Ethnicity, Language, & Religion of Bolivia
Nearly a third of Bolivia's population is Quechua, which
is an indigenous group in the Andes Mountains. Nearly another third is mestizo,
or a combination of European and native (generally Quechua or Aymara). Another quarter
of the people are Aymara and the almost everyone else is wholly European from an
The Quechuas are often considered an ethnic group, but in reality they are linked
more closely by language and are technically a linguistic group who identify and
often claim the ethnicity of Quechua. These people may be referred to as Runajuna,
Nunakuna, Ingas (in Colombia), Kichwas
(in Ecuador), and others depending on the individual and
how he or she identifies. None-the-less, all are related to each other ethnically
and are often referred to simply as "Quechua," although some people prefer
to be referred to in one of the more specific ways mentioned above.
The Aymaras are, like the Quechuas, a group more closely related by language than
ethnicity, although again all these speakers are ethnically related, although in
some cases somewhat distantly. Over time the people considered to be "Aymara"
has expanded to include many groups of people, nearly all of whom are ethnically
related, but not the same ethnicity. There are over a dozen ethnic groups who claim
to be Aymara in Bolivia alone.