In 2019 Nicaragua had an average population density of 50
residents per km2. According to
Countryaah, the most densely populated are
the Managua area and the lowland to the west, while the
autonomous Atlantic coast is sparsely populated. Nicaragua,
like its neighbors, has a young population. During the
1980s, infant mortality fell sharply, but cuts in the health
budget destroyed previous progress and now the country's
infant mortality rate is one of the highest in the region.
In 2019, 59 percent of the population lived in cities.
The dominant city is the capital Managua (1 million
The original population of Nicaragua was made up of
burning and cassava-growing Indians, who probably immigrated
from the south. During the 900s, a new wave of people from
the north came from Mesoamerica, possibly suppressed by more
militant cultures such as Maya. Columbus visited Nicaragua's
Atlantic coast in 1502, and later in the same century began
the Spanish colonization, which quickly changed the
population structure and made Spanish the dominant language
in almost the entire country. In the central parts of
Nicaragua, the Indians were expelled or assimilated. Only on
the Atlantic coast could they maintain their independence
and then through intensive contacts with the English.
During the 19th century came the last significant
immigration, that of black former slaves from the Caribbean.
They came to reinforce the already clear regional cultural
conflict in Nicaragua between the West (Spanish) and the
East (English/Native American languages), since most of
them were English speakers. Only three Native American
groups have been preserved as distinct ethnic units, namely
Miskito, Sumo and Rama.
Of the population, 17 percent are white (living mainly in
cities), 69 percent are misery, 9 percent are African
American, and 5 percent are Native Americans.
The official language and mother tongue of most of the
population is Spanish (80%). The Indian population mainly
speaks some misumalpa language, such as sumo and especially
miskito (3%), which is also widely used in elementary school
education and as a trade language. There is an English-based
Creole language on the Caribbean coast.
The colonial church legitimized the destruction of Native
American religions. In 1550, Bishop Antonio Valdivieso was
assassinated because of his defense of Native American
rights. After independence in 1824, Methodists, Baptists and
Presbyterians came to Nicaragua. The Miskito people of the
Atlantic coast, who, after 1884, were missionary to men's
hutism, today belong to about 40,000 the Moravian church.
90% of the population are Catholics and 10% Protestants.
There is a growing Pentecostal movement. Strong polarization
emerged after 1979 between the regime's anti-Sandinist
policies and the support of many Christians for the
Sandinist resistance movement.