According to several media sources, while there are no official figures from the recent Cubans migration wave, the figure is almost 225,000 people from October 2021 to 30 September 2022. Many of these people have taken routes ranging from crossing all of Central America, starting in Nicaragua, to the very dangerous route across the sea. Those who have taken these routes, putting their lives at risk and paying high prices to human smugglers, all share a desperation as a general feeling. Most of the migrants are of young age and have little work experience, many of them are skilled workers. Children and the elderly also take part in the crossings.
However in Cuba there are no public data or surveys on this matter, while statistics are still not available, since many people who live and work abroad are still considered to be residents of the island. Meanwhile, the country’s total population is gradually falling from 2017 to 2021, according to figures provided by the National Statistics & Information Office (ONEI) of Cuba Only in 2021 the population fell by 0.61% compared to 2020, which is a high figure by international standards.
Population fall & ageing as a effect of the migratory wave
Based on data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the population decrease in Cuba is higher than in other countries, such as Japan (-0.24%), South Korea (-0.19%), Albania (-0.17%) or Russia (-0.41%); second only to Taiwan (-0.85%), a very developed country. The ONEI forecasts show that the population in 2035 would be even lower than in 2021, and such estimates probably have not taken into account the ongoing migratory boom.
The Cuban population is also ageing. In 2020, 21.3% of the total number of people living on the island were over 60 years of age. By 2021 these figures had already increased to 21.5%.
The impact of the migratory wave on Cuban employment situation
This situation also hits the Cuban labour market. Based on statistics from El Anuario Estadístico de Cuba, the number of Cuban workers in 2021 was about 4,619,000 compared to 4,643,000 in 2020. This represents a 0.5% decrease. Thus, 59.9% of Cubanworkers are over 40 years old.
According to experts, the dependency ratio has increased in recent times. This was: 571 per thousand people in 2018, 578 in 2019, 589 in 2020 and 596 in 2021. Since 2010, there has been a clear rise in the number of the elderly population, whereas the share of both the teenage population and the population between 15 and 59 is declining. According to figures, in 2021, the elderly population represented 21.6 per cent of the total, while the school-age population formed 15.7 per cent, and the population between fifteen and fifty-nine made up 62.7 per cent.
The ONEI forecasts that by 2035 the elderly will represent 32.5% of the population, those of school age 15.2% and those between fifteen and fifty-nine will make up only 52.3% of the total number of residents. These figures establish a dependency ratio of 909 per thousand, which would be devastating for the country’s production prospects.
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