|Population growth rate
||10.70 births per 1,000 population
|65 years and above
||0.99 M / F
||99.76 residents per km²
|(F 2015) La Habana (Havana) 2,125,320, Santiago de
Cuba 433,527, Camagüey 304,738, Holguín 292,581, Guantánamo 217,235,
Santa Clara 215,053, Las Tunas 167,355, Bayamo 158,905, Cienfuegos
149,145, Pinar del Río 142,689, Matanzas
|50% African-European, 37% European, 11% African, 1%
|nominally 85% Catholics (Roman Catholic) before Fidel
Castro came to power. Also Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews and
|Human Development Index (HDI)
People in Cuba
11 million people live in Cuba. They are
predominantly the descendants of those who once came
from Europe and of the Africans who were brought here as
slaves. 66 percent of the population are white, 10
percent are black. The remainder have both white and
The majority of Cubans live in cities, namely 77
percent. 2 million of the 11 million residents live in
But who were the residents before Christopher
Columbus landed here in 1492 and was mainly followed by
Spaniards? The people who lived here (and on the other
islands of the Greater Antilles) were the Taíno. The
Taíno were forced to work on their plantations by the
Spanish. Many died of diseases that were brought in
from Europe and against which they had no defenses. The
Taíno were already extinct in the 17th century.
Children and old people
Life expectancy in Cuba is 79.2 years and is one of
the highest in Latin America. The birth rate has now
fallen and is 1.7 children per woman. It is slightly
higher than in Germany (1.4 children).
Languages in Cuba
Spanish is spoken in Cuba. However, it is different
from the Spanish spoken in Spain. The Seseo is typical (
c before e and i is pronounced like s, not like the
English th ). The word cine (cinema) is therefore
pronounced "ssine". Many Cubans pronounce an r at the
end of a syllable like an l. So puerta (door) becomes "puelta".
This is often difficult for Spaniards to understand.
Other peculiarities in Cuban Spanish are: The
politeness form ustedes has replaced the Spanish
vosotros. A d in the middle of a word is often left
out: Helado (ice cream) is then pronounced like "ela-o".
While in Spanish a double l (as in llamar ) is
pronounced as lj, in Cuba it is only pronounced as j.
By the way, that's called yeísmo. The sound ch (as in
German "ach") does not exist, it is spoken like h.
Religions in Cuba
Most Cubans belong to the Catholic Church. Many
Catholics practice a kind of mixed religion. Catholic
elements are mixed with those from the religion of the
West African Yoruba. These came to Cuba with the slaves
from West Africa.
This mixed religion is called
Santería. The gods of the Santería are the Orishas.
They merge with saints of the Catholic Church. The
orishas are honored in trance dances and sacrifices are
made to them. You can light a candle, lay fruit or
slaughter an animal.
The priests of the Santería give
advice to the faithful, consult the oracle and work as
healers. Amulets are important to the believers and they
believe in the magical powers of herbs. A mixture of at
least 21 herbs is called omiero and is particularly
important in rituals. The herbs are dissolved in
rainwater and are considered a healing potion.
who converts to the faith of the Santería must wear
white clothing for a year. The pendants can also often
be recognized by a pearl bracelet, the pulso.
Religious minorities are Protestants, but their number
is growing, as well as Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims and
Jews. There are only two religious holidays in Cuba:
Christmas on December 25th and Good Friday.