According to the Miami Herald, experts meeting at Florida International University recently predicted that the population of Cuba is set to dramatically decline over the next decade. By 2025, thanks to a lack of babies and high emigration levels, the island’s population will have fallen from 11 million to 10 million people, a drop of 9%! That population will also be markedly older than today’s, with 30% of the population over the age of 60 in 2025, compared to 19% today. This will make the island the oldest in Latin America.
These predictions will have taken into account the official Cuban Health Statistics, the official 2015 report for which has just been released. Some of the more notable statistics are:
The total population is at the highest level ever seen in Cuba, 11,238,661 people. This is a small increase on last year and overall the population has plateaued since the year 2000.
The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of Cuban women in 2015 was 1.72. To achieve natural population stability the rate needs to be about 2.1.
There were slightly fewer births last year than in the previous few years at 125,064. At the same time the number of deaths, 99,684, was the highest reported since 1970. The number of deaths and the mortality rate has continued to climb for the last few decades.
And what of migration? According to Erasmo Calzadilla of the Havana Times:
“The Health Statistics Report makes no mention of external migration patterns, but these can be gleaned indirectly…For 2013, the net positive migration (i.e. a value indicating that more people are immigrating than emigrating) was of some 12,000 people. In 2014 and 2015, this value again became negative, but the net value was much lower.
This result contrasts with the migratory hemorrhage of recent years. The explanation may be that, following the migratory reform of 2013, many of those who leave the country aren’t registered as emigrants until two years later. If this is true, the external migration value will again be negative and significantly high in next year’s report.”
Thus, it seems as if Cuba’s population will continue to get older, emigrate and eventually decline from its 11.2 million peak. How the poor country deals with this state of affairs economically, and how the dictatorship in control deals with the resulting issues remains to be seen in the years ahead.