Bolivians (Spanish: Bolivianos) are the people that inhabit the
Plurinational State of Bolivia.
Amerindians lived in what is now
Bolivia for several millennia before the Spanish Conquest in
the 16th century.
Spaniards mixed with enslaved
Africans in steady
numbers, mixing widely with each other and with indigenous peoples.
The Bolivian population, estimated at 10.9 million is multiethnic,
including Amerindians, Mestizos, Europeans, Asians and Africans. The
main language spoken is Spanish, although the Guarani, Aymara and
Quechua languages are also common and all three, as well as 34 other
indigenous languages, are official. The many cultures in
contributed greatly to a wide diversity in fields such as art,
cuisine, literature, and music.
1 Ethnic groups
1.4 Black African
1.5.1 Indigenous peoples
4 See also
Ethnic self-identification ²
1 = National Census of Population and Living 2001, National Statistics
2 = 
The ethnic composition of
Bolivia includes a great diversity of
cultures. Most of the indigenous peoples have assimilated a mestizo
culture, diversifying and expanding their indigenous heritage.
Consequently, there is in
Bolivia a mix of cultures, which joins
The ethnic distribution of
Bolivia is estimated to be 30%
Quechua-speaking and 25% Aymara-speaking. The largest of the
approximately three dozen native groups are the Quechuas
(2.5 million), Aymaras (2 million), then Chiquitano
(180,000), and Guaraní (125,000). So the full
is at 55%; the remaining 30% are mestizo (mixed
Amerindian and white),
and around 15% are white.
Indigenous, also called "originarios" ("native" or "original") and,
less frequently, Amerindians. This ethnic group is composed by the
descendents of the Pre-
Hispanic cultures. They can be Andean, as the
Quechuas (which formed the ancient Inca Empire), which
concentrate in the western departments of La Paz, Potosí, Oruro,
Cochabamba and Chuquisaca. There also is an important oriental ethnic
population, composed by the Chiquitano, Guaraní and Moxos, among
others, and that inhabit the departments of Santa Cruz, Beni, Tarija
and Pando. The indigenous people compose 60% of the Bolivian
Mestizo are an ethnic mix of indigenous people and
Europeans descendants. They are distributed throughout the entire
country and compose the 26% of the Bolivian population. Most people
assume their mestizo identity while at the same time identifying
themselves with one or more Indigenous cultures.
Bolivians composed 12.72% or 231,088 of the total population in
the 1900 census, the last official census that collected data of
racial origin. Most people of European origin are
second-generation descendants of criollos and
Europeans or Arabs,
coming mostly from Spain, Croatia, Germany, Italy,
Turkey. They are usually concentrated in the largest cities — La
Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Santa Cruz de la Sierra and
Cochabamba — and in some minor
cities like Tarija. In the Santa Cruz Department there is an important
colony (70.000 inhabitants) of German-speaking Mennonites.
Bolivians are descendants of African slaves, who arrived in the
times of the Spanish Empire. They inhabit the department of
La Paz and
in the provinces of Nor Yungas and Sud Yungas.
Asians. Mainly Japanese (14.000) and Lebanese (12.900).
Other: There are small amounts of European citizens of Germany,
Italy and Portugal, as well as coming from other American
countries, as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador,
United States, Paraguay, Peru,
Mexico and Venezuela, among others.
There are important Peruvian colonies in La Paz,
El Alto and Santa
Cruz de la Sierra.
Bolivia is home to about 500 Jews, located mainly
in the cities of La Paz,
Cochabamba and Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
The Indigenous peoples of
Bolivia are divided into two ethnic groups:
the Andeans, who are in the Andean
Altiplano and the valley region,
and the ethnic culture of the oriental Llanos region, who inhabit the
warm regions of eastern
Bolivia (Gran Chaco).
Aymaras. They live on the high plateau of the departments of La Paz,
Oruro and Potosí, as well as some small regions near the tropical
Quechuas. They inhabit mostly the valleys on
Chuquisaca. They also inhabit some mountain regions in Potosí and
Oruro. They divide themselves into quechua nations, as the Tarabucos,
Ucumaris, Chalchas, Chaquies, Yralipes, Tirinas, among others.
Ethnicities of the Oriental Llanos
Guaraníes. Formed by Guarayos, Pausernas, Sirionos, Chiriguanos,
Wichí, Chulipis, Tapietes (es), Tobas and Yuquis.
Tacanas: Formed by Tacanas, Lecos, Ese Ejas, Araonas, Reyesanos and
Panos: Formed by Chacobos, Caripunas, Sinabos, Capuibos and
Aruacos: Formed by Apolistas, Baures, Moxos, Chané, Movimas,
Cayabayas, Carabecas, Paiconecas or Paucanacas.
Chapacuras: Formed by Itenez or More, Chapacuras, Sansinonianos,
Canichanas, Itonamas, Yuracares, Guatoses and Chiquitos.
Botocudos: Formed by Bororos y Otuquis.
Zamucos: Formed by Ayoreos.
Main Indigenous and
Afro Bolivian peoples from Bolivia
Source: Wigberto Rivero Pinto (2006)
Aymara woman praying
Basílica Menor de San Lorenzo, in Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Further information: Religion in Bolivia
Roman Catholic church has a dominant religious presence in
Bolivia. While a vast majority of
Bolivians are Catholic Christians, a
much smaller portion of the population participates actively. In the
decades following the
Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council (1962–65), the Church
tried to make religion a more active force in social life.
