Guatemala is the second most populous Central American nation, with an estimated 8.9 million inhabitants in 1989. The country presently has a young age structure, with 45 percent of the population under 15 years of age (figure 1). Infant mortality has been significantly reduced in recent decades, and the total fertility rate, though declining, is still over 5 children per woman.
Guatemala's population, however, is slowly aging. Declining fertility is reducing the growth of the very young population. Concurrently, improvements in mortality at older ages are accelerating the growth of the older population. As a result, older age groups are gaining proportionately greater weight in the overall age structure.