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Rapidly aging population poses challenge to Cuba’s future

Rapidly aging population poses challenge to Cuba’s future
Published December 14, 2014 EFE
By Anett Rios.

Cuba must deal with the challenges posed by a rapidly aging population,
a trend that poses a threat to its future comparable to an economic
crisis or climate change.

The demographic figures have been around for years, pointing to a
shrinking population, a low fertility rate, a high life expectancy of 78
years and the negative effects of .

Some 18.3 percent of the island’s 11.1 million people are over the age
of 60, with that figure expected to rise to 30 percent by 2030, making
Cuba the oldest country in the Americas.

“We prepared for everything except for this,” Pilar Suarez, a Havana
microbiologist who had to take early retirement to care for her
99-year-old father and 89-year-old mother, told Efe.

“I had to give up science to be a daughter,” the 60-year-old Suarez said.

Between 1953 and 2012, according to a National Statistics Office, or
ONE, study based on the latest census figures, the number of people 60
and older quadrupled on the island, a situation not seen before “in any
other country in the world.”

“The demographic aging in Cuba is only comparable in statistical terms
to the most developed countries,” but it occurred “in less than 50
years,” while it took two centuries in the European countries, the ONE
study said.

’s administration has had to deal with the problem
without having similar cases to draw on and amid a challenging global
economic and social environment in which it is trying to “update” Cuban

The Council of Ministers approved a new demographic policy in October
aimed at improving the fertility rate and improving care for the
elderly, but no details were released.

In recent years, the government has taken some measures, including
raising the retirement age, increasing pensions and allowing retirees to
work in some sectors, such as , in an effort to deal with the

Cuba, however, faces chronic shortages in different areas – public
transportation, , infrastructure and consumer products – that
multiply the effects of an aging population. EFE

Source: Rapidly aging population poses challenge to Cuba’s future | Fox
News Latino –

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