Elderly constitute the only population group that is growing in Cuba

Elderly constitute the only population group that is growing in Cuba

HAVANA, May 1 The demographic dynamics in Cuba reflect the impact that the economic and migration crisis is having on a society that is decapitalized by young people,while its elderly population grows in an economic context of inflation and increase in extreme poverty.

The last meeting of the Government Commission for Attention to Demographic Dynamics, held this Tuesday, put a significant and revealing piece of information on the table: the elderly constitute the only population group that is growing in

A Cuban Television report that reported on the meeting was responsible for revealing the data without placing any emphasis on its demographic implications. According to the reporter from the official media, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz “insisted on the responsibility of local governments to guarantee the greatest possible well-being for the elderly, the only population group that is growing in Cuba.”

The report abounded on the responsibility of local governments, as corresponds to the mission of the official press, considered as loudspeaker of the government and the Communist Party of Cuba.

Since then, the Palace of the Revolution has been deploying policies and a communication strategy that reinforces the message that frees the central government from responsibility, and hammers home the idea that food, transportation and public services should be a priority guaranteed by the local entities, despite Cuba having a centralized and planned economy with a strong presence of the state sector.

Currently, 117 municipalities in the country have nursing homes and 51 do not have this service. Regarding this, Marrero Cruz mentioned deficiencies that hinder this public service, such as the poor quality in food preparation, or the construction deterioration of numerous facilities.

“If we continue to see all these issues as statistics, and not with the sensitivity that entails, we are not going to solve this. And here there is responsibility. “I don’t know how you can live with so many problems that can be solved immediately, in the same municipality,” the prime minister admonished.

For her part, Deputy Prime Minister Inés María Chapman Waugh wondered why these deficiencies persist “if there is a budget for this.” According to Chapman Waugh, “You have to check that the budget allocated to purchase all the resources is being used appropriately, because where does the money go then?”

In February 2023, the vice head of the National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI) of Cuba called not to dramatize the aging of the population on the Island.

Juan Carlos Alfonso Fraga, director of the entity, acknowledged in an interview with AP that the drop in the number of births “is not a minor issue,” but expressed that it was not something to “flagellate” oneself about.

“We have to work with that and with that, we have to develop the country. Not dramatize it or flagellate ourselves,” he stated. For his part, in December 2021, Marrero Cruz highlighted that in Cuba there were 2.4 million people over 60 years of age – the retirement age -, which represented just over 20% of the island’s total population, and It is expected that in 2030 this age group will exceed 30%.

During the interview, Fraga revealed that at the end of 2022, the official number of Cubans was 11,089,500. However, the data did not take into account the more than 330,000 Cubans who entered the United States through its southern border between October 2021 and December 2022. In contrast to the data offered by the vice head of the state agency, other experts believe that currently In Cuba there are just over 10 million inhabitants.

Latin American researchers warn of the consequences that the increase in the population of older adults brings, indicating that this demographic dynamic “is characterized by a high incidence of poverty, acute social inequality, low social security coverage and a probable tendency towards the deterioration of family support networks.”

According to Cardona and Peléz, “the repercussions on social security are mainly expressed in pension and retirement systems, an increase in the need for medical, psychological and socioeconomic assistance, due to the increase in the presentation of chronic, disabling and degenerative diseases that require specialized, high-cost services and multidisciplinary care.”