Spanish, Portuguese, and French are examples of Romance languages that are widely spoken in Latin America. These languages are so-called because they are descended from Latin, the language of ancient Rome.
Twenty nations and fourteen territories, most of which speak Spanish, make up what is often referred to as Latin America.
This region includes the southernmost part of North America as well as virtually all of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean (the exception being Brazil, the population of which speaks Brazilian Portuguese).
Due to the informal nature of the term Latin America, listings of which nations and territories belong to the area and which do not might vary somewhat from one another. Commonly at stake are the inclusion of Belize, Guyana, and Suriname.
Although all three nations are physically situated in Latin America, some list-makers do not consider them to be Latin American since English (Belize and Guyana) or Dutch (Suriname) are the official languages there.
It’s not uncommon for people to mistake Latin American nations for Latino countries or Hispanic countries.
Table of Contents
The Latin American Countries and Territories
Note: Countries marked with are excluded by some sources*
|Country/Territory||Official Language||Country/Territory||Official Language|
|Costa Rica||Spanish||Paraguay||Guarani & Spanish|
|Dominican Republic||Spanish||Puerto Rico||English & Spanish|
|El Salvador||Spanish||Saint Martin||French|
|French Guiana||French||Suriname *||Dutch|
While some Latin American nations, like Chile and Argentina, have robust economies and high Human Development, many others are still in the process of growing and face substantial obstacles.
The murder rate in El Salvador is the highest in the world, with 61.7 per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Honduras and Venezuela. In addition, five of the 10 nations with the highest total crime rates are located in those three regions: Brazil, Guyana, and Venezuela.
Profiles of select Latin American countries:
Argentina, with a total surface area of almost 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,518 mi2), is one of the biggest nations in Latin America.
Approximately 89% of Argentina’s current 46 million-plus population lives in one of the country’s numerous urban areas, and the country’s population has been steady, though slowly, increasing by 2-9% a year since at least 1955 due to migration and repeated “baby boom” periods.
Chile and Bolivia to the north, Paraguay, Brazil, & Uruguay to the east, and Argentina to the west and south make up Argentina’s boundaries. The country’s economy is booming, and its Human Development Index ranking is among the best in all of Latin America.
Brazil, with a population of over 215 million people, covers an enormous area of land and water measuring 8,515,767 km2 (3,287,956 mi2) and is home to the bulk of the Amazon rainforest. Brazil is the biggest nation in Latin America and the third largest in the Americas (after Canada and the United States).
Brazil is located in South America and shares borders with the countries of French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay as well as the Atlantic Ocean to the east.
Brazil, spanning from the equator to the Tropic of Capricorn, is the world’s longest and most biologically varied nation.
Costa Rica, a small Central American nation with a population of little over 5.2 million and an area of just over 51,100 km2 (19,730 mi2), is frequently ranked well in terms of human development and is well-known for its educated workforce and stable democracy.
Moreover, in 2021 it was deemed the second happiest nation in the Americas, second only to Canada.
Costa Rica is a well-known tourist destination due to its proximity to both the Caribbean and the Pacific, as well as its beaches, volcanoes, and the tremendous biodiversity of the protected rainforests that occupy nearly 25% of its total area.
The Dominican Republic
This Caribbean country, often abbreviated as “the DR,” is one of two nations (the other being Haiti) that share the island of Hispaniola. In 2021, the Dominican Republic will be home to nearly 11 million people spread throughout its 48,671 km2 (18,791 mi2) of land.
Also See: Largest Countries in Americas 2022
It will also have the fastest-growing economy in the Western Hemisphere. The Dominican Republic (DR) is the Caribbean’s most visited country because of its beautiful beaches, rich wildlife, and plenty of golf courses that are open all year round.
This island republic, some 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) southeast of Miami, Florida, is an unorganised territory of the United States.
Puerto Rico has more than 2.8 million people living in its 8,870 km2 (3,424 mi2), giving it one of the highest population densities in Latin America (319/km2 compared to Brazil’s 25/km2).
The pharmaceutical, petrochemical, and electronic industries, as well as tourism and hospitality centred on the island’s tropical rainforest ecosystem, are the backbone of Puerto Rico’s economy.
|Country||Official Language||Latin American Status|
|Mexico||none (Spanish unofficial)||Undisputed|
|Paraguay||Guarani & Spanish||Undisputed|
|Puerto Rico||English & Spanish||Undisputed|