Ecuador Facts

Compassion has been working in Ecuador since 1974. Through our work there, we gather Ecuador facts about children in poverty. These Ecuador facts and statistics provide a good picture of the reality of poverty and how Compassion is making a difference.

Poverty is a common problem in the country of Ecuador but Compassion is working to change this. The Ecuador facts tell a discouraging story, but Compassion is bringing hope in the midst of this discouragement. Our programs are changing the statistics one child at a time.

Don't let the hopelessness of Ecuador facts overwhelm you. You can make a difference to a child in Ecudaor today!


Compassion's work in Ecuador began in 1974. Currently, more than 50,500 children participate in 200 child development centers. Compassion works with church partners to provide Ecuadorian children the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and become all God has created them to be.

Prayer Request
  • Prayer Requests for Ecuador

    Apr 12, 2011

    Jan 31, 2014

    Please pray for the many children who have fallen ill over the past several months.

Featured Stories from Ecuador
  • Cast Away No Longer

    Jan 31, 2014

    In 2011 Compassion formed a unique partnership with Stadia, a U.S.-based church-planting nonprofit. The alliance enabled Compassion to build a child development center and church, Roca de la Eternidad, in Pampanal last spring.

Featured on the Blog
Ecuador Map


Learn About Ecuador

Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro invaded Ecuador, original site of the Inca Empire, in 1532, and gained dominion over it in two years. In 1822, the colonists revolted and Ecuador became a free territory and part of Gran Colombia. Eight years later, this territory became independent from Gran Colombia under the name of Ecuador. Since its independence, Ecuador has been governed by a mixture of civil and military regimes; however, civil governments have predominated in recent years.

Political Situation:

Even though the constitutional presidents are elected for a four-year term, there have been five different presidents in Ecuador since 1996. Corruption scandals, political negotiations, juridical insecurity and social unrest have caused disturbance in Ecuador.

The political and democratic crisis in Ecuador has become an issue of concern to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organization of American States (OAS or OEA), the United Nations Organization (UNO) and the American Embassy in Ecuador. These organizations observe the country closely and have announced they will intervene, if the situation worsens.

Economic Situation:

Ecuador exports several products, such as shrimp, tuna, roses, bananas and coconut. Nevertheless, Ecuador bases its economy on oil exportation. The economic growth of the country depends on oil prices in the International Market. In 1972, Ecuador began to export oil from fields exploited by North American and European companies.

According to the Central Bank of Ecuador, since making the U.S. dollar the official currency in 2000, inflation has decreased from 10.10 percent to 1.60 percent. 

Recently, oil production has increased, which has helped the economy. However, only 10 percent of oil revenue is used for social investments, such as education or medical care. The majority of revenue goes to pay for the country's external debt. 

According to Ecuador's National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC), the cost of a family's basic needs is U.S.$400 per month, but the base salary for most Ecuadorians is only U.S.$160. Furthermore, more than half of Ecuador's poor live on only U.S.$1 a day. In 1990, plans for governmental and social reforms failed due to lack of popular support.


The school year typically runs from September through July in Ecuador's sierra region and from May to February in the coastal region. Even though students are required to attend first through 12th grades, public education is not available for many poor children, especially for those in remote rural areas.

There are various universities in the main cities of Ecuador, including the Catholic University of Quito, the State University of Guayaquil, and the State University of Cuenca. In recent years, more educational centers and universities have been opened in other cities across the country. But only 1 percent of those in rural areas can access the universities and only 5 percent of those in urban areas attend universities.


The constitution guarantees to all citizens and foreigners their right to practice the faith freely chosen by them publicly or privately. Catholicism is practiced extensively throughout Ecuador. The Roman Catholic Church has significant influence in Ecuadorian society, even in political decisions. However, the Ecuadorian government allows missionary activities and public religious expressions held by all the religions.

The government does not permit religious education in the public schools. The private schools have complete freedom to provide any kind of religious education; so do parents at home. There are no restrictions for publishing religious materials in any language.

Source: International Religious Freedom Report, released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, November 8, 2005,



Ecuador's art includes sculptures and indigenous handicrafts.


