Countryaah, Bolivia's population is increasing rapidly and the
population density is 10 residents per km2. About
2/3 of the country's population lives in cities. Bolivia's
capital is formally Sucre but in reality La Paz, which
houses the government and state administration. The
country's largest cities are Santa Cruz (1.4 million
residents, 2013), La Paz (757,200) and Cochabamba (632,000).
The highland area, which together with the slopes of the
Andes amounts to 40 per cent in area but has 75 per cent of
the country's population. Santa Cruz, located in the heavily
expanding, subtropical part of the lowland area to the east
in recent years.
Bolivia's population consists of Native Americans,
Misties and Whites. The latter are the fewest but have the
greatest political and economic influence in the country and
are mainly descendants of Spaniards, but more recently other
European nationalities, including Germans, have been added.
The fertilizer (of mixed Native American and Spanish
origin) is the second largest category, about 30 percent.
They have traditionally devoted themselves to crafts and
street trade, but since the revolution in 1952, when
education became available to the mastics as well, they have
become increasingly common in the middle class profession as
officers and teachers. The approximation between whites and
mastics in recent times, e.g. through poisoning, among other
things, the boundary between them has become increasingly
The Indians constitute a clear majority in Bolivia. They
can in turn be divided into mountain Indians, rainforest
Indians and dry forest Indians. The mountain Indians are
most numerous with just over three million. They were
dominated by two ethnic groups, Quechua and Aymara. The
former were once the core group in the Incaric (1200–1500s),
the latter in the Tiahuana kingdom (500 BC – 1000 AD). See
also the Indians of the Andes.
The rainforest Indians, about 27,000 individuals, are
distributed to 18 different people, living in the Bolivian
Amazon and are mainly hunters and collectors with some
hacking. The largest groups speak arawak or tacan language.
Rubber extraction played a crucial role for the region in
the early 1900s and led to the extinction of several people.
The increasingly close contacts with the surrounding
community have in many cases resulted in increasing economic
dependence and a failing cultural identity.
The approximately 45,000 dry forest Indians are divided
into nine people in Bolivian Gran Chaco. The most important
language families are tupí-guaraní (among others ava),
zamuco (ayoréo) and macro-guaicurú (mataco). In dry Chaco,
the collection of tree fruits and honey has always been an
essential nutrient. In the north, farming has been
important, and along the rivers fishing has been of great
importance. Today, craftsmanship is also becoming an
increasingly important economic role.
Gran Chaco's Indians have not been exposed to the same
predatory operation as the others, and the area has only
recently become economically interesting. In addition, the
traditional contacts across national borders between Native
American people in the area have been maintained. Therefore,
these have also been able to preserve more of their ethnic
identity and are somewhat less vulnerable than the
Official languages are Spanish (spoken by about 38% of
the population) as well as 36 native languages. quechua
(32%) and aymara (19%). Among the other indigenous
languages, the tupí-guaraní language dominates chiriguano
and various Arabic and tacan languages (0.7%).
After 1532, the colonial church fought Native American
religions. By way of counter-reaction, village cooperatives,
reducciones, were built in moxose and chiquitose.
After 1825, Protestant groups came to Bolivia. Church
resistance was directed at the dictatorships 1964–82. About
85% of the population are Catholics, 2.5% Methodist, Baptist
and Lutheran and about 2.6% belong to Bahai. Evangelical
groups are growing strongly. Andean religious traditions are
alive with aymara and quechua. Interreligious dialogue,
including by Javier Albó, is becoming increasingly