|People of Belize|
Today Belize's population is estimated to be approximately 300,000. The country is a melting pot of many races and over the years the muliti-racial make-up has risen through the influx of many people from Central America, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean. Males outnumber the female population only by 1%.
The main ethnic groups are the: Mestizo, Creole, Ketchi, Yucatec and Mopan Mayas, Garifunas and East Indians who maintain a large percentage of Belize’s population.
Other ethnic groups include: German and Dutch Mennonites, Chinese, Arabs and Africans who account for a small percentage of the population The ethnic groups, however, are heavily intermixed.
English is the official language of Belize. However, English Creole is widely spoken and remains a distinctive part of everyday conversations for most Belizeans. Spanish is also common and is taught in primary and secondary schools in order to further develop bi-lingualism.
Spanish is spoken as a mother tongue by the majority of the people in the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts, north of Belize and the Cayo District in the west, In the southern Districts: Stann Creek and Toledo, there are people whose first language is Garifuna or Maya.
Belmopan is the capital of the country. Built in 1970, it is the seat of Government and has been classified as the Garden City of the country. It was created following extensive damage to the former capital Belize City, caused by Hurricane Hattie in 1961. Belmopan is geographically located at the centre of the country, some 80 kilometers to the south-west of Belize City on higher ground. It serves as a hurricane refuge for Belizeans and has the largest number of hurricane shelters in the country. Its population today is estimated at 11,100 and is increasing as more people relocate to the Capital. However, Belize City still remains the hub of commercial activity and one of the most urbanized centers of Belize with a population of 78,000 people.