Population of Cuba continues downward trend
By Wilfredo Cancio Isla
MIAMI — For the second consecutive year, the population of Cuba decreased in 2007, according to the government’s National Statistics Office, in a trend the experts say is expected to continue until 2025.
The latest report from the statistics office showed that Cuba’s population in 2007 was 11,237,154, nearly 1,900 less than the 11,239,043 that were counted in 2006.
The last year of population growth was 2005, when the island had 11,243,836 people.
Cuba has not experienced a similar drop since the 19th century, when the population shrank as a result of the 1833 cholera epidemic, the Ten Year War of 1868-78 and the final war of independence from 1895-98.
Government estimates predict a decrease of 77,000 people in the next 20 years, or a 0.7 percent drop from current figures.
A recent report by the Cuban government’s Center for Population Studies and Development suggests that some of the factors in the decreasing population are families having fewer children, out migration "and an increased rate of mortality" affecting both the young and people over 60 years of age.
Birthrates are at their lowest levels of the past 100 years, at 10.1 per thousand inhabitants.
The fertility curve in Cuba quickly descended to 1.44 per thousand during the economic crisis of the 1990s and has remained more or less stable until 2007, when it hit 1.49.
"It seemed that the entrance into the 21st century would be marked by the recovery of this indicator, but up to the present there is no evidence in this respect," said the report, titled Cuba: Population Projections, 2007-2025.
The demographic crisis is also a product of emigration.
Some 450,000 Cubans have left the country since 1994, according to the Cuban statistics office.
U.S. estimates are that 191,000 Cubans have arrived in the United States since 2000, 77,000 of them in the past two years alone.