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South America >> Ecuador >> Ecuador People and Society

People and Society of Ecuador

Ecuador has a higher population density than any other country in South America. 40% of the people are Indians and another 40% are Mestizos. There are 15% whites and 5% blacks – other races make up about 1%.

Most people of European ancestry are the richest in the country, live in cities and their lives resemble those of their brethren back home. Some white people in Quito and other Andean countries are absentee landlords who pay managers to run their haciendas (large farms or estates) for them.

Blacks and Mestizos are generally lower in status and have less wealth than the white population. Many Mestizos live on the coastal plain in wooden homes with thatched roofs. Many of them work on banana and cocoa plantations as day labourers. Other Mestizos live in the cities and work as servants, laborers or shopkeepers. Most Indians in Ecuador have little money or power and lead fairly isolated lives. They speak Quechua or other Indian Languages and hold on strongly to their ethnic identity.

Spanish is the main language. Most Indians speak Quechua or Quichua.

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