About 730,000 people live in Guyana. About 90 percent of the population inhabits the narrow
coastland area (The picture shows a pathway through a typical coastal village). However, the
indigenous inhabitants, the Amerindians continue to live in the savannahs and the highland
region.Considering the population of age 5 and above, the overall literacy rate is 98 percent.
Guyana is often referred to as the land of six peoples, reflecting the multi-ethnic composition of its population. The largest ethnic group is the East Indians (about 51 percent), descendants of indentured laborers from India, followed by the Africans (38 percent). The other ethnic groups are the Chinese, the Europeans (mostly Portuguese) and the Amerindians. The Portuguese came as indentured laborers from Madeira, the Azores and Cape Verde. During the colonial era, they were regarded as a separate group from the other Europeans (mainly British), no doubt because of their origins as indentured laborers. This practice underlines the notion of six peoples. There is also a large racially mixed group.
About one-third of the population lives in towns. Georgetown, the capital, is situated on the coast, on the right bank of the Demerara river, one of the three main rivers flowing into the Atlantic Ocean. Other important towns are Anna Regina, Corriverton, Rose Hall and New Amsterdam, all located along the coastline, and Linden, a bauxite mining town, about 65 miles inland on the Demerara River.
The official language of Guyana is English. Creolese, an English-based creole, is widely used as a language of informal communication. The Amerindians have maintained their many dialects. Hindi and Urdu are used almost exclusively for religious purposes by Hindus and Muslims, respectively. Guyana is a secular state with religious freedom guaranteed to all under the Constitution. The three main religions are Christianity, Hinduism and Islam.