The Decrease in the Number of Suicides in Cuba is the Only Good News in the Demographic Yearbook

In 2022, 22.3% of the Cuban population was over 60 years old. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 26 October 2023 — Heart attacks and cancer were responsible for half of the deaths in Cuba in 2022. The “dizzying” aging of the population, the increase in traffic accidents, low fertility and disorders during pregnancy complete the demographic picture of the Island, which, according to official data, is anything but optimistic.

The 2022 Health Statistical Yearbook, according to the official media Cubadebate reporting on Thursday, warns that 48.3% of Cubans who died that year did so from “heart diseases” and complications after suffering from “malignant tumors” and other chronic non-communicable diseases. As a general rule, they add, men are more likely to die for these reasons than women, partly because they go to the doctor late and because of the amount of stress they are under.

Detailing this last aspect, the document also warns about the large differences between the mortality of one sex and the other in terms of suicides – the male rate is 5.1 times higher than the female rate – although the general rate for 2022 for which the State insists on calling “self-inflicted injuries” (12.9 suicides per 100,000 inhabitants) decreased compared to 2021, when 16 suicides occurred per 100,000 inhabitants.

There are also gender differences in death rates from cirrhosis and liver diseases, 3.3 times higher in men; due to tumors, 1.3 times higher; and for heart, respiratory diseases and accidents, 1.1 times higher.

During 2022, 856 deaths occurred due to car crashes, 142 more than the 714 the previous year

Women, on the other hand, are more likely to die from diabetes mellitus. However, both sexes are equal in the rate of deaths from cerebrovascular diseases. In general, life expectancy is 77.7 years: 80.1 for women and 75.3 for men.

Deaths due to traffic accidents were also highlighted by the press, as being the only one of these indicators that increased significantly during the past year and had an impact on the number of years of potential life lost (YPLL), which is generally calculated from the life expectancy of each sex.

According to statistics, 856 deaths due to car crashes occurred during 2022, 142 more than the 714 the previous year. The figures for other types of accidents, such as work accidents or drownings, did not change greatly.

The main concern of the press regarding the data from the National Statistics Office (Onei), however, is the great loss of population that the country has suffered since at least 2016, when Cuba went from having 11,239,224 inhabitants to losing – in just six years – about 150,000 people.

The causes: accelerated aging and low birth rates, they say. As expected, the official figures did not take into account in their calculation the large mass of Cubans who have emigrated in recent years and whose definitive departure from the country is not yet recorded in the statistics.

According to the yearbook, 22.3% of the Cuban population in 2022 was over 60 years old, 0.7% more than the previous year and almost 10% more than in 2000. This accelerated increase in the population of older adults, Cubadebate points out, translates into “challenges” for public health, social services, employment and equality and non-discrimination policies.

According to its forecasts, by 2025 the country is expected to have a population of 11,227,182

The counterpart to these statistics are births and fertility. However, this news is not encouraging either. Along with the increase in the elderly population comes a significant reduction in the number of people over 15 years of age.

This is because for more than 45 years the fertility of Cuban women has been below the replacement rate, which needs to be at least 2.1 children per woman (in her lifetime) to guarantee population renewal. In Cuba, according to 2022 data, the rate is 1.41 children per woman, lower than that of 2021, which was 1.45.

On the other hand, the birth rate for 2022 was 8.6 live births per 1,000 inhabitants, 3.4% lower than the previous year, when the lowest number had already been recorded since records began (99,096 births).

The fertility rate for women between 15 and 49 years old (considered the reproductive period) is 39.2 per 1,000. By age range, only fertility in women between 40 and 44 years old and between 15 to 19 years old increased. The irregularities between the overall fertility rate, which tends to decrease, and the adolescent fertility rate, with a tendency to increase especially in the eastern provinces, were highlighted by the press with a “worrying” aspect. In 2022, the fertility rate for adolescents between 15 and 19 years old was 50.6 per 1,000 women.

Despite the statistics that show a notable drop in the population, the Onei figures insist on showing a positive outlook. According to its forecasts, by 2025 the country is expected to have a population of 11,227,182, 137,000 more than today.


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