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Cuba, People

The Cuban population grew slowly and consistently throughout the 20th century, reaching an estimated 11,224,321 in 2002. However, population growth was affected by emigration that occurred intensively between 1959 and 1964, when about 1 million Cubans left following the Cuban Revolution. The early flood of emigrants belonged largely to the professional classes. As a result, the revolutionary government was left with the task of filling their positions with recent graduates from socialist schools and with foreign advisers. Subsequent waves of emigrants belonged to all levels of professions, from the least powerful to high-ranking officers. In 1980 the government allowed another 120,000 Cubans to depart. Since 1994 the U.S. State Department and Castroís Foreