Cuba faces aging problem

Updated: 2012-03-31 10:46


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HAVANA - With more than 18 percent of Cubans now over 60 years old and a shrinking number of those under 14 years old, the island nation faces an aging problem, an official said Friday.

In just over a decade, the average age in Cuba will rise from 38 to 44, while 26 percent of the population will be around 60 years old and there will be a marked increase in age range over 80, Juan Carlos Alfonso Fraga, director of Center for Population and Development of NSB told delegates at an international meeting.

With a declining birth rate, "we will never reach the population of 12 million on the island," Fraga told the participants at the 8th National Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, including Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Margaret Chan as well as representatives from ten countries.

Cuban experts say that housing problems, low wages and lack of baby products are among the major factors discouraging Cubans to have more children. Increasing social independence has also enabled Cuban women to have more power to decide on their pregnancy.

The NSB reported that the island's population stood at 11,241,161 at the end of 2010, 1,467 less compared to the number in 2009.

Cuba is already one of the most rapidly aging countries in Latin America along with Uruguay and Argentina, and is expected to lead that list in the near future.