Is Paraguay a third-world country?

You really have to determine that on your own. Literacy rates are extremely high, as well as life expectancy rates. For a landlocked country their economy has done surprisingly well, and they have a strong population growth.

Recent estimates place the population of Paraguay at 5,734,139 (July 2001). Due to its Spanish colonization and heritage, at least 90 percent of the population is Roman Catholic and 95 percent of the population is mestizo (a racial mix of Spanish and Amerindian) This makes the population surprisingly homogenous in comparison to most of Latin America. The mestizo population has strong pride in their Guaraní­ (the primary indigenous group and culture of Paraguay) ancestry and traditions. Spanish was the only official language until 1992 when Guaraní­ also became an official language. Guaraní­ is spoken by approximately 90 percent of the population. Spanish is used predominantly in business and government matters, but both languages are utilized in education. At least half of the population is bilingual.

People between the ages of 0 and 14 make up 39 percent of the population, while those between the ages of 15 and 64 constitute 56 percent. At least half of this second age group is below 30 years of age, making two-thirds of the population younger than 30. The population of Paraguay grew from 2.4 million to 4.3 million between 1970 and 1990 (80 percent), and grew 30 percent from 1990 to 2000. With a yearly population growth rate of 2.6 percent as of 2001, the population is estimated to reach 6,980,000 by 2010. The average life expectancy of the population is 73.92 years (2001 est.).

Migration to the urban areas of Paraguay is common, but more than half of the nation's population still lives in rural areas, mostly in the east. Only about 5 percent of the population lives west of the Paraguay River. High rates of emigration from 1950 to 2000 have contributed to the large percentage (40 percent) of Paraguayans living outside their country and help to alleviate the high growth rate. Many Paraguayans have historically emigrated to Argentina, particularly during and after the Chaco War of 1936 and the Civil War of 1947, and also during the 1950s and 1970s. Paraguay has one of the world's lowest population densities. The nation's most densely populated area is Asunción and its surroundings. The Colorado Party's clientelistic agrarian reform (giving unused land outside of Asunción to the party's supporters in exchange for political favors or funding) of the 1960s helped to alleviate overcrowding in the capital by drawing peasant labor into previously unused territory. However, the effects were not lasting and overcrowding is still a problem today.

One of the most surprising features of the Paraguayan population is its high literacy rate of more than 92 percent despite its poorly-developed education system. School is mandatory only between the ages of 7 and 13 and this requirement is not well enforced. There are insufficient numbers of primary and secondary schools and severe shortages of educational resources, especially in rural areas. The shortage is worst at the secondary level. There are only 2 universities, vocational schools are concentrated in the main cities, and there is a severe shortage of teaching resources throughout the nation.