In 2000 the department of Jalapa had an estimated population of 390,500. The majority is ladino, of predominantly European descent, with sizable minorities of K'iche' and Poqomam Maya. The main agricultural products are cattle, sorghum, tobacco, onion and maize (corn).
Recently, a program called Wells of Hope has been started in this area. The program focuses mainly on drilling wells so that the people can receive clean water. However, the program also does other things, such as building schools and educating the people to become more self-sufficient.