A 2008 survey for Americas Barometer, with 3,003 respondents and an
error (+/- 1,8%) returned these results:
Pentecostal, Non-Catholic Charismatic
Historic Protestant: Adventist, Baptist, Calvinist, Salvation Army,
Lutheran, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian
Mormon and Jehova's Witness
Bahá'í Faith, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu
Other reviews of the population vary from these specific results.
Traditional folk dress during a festival in Bolivia.
Carnival of Oruro
Further information: Culture of Bolivia
Some cultural development of what is now
Bolivia is divided into three
distinct periods: pre-Columbian, colonial, and republican. Important
archaeological ruins, gold and silver ornaments, stone monuments,
ceramics, and weavings remain from several important pre-Columbian
cultures. Major ruins include Tiwanaku, Samaipata,
Iskanwaya. The country abounds in other sites that are difficult to
reach and hardly explored by archaeologists.
The Spanish brought their own tradition of religious art which, in the
hands of local indigenous and mestizo builders and artisans, developed
into a rich and distinctive style of architecture, literature, and
sculpture known as "
Mestizo Baroque." The colonial period produced the
paintings of Perez de Holguin, Flores, Bitti, and others, and also the
works of skilled but unknown stonecutters, woodcarvers, goldsmiths,
and silversmiths. An important body of native baroque religious music
of the colonial period was recovered in recent years and has been
performed internationally to wide acclaim since 1994. Bolivian artists
of stature in the 20th century include, among others, Guzman de Rojas,
Arturo Borda, María Luisa Pacheco, Master William Vega, Alfredo Da
Silva, and Marina Núñez del Prado.
Many dances and songs contain elements from both the native and
Caporales seems to be the most popular Bolivian
dance of present times — in a few decades it has developed into an
enormously popular dance, not only in the Highlands where it
originated, but also in the Lowlands and in Bolivian communities
outside the country. In the Highlands, other traditional and still
very popular dances are:
Siklla (Wayra, Doctorcitos)
In the Lowlands, there are:
Danzas del Sol y de la Luna
Danza de la Saraza
Danzas de los pescadores
Danzas del cazador amazónico
Danza Rosita Pochi
Danzas Vallegrandinas de Santa Cruz
It is fashionable among Bolivian Andean women of indigenous descent to
wear a skirt called a pollera. It was originally a Spanish peasant
skirt that the colonial authorities forced indigenous women to wear.
Now it is a symbol of pride in being indigenous and is considered a
Another fashion is the bowler hat, which was adopted from the British.
The position of the hat can indicate a woman's marital status and
Main article: Bolivian cuisine
Bolivian cuisine stems mainly from the combination of Spanish cuisine
with traditional indigenous Bolivian ingredients, with later
influences from Argentines,
Germans, Italians, Basques, Croats, Russians, and Poles, due to the
arrival of immigrants from those countries.
The traditional staples of
Bolivian cuisine are corn, potatoes, and
beans. These ingredients have been combined with a number of staples
brought by the Spanish, such as rice, wheat, and meat, such as beef,
pork, and chicken
Demographics of Bolivia
Health in Bolivia
^ Cónsul Boliviano con los días contados por Raúl Kollman, Página
12, 9 de abril de 2006.
^ Deutsche Welle. "Brasil atrae gran número de inmigrantes
bolivianos" (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 February 2014.
^ Europapress. "Nueve de cada diez bolivianos en España ya están en
situación regular" (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 February 2014.
^ US Census Bureau 2012 American Community Survey B03001 1-Year
Estimates HISPANIC OR LATINO ORIGIN BY SPECIFIC ORIGIN Archived August
15, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. retrieved September 20, 2013
^ La Razón. "Bolivianos en Chile" (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 February
^ "Las religiones en tiempos del Papa Francisco" (in Spanish).
Latinobarómetro. April 2014. pp. 6, 31. Archived from the
original (pdf) on 10 May 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
^ INE (2001). "Autoidentificación con Pueblos Originarios o
Indígenas de la Población de 15 años o más de edad- UBICACIÓN,
ÁREA GEOGRÁFICA, SEXO Y EDAD". Retrieved 7 October
2009. [permanent dead link]
^ Fundación Boliviana para la Democracia Multipartidaria (FBDM) y
Fondo para la Democracia de Naciones Unidas (Undef) (13 March 2009).
"Encuesta Nacional Sobre Valores y Actitudes Frente a la
Conflictividad en Bolivia" (PDF). Retrieved 7 October
2009. [permanent dead link]
^ a b Bolivian people
^ Censo National De La Poblacion de la Republica 1900 Census of
Bolivia. "Segunda parte" - (Page: 25 - 32)
^ Bolivian Reforms Raise Anxiety on
Mennonite Frontier. The New York
Times. 21 December 2006.
^ "Geographical Distribution of the Lebanese Diaspora". The Identity
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-17. Retrieved
^ Americas Barometer Survey 2008 - page 11 Archived June 24, 2010, at
the Wayback Machine.
^ "Bolivia". National Profiles > > Regions > Central America
>. Association of Religion Data Archives. 2010. Retrieved
Demographics of South America
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Bolivian War of Independence
Water supply and sanitation