Cuba: Fewer People, Older Population

Havana’s malecon seafront avenue. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban authorities confirmed the aging trend on the island, with a current figure of 18.3 percent of the population over 60, according to census data released today by the official Granma newspaper.

Only 17.2 percent of the population is currently under 14 years, confirming the preliminary census data released at the end of 2012. The census was “the largest and expensive” ever carried out in Cuba with the data gathering taking place in September 2012.

Experts predict that more than 30 percent of the Cuban population will be over 60 in two decades. Of the 1.9 million people with more than 60 years registered in 2010, the figure should exceed 3.4 million that age in 2030, noted Granma.

The population of the island is currently 11,167.325, with a slight decrease of 10,418 inhabitants in relation to the 2002 census.

“The problem of population aging is a serious matter” said President Raul Castro at a meeting of the Cabinet on Saturday. The meeting discussed measures to increase by 2015 the number and capacity of nursing homes.

The government foresees greatly increased responsibilities for the country’s social security and health care systems in the coming decades as well as a decline in the labor force.

According to current census data, the economically active population of the island represents 54.3 percent of the population aged 15 years or over, with just over 5.2 million people engaged in work activities.

4 thoughts on “Cuba: Fewer People, Older Population

  • That’s true, some European countries face aging populations. Greece especially faces and aging and shrinking population. Similar dire outcomes have been predicted for these countries as well. The difference with Cuba is the rapidity of the ongoing demographic collapse, and the lack of anything remotely approaching a market economy.

    Greece can change direction now and avert the demise of their country. A given government might fall in response to unpopular policies, but the country will survive.

    Cuba is stuck between a rock and a hard place. The ruling regime has no intention of ever relinquishing power. But the solutions required to avert the demographic collapse entail a complete repudiation of the Communist system. Therefore, the regime will not make the required changes in time and the country will face a far greater crisis than the Special Period.

  • Once again the chorus of nay-sayers, Moses and Griffin, chant their dirges! With them, the sky (over Cuba) is forever falling! Aging population is a general tendency in many 1st World Countries, especially in Northern Europe. In Cuba, this tendency reflects different causes (lack of opportunities among the younger generation, decade-after-decade of most folks just surviving, rather than advancing, unless they are fortunate enough to receive remittances from abroad, etc.), although this is changing as Cuba adopts elements of the Chinese and Viet-Namese models, and increasingly becomes a mixed economy. (It should have remained a mixed economy in the 1960’s, rather than opting for the Eastern European model of monopoly state socialism–but better late than never!)

  • As Cuba ages, health care expenditures increase. Retirement outlays rise. There is less housing exchanged. With a declining population to work and pay taxes ( in Cuba’s case at a rate of 95%), there are less revenues to cover these increased government expenses. The positive of this is that there are more Cubans living abroad to send remittances but is becoming an even more dependent ‘beggar’ state in Castro’s best interest?

  • “The problem of population aging is a serious matter” …that’s putting it mildly!

    The aging and shrinking Cuban population is a looming demographic disaster and represents the final collapse of the Cuban nation. Over 39,000 Cubans emigrated in 2012 and the vast majority of them were young educated people in their child bearing years. This increasing trend to emigrate will accelerate the demographic decline. Unless the Cuban government can change this trend soon, the end will be inevitable.

    Unless and until the Cuban people have good reason to have hope in their futures in Cuba, more will continue to leave and fewer will choose to stay and have children. By this point, the only possible source of productive young people necessary to avert this disaster are to be found in the Cuban diaspora. Will the Cuban government open their doors to welcome their return to the homeland? What changes will be necessary to entice the Cuban diaspora to return?

    Just as the decaying buildings of Havana collapse, the long suffering Cuban nation is collapsing. This is the future the Revolution has wrought. History will NOT absolve the man who lead the Cuban nation down this doomed path.

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