Cuba’s population of 11.2 million “will not reach 12 million,” a Granma headline stated last month, citing a study of fertility conducted by the national statistical office. The study foresees negative population growth in the near term, the article says, a situation “unprecedented in developing societies in the absence of natural disasters, lethal epidemics, large-scale economic or political crises, or military conflagrations that could explain it.”
I don’t see the study itself on the office’s website. The latest population data (pdf, see page 22) from that office show declining population in 2006, 2007, and 2008, and growth of 0.6 percent in 2009.
This trend spells economic trouble: a continued aging of the Cuban population and a growing burden for the Cuban labor force as each worker will have to support a greater number of retirees. In 2009, the same population data (see page 9) show that there were 6.8 million Cubans of age to be in the labor force – but not necessarily working – and 4.4 million too young or old to work.
It’s little wonder that the government is attempting to generate employment and bring people into the formal economy – and increasing the share of social security contributions paid by workers themselves.