Ecuador is known for a style of music called "Andean Blues," which is melancholic, beautiful, and talks about the hardships of the poor and protests social injustice.

Holidays and Festivals

New Year's Day, Jan. 1
Carnaval, February or March: celebrated two days before Ash Wednesday
Holy Thursday, March or April  
Labor Day, May 1
The Battle of Pichincha, May 24: Simon Bolívar's birthday  
Independence Day, Aug. 10
Memorial Day, Nov. 2
Christmas, Dec. 25: Processions wind through the streets of Ecuador in the days before Christmas. On the last Sunday of Advent, Ecuadorians deliver gifts to the sick and elderly.

Sports and Games

Ecuadorians enjoy soccer, volleyball, tennis and swimming.

They also enjoy chess, weight lifting and athletics. One internationally recognized Ecuadorian sportsman is runner Jefferson Pérez.

Typical Foods

In Ecuador, dishes are generally bland and seasoned only with salt and pepper. Llapingachos are mashed potatoes stuffed with cheese, fritada is fried pork with avocado and corn, and cuy is guinea pig, eaten by the Indians of Ecuador.


  • 2 cups of fish, cut into cubes
  • 2 small, chopped hot peppers
  • 1 peeled and chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
  • 1-1/2 tsp. minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tb. of parsley
  • 1 Tb. of coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients and let them stand in refrigerator overnight. Serve cold.


Even though the principle language in Ecuador is Spanish, quechua is the native language of Ecuador's indigenous people who live in the highlands, the jungle and some parts of the coast.


  • Bienvenidos (Welcome)
  • ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?)
  • Chao/ Hasta luego (Goodbye)


  • Alli shamushca kapaichi (Welcome)
  • Imanalla? (How are you?)
  • Kayacama (Goodbye)
Compassion in Ecuador

Compassion's work in Ecuador began in 1974. Currently, more than 50,500 children participate in 200 child development centers. Compassion works with church partners to provide Ecuadorian children the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and become all God has created them to be.

Ecuador Facts and Figures

Visit the Compassion blog to learn more about our work in Ecuador.

Ecuador United States
Capital Quito Washington, D.C.

13,927,650 (July 2008 estimate)

307,212,123 (July 2010 estimate)

Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)

English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% (2000 census)
Religions Christian 95% (Roman Catholic), other 5% Christian 78.5% (Protestant 51.3%, Roman Catholic 23.9%, Mormon 1.7%, other Christian 1.6%), Jewish 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Muslim 0.6%, other or unspecified 2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%, none 4% (2007 est.)
Literacy rate
Definition: Age 15 and over can read and write.
Male: 92.3%
Female: 89.7%
(2001 Estimate)
Male: 99%
Female: 99%
(2003 estimate)
Percentage of population using improved drinking water sources Urban: 97%
Rural: 89%
(2004 estimate)
Urban: 100%
Rural: 94%
(2006 estimate)
Percentage of population using adequate sanitation facilities Urban: 94%
Rural: 82%
(2004 estimate)
Urban: 100%
Rural: 99%
(2006 estimate)
Climate Tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands Mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida, arctic in Alaska, semiarid in the Great Plains west of the Mississippi River and arid in the Great Basin of the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest are warmed occasionally in January and February by chinook winds from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
Percentage of population urbanized 63% (2006 estimate) 82% (2008 estimate)
Life expectancy Male: 73.94 years
Female: 79.84 years
(2008 estimate)
Male: 75.65 years
Female: 80.69 years
(2010 estimate)
Under-5 mortality rate 24/1,000 (2006 estimate) 8/1,000 (2008 estimate)
GDP per capita $7,200 (2007 estimate) $46,000 (2009 estimate)
Monetary unit U.S. Dollar (USD) U.S. dollar (USD)
Number of people living with HIV/AIDS 21,000 (2003 estimate) 1.2 million (2007 estimate)
Percentage of population living below $1 a day 18% (1995-2005 study) Data not available

Sources for facts: The World Factbook, 2008; The State of the World's Children, 2008