concentration of Ecuadorians live in the two largest cities: Guayaquil with a population of 2,350,915 and the capital city of Quito with a population of 2,239,191, according to the 2010 Census data.
Ecuador has a very ethnically diverse population. As of 2014, the largest ethnic group remains Mestizos, descendants of Spanish colonists and indigenous people, who make up 71.9% of the population. Amerindians account for nearly 7% of the population, while Afro-Ecuadorians, who live mostly in Imbabura and Esmeraldas provinces, make up 7% of the population. White people of European descent make up 12.% of Ecuador's population.
Most of the ethnic groups of Ecuador descend from the Spanish colonists and South American Indians, as the mixture of these two groups created the Mestizo category. Afro-Ecuadorians are descendants of black slaves who arrived in the country to work on plantations in the 16th century. Until the 1950's, the geography of ethnicity in Ecuador remained very well-defined until a jump in migration.
Just decades ago, most Mestizos lived in small rural towns in the countryside, Indians made up the majority of the rural Sierra population, black residents lived in Esmeraldas, Carchi and Imbabura provinces while the white population resided mostly in the large cities. Due primarily to pressure on the Sierra land resources, Indians began migrating to the cities and many began switching their ethnic identity to Mestizo beginning in the 1980's.
Ecuador Population Growth
Ecuador has a slow average population growth rate of just 1.4%, which ranks as 87th in the world. Birth rate is also low at only 19.23 births per 1,000 people, although the death rate is one of the lowest in the world at 5.03 deaths per 1,000 people. This means Ecuador remains higher than replacement level fertility and the population is expected to continue rising rather than remain stagnant.
It's estimated that between 2 and 3 million Ecuadorians live abroad, although increased unemployment in Spain, the United States and Italy is slowing this emigration. It's believed that many emigrants will return to the country over time. Ecuador also has a small but growing population of immigrants. It's currently the top recipient of refugees in Latin America, the vast majority of which are Colombians escaping violence in their own country. The rate of emigration to Ecuador is expected to grow.
There are also nearly 100,000 American and 30,000 European Union expatriates in Ecuador, many of whom moved to the country for business opportunities or to retire. Given the relatively low cost of living, it's expected that this trend will continue.
Ecuador Population Growth
Ecuadorian President Correa's "Welcome Home Plan" is credited with helping to encourage emigrants to return to Ecuador, and now more people move to Ecuador than leave it. It's estimated that if the country continues its current stable population growth, it will have 21.1 million citizens by 2050.