Paraguay has an average population density of 17 residents per km2. According to Countryaah, the country is very unevenly populated with a strong concentration to the area east of the Paraguay River. In the northwest region, Chaco, which occupies 60 percent of the country’s area, lives only 4 percent. In 2019, 61 percent of the population lived in cities, of which the capital Asuncion with the three suburbs of San Lorenzo, Lambaré and Fernando de la Mora as well as the cities of Caaguazú, Ciudad del Este and Pedro Juan Caballero are the largest.
On paper, Paraguay has the most homogeneous population in South America: miseries, descendants of Spaniards and Guarani Indians, constitute around 95 percent. The rest of the population consists of whites, mainly descendants of Europeans, as well as close to twenty Native people (a total of 1.7 percent of the population). These largely belong to three language families: Tupí-Guarani-speaking people, for example. kaiwá (11,000), ava (3,000) and chiripá (6,500) in the south and southeast, mataco-guaicurú people, such as chulupi (nivaclé; 12,300), lengua (vowak; 9,500) mak’á and kasnatan (sanapaná; 4,100) in the north-west and zamuco people like chamacoco (1,000) and ayoreo (700) in the north. The figures given are very approximate as the Paraguayan authorities do not take ethnicity into account in their censuses. The largest non-Native American minority is German speaking, a large proportion of whom are Mennonites who speakplautdietsch (Platonic).
Nearly all minority people, including non-Guaranese indigenous people, live in the Chaco area of the northwest. Paraguay’s indigenous peoples have repeatedly been forced to relocate, and only the most remote people have been able to live in their original territories.
Official languages are Spanish and the country-specific variant of Guaraní. Spanish is used in education and administration and is widely spoken especially in the capital Asuncion and other cities. Guaraní is commonly spoken by the vast majority of the population and is also used to some extent in books and newspapers. In the northern part of the country you will also find another twenty Native American languages belonging to the linguistic families maskoy, mataco-guaicurú and zamuco.
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During the colonial period, the Jesuits promoted Native American village collectives, reducciones, with self-management and without forced labor. After independence, various Protestant groups immigrated. 96% of the population are Catholics, 2% Protestants, 0.2% Orthodox and 0.2% Anglicans. Mennonites came as refugees from Russia. The Stroessner dictatorship (1954–89) was supported by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, but resistance was strong among priests and members of the church community. Ecumenical cooperation takes place with Protestants in the fight against poverty and for human rights.
The regime of the intellectual Natalicio González aggravated the economic situation of the country and caused a general discontent that forced him to resign. In 1949, three presidents succeeded each other within a few months due to the split within the colorado party: Raimundo Rolón, Felipe Molas López and Federico Chaves (11 September) who managed to reconcile the various factions of the party. Regularly elected on July 16, 1950, Chaves began a more peaceful period of government than the previous ones, but without being able to move the country towards progress and without granting democratic freedoms. The Paraguay linked his policy to that of Peronist Argentina and joined the Argentine-Chilean economic union (August 14, 1953). A military collaboration pact with the neighboring state, signed following a visit by Perón (3-5 October), did not find consent from the armed forces which, led by gen. Alfredo Stroessner, overthrew the government and replaced Chaves with Tomás Romeiro Pereira (May 5, 1954). In the elections of 11 July the(the other parties were suppressed in 1947), the gen. Alfredo Stroessner, was brought to the presidency of the Republic. Since then, a new dictatorship began in Paraguay that occasionally provokes attempts at rebellion. On February 9, 1958, Stroessner was re-elected for another 5 years together with 60 deputies who presented themselves on a single list. The pressure against the Paraguayan dictatorship is considerable abroad, especially within the OAS through which the political exiles, estimated at 400,000, or a quarter of the population, make themselves heard. Some positions taken by the Asunción government suggested that even the internal opposition, supported by the clergy and intellectuals, was about to obtain some substantial recognition. In fact, on 1 April 1959, Stroessner announced that he had sent to Congress a series of measures aimed at establishing a constitutional government and suspending the state of siege in force for 12 years. However, on May 30 Stroessner dissolved Congress, guilty of having condemned the repression of student demonstrations. Elections for the new Congress took place on March 13, 1960 and the 60 seats went to supporters of General Stroessner. Some attempts at invasion of the Paraguay by exiles (February and November 1959 and April 1960) have failed. The fall of Batista in Cuba and the condemnation by the OAS (20 August 1960) of the dictatorial regime in the Dominican Republic and then the killing of R. Trujillo (July 1961) made the position of the “last dictator of the Americas more difficult. ” at the helm of a country whose basic political and economic problems do not appear to be of a ready solution. The Paraguay is part of the Latin American free trade zone, created with the Montevideo treaty of February 17, 1960, and signed the “Punta del Este Charter” (August 1961).