Demographics of Cuba

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Demographics of Cuba, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands.

Cuba is a multiracial society with a population of mainly Spanish and African origins. There are also some Chinese Cubans residing in the country as well as 10,000 Nicaraguans who call Cuba home. The largest organized religion is the Roman Catholic Church. Afro-Cuban religions, a blend of native African religions and Roman Catholicism, are widely practiced in Cuba. Officially, Cuba has been an atheist state for most of the Castro era. In 1962, the government of Fidel Castro seized and shut down more than 400 Catholic schools, claiming that they spread dangerous beliefs among the people. However, in 1991 the Communist Party lifted its prohibition against religious believers seeking membership and a year later the constitution was amended to characterize the state as secular instead of atheist.

The Catholic church is the largest independent institution in Cuba today, but continues to operate under significant pressure. The Cuban government continues to refuse to allow the church to have independent printing press capabilities, to have full access to the media, or to establish institutions, such as local schools.

In November of 1996, President Castro invited Pope John Paul II to visit Cuba after an agreement was reached on some of the issues important for the church to carry out its religious activities in Cuba and prepare for the visit. During the Pope's visit, the Cuban government permitted four open-air masses, provided media coverage, and assisted with transportation of the public to the masses. In 1997 Christmas was officially recognized as a holiday for the first time since 1969 and the following year was permanently reinstated as a national holiday. Visas were issued for additional priests and religious figures to enter Cuba. While on the island, Pope John Paul II spoke of broadening the space and freedom of action of the Catholic church and asked Fidel Castro to grant a prisoner amnesty. The Cuban Government responded by freeing at least 300 prisoners, some 70 of which were being held on political charges. His visit is seen as an important, positive event for bringing a message of hope and the need for respect of human rights.

Other Cuban religious groups--including evangelicals who are the most rapidly growing of all religious organizations--have also benefited from the increased openness toward religion. In the summer of 1999 the government permitted them to hold a series of large open-air ceremonies as part of an island-wide "evangelical celebration." Although particularly hard hit by emigration, Cuba's small Jewish community continues to hold services in Havana and has pockets of faithful in Santiago, Camaguey, and other parts of the island.

Demographic data from the CIA World Factbook


11,346,670 (July 2005 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 19.6% (male 1,139,644/female 1,079,412)
15-64 years: 70.1% (male 3,977,110/female 3,975,818)
65 years and over: 10.4% (male 540,720/female 633,966) (2005 est.)

Median age

Total: 35.36 years
Male: 34.73 years
Female: 35.98 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate

0.33% (2005 est.)

Birth rate

12.03 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Death rate

7.19 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Net migration rate

-1.58 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Sex ratio

At birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate

Total: 6.33 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 7.11 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 5.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

Total population: 77.23 years
Male: 74.94 years
Female: 79.65 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.66 children born/woman (2005 est.)


Adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2003 est.)
People living with HIV/AIDS: 3,300 (2003 est.)
Deaths: less than 200 (2003 est.)


Noun: Cuban(s)
Adjective: Cuban

Ethnic groups

Mulatto 51%, white 37%, black 11%, Chinese 1%


Nominally 85% Roman Catholic prior to CASTRO assuming power; Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, and Santeria are also represented




Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 97%
Male: 97.2%
Female: 96.9% (2003 est.)

People - note

Illicit migration is a continuing problem; Cubans attempt to depart the island and enter the US using homemade rafts, alien smugglers, direct flights, or falsified visas; Cubans also use non-maritime routes to enter the US including direct flights to Miami and overland via the southwest border


Template:CIA WFB 2005

es:Demografía de Cuba pt:Demografia de Cuba zh:古巴人口