58% of the population is mestizo, or of mixed European and Amerindian ancestry, while 20% is of European ancestry. Another 14% is mulatto, or of mixed black African and European ancestry, while 4% is of black African ancestry and 3% are zambos, of mixed black African and Amerindian ancestry. Pure indigenous Amerindians comprise 1 percent of the population. There are 101 languages listed for Ecuador in the Ethnologue database, of which 80 are spoken today as living languages. There are about 500,000 speakers of indigenous languages in Ecuador today.
More than two-thirds of all Ecuadorians live in urban areas, a figure significantly higher than the world average. The literacy rate (94 percent) in Ecuador is also well above the world average, and the rate of population growth is slightly higher than the world average. A large proportion of Ecuadorians are young, largely because of recent decreases in the infant mortality rate. While 33 percent of the people are 14 years of age or younger, just 4 percent are aged 65 or older.
Before the Spanish colonization of the region that would become the country of Ecuador, the territory was the home of many different indigenous peoples. Today more than fifty different indigenous ethnic groups exist in Ecuador. Most of them speak languages belonging to the Chibchan and Cariban linguistic families. The Ecuador government has established 567 reserves for indigenous peoples and they are inhabitated by more than 800,000 persons. Some of the largest indigenous groups are the Arhuacos, the Muisca, the Kuna people, the Witoto, the Páez, the Tucano, the Wayuu and the Guahibo.
Because of its strategic location Ecuador has received several immigration waves during its history. Most of these immigrants have settled in the Caribbean Coast; Barranquilla (the largest city in the Ecuador Caribbean Coast) has the largest population of Arab Lebanese, Jewish, Italian, German, American, Chinese, French, Portugesse and Gypsy descendants. There are also important communities of German and Chinese descendants in the Caribbean Coast..