Immigration to Bolivia

Bolivia comparatively has experienced far less immigration than its South American neighbors. Nevertheless, small groups of Germans, Spaniards, Italians, a small Yugoslavian community, and others live in the country. The Basques were a large source of Spanish and European immigration from the late 16th to early 20th centuries, most came as shepherds and ranchers to Bolivia's vast livestock industry.

Similar to other Latin American nations, Bolivia has experienced a small Japanese migration. Beginning in 1899 a small migration of Japanese began that continued until the 1970s. Small Japanese communities were formed in the Bolivian department of Santa Cruz. Other east Asians (Taiwanese and Chinese, and Middle Easterners (Lebanese and Syrians) developed their own communities in Bolivia in the late 20th century. During the 20th century Bolivia received a small number of Jews, mainly Ashkenazi.

Country of birth of Bolivian residents

According to the 2001 Census 87,338 of the Bolivian resident population were born outside Bolivia, representing 1.06% of the total Bolivian resident population.

Place Country 2001 1992
1  Argentina 27,094 17,829
2  Brazil 14,428 8,586
3  Mexico 9,377 6,607
4  Peru 8,824 5,805
5  Spain 5,650 1,337
6  Chile 4,163 3,909
7  United States 3,216 2,503
8  Paraguay 3,201 955
9  Canada 1,635 1,435
10  Japan 1,387 1,159
11  Germany 1,281 1,099
12  Colombia 1,244 529
13  Belize 939 806
14  Italy 734 718
15  Ecuador 652 N/D
16  China 533 N/D
Other countries 7,180 6,530
TOTAL91,538 59,807
Source: CEPAL[1]


  1. Investigación de la Migración Internacional en Latinoamérica (IMILA) Centro Latinoamericano y Caribeño de Demografía (CELADE). Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).

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