Venezuela: People & Society#

Population30,912,302 (July 2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Venezuelan(s)
adjective: Venezuelan
Ethnic groupsSpanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arab, German, African, indigenous people
LanguagesSpanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects
Religionsnominally Roman Catholic 96%, Protestant 2%, other 2%
Demographic profileSocial investment in Venezuela during the CHAVEZ administration reduced poverty from nearly 50% in 1999 to about 27% in 2011, increased school enrollment, substantially decreased infant and child mortality, and improved access to potable water and sanitation through social investment. "Missions" dedicated to education, nutrition, healthcare, and sanitation were funded through petroleum revenues. The sustainability of this progress remains questionable, however, as the continuation of these social programs depends on the prosperity of Venezuela's oil industry. In the long-term, education and health care spending may increase economic growth and reduce income inequality, but rising costs and the staffing of new health care jobs with foreigners are slowing development. While CHAVEZ was in power, more than one million predominantly middle- and upper-class Venezuelans are estimated to have emigrated. The brain drain is attributed to a repressive political system, lack of economic opportunities, steep inflation, a high crime rate, and corruption. Thousands of oil engineers emigrated to Canada, Colombia, and the United States following CHAVEZ's firing of over 20,000 employees of the state-owned petroleum company during a 2002-03 oil strike. Additionally, thousands of Venezuelans of European descent have taken up residence in their ancestral homelands. Nevertheless, Venezuela has attracted hundreds of thousands of immigrants from South America and southern Europe because of its lenient migration policy and the availability of education and health care. Venezuela also has been a fairly accommodating host to more than 200,000 Colombian refugees. However, since 2014, falling oil prices have driven a major economic crisis that has pushed Venezuelans from all walks of life to migrate or to seek asylum abroad to escape severe shortages of food, water, and medicine; soaring inflation; unemployment; and violence. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have migrated, often illegally, to Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Chile, Guyana, the Dominican Republic, or taken perilous journeys by raft to Aruba and Curacao. Asylum applications have increased significantly in the US and Brazil in 2016. Although several receiving countries are making efforts to increase immigration restriction and to deport illegal Venezuelan migrants, Venezuelans continue to migrate to avoid economic collapse at home.
Age structure0-14 years: 27.68% (male 4,385,415/female 4,170,160)
15-24 years: 17.27% (male 2,709,359/female 2,629,097)
25-54 years: 40.4% (male 6,182,604/female 6,304,876)
55-64 years: 7.84% (male 1,162,400/female 1,260,451)
65 years and over: 6.82% (male 952,627/female 1,155,313) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 52.4%
youth dependency ratio: 42.8%
elderly dependency ratio: 9.5%
potential support ratio: 10.5% (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 28 years
male: 27.3 years
female: 28.7 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate1.28% (2016 est.)
Birth rate19.2 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate5.2 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-1.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Population distributionmost of the population is concentrated in the northern and western highlands along an eastern spur at the northern end of the Andes, an area that includes the capital of Caracas
Urbanizationurban population: 89% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.54% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - populationCARACAS (capital) 2.916 million; Maracaibo 2.196 million; Valencia 1.734 million; Maracay 1.166 million; Barquisimeto 1.039 million (2015)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Maternal mortality rate95 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 12.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 75.8 years
male: 72.7 years
female: 78.9 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate2.35 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Health expenditures5.3% of GDP (2014)
Hospital bed density0.9 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 95% of population
rural: 77.9% of population
total: 93.1% of population
urban: 5% of population
rural: 22.1% of population
total: 6.9% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 97.5% of population
rural: 69.9% of population
total: 94.4% of population
urban: 2.5% of population
rural: 30.1% of population
total: 5.6% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.55% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS107,300 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths3,300 (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate24.3% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight2.9% (2009)
Education expenditures6.9% of GDP (2009)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96.3%
male: 96.4%
female: 96.2% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 14 years
male: NA
female: NA (2009)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 14.7%
male: NA
female: NA (2014 est.)