Indigenous peoples in Bolivia

According to preliminary data from the most recent national census (2012), published in 2013, 2.8 million people over the age of 15 – or 41% of the total population – are of indigenous origin.

There are 36 recognised indigenous peoples, the largest being the Quechua and the Aymara, who live in the western Andes.

The 34 indigenous peoples who live in the eastern lowlands of the country include the:

  • Chiquitano
  • Guaraní
  • Moxeños

Indigenous lands

To date, the indigenous peoples have consolidated almost 20 million hectares of land as collective property under the status of Native Community Lands (Tierras Comunitarias de Origen / TCO) – approximately 20% of the total land area.

With the approval of Decree Number 727/10, the TCOs took the constitutional name of Peasant Native Indigenous Territory (Territorio Indígena Originario Campesino - TIOC).

Legislation on Indigenous Peoples

Bolivia has been a party to ILO Convention 169 since 1991 and has ratified:

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was approved by means of Law No. 3760, on 7 November 2007.

In 2014, Bolivia was due to discuss eight laws of relevance to indigenous peoples. 

Yearly Update

Download the 2016 yearbook article on indigenous peoples in Bolivia to learn about major developments ad events during 2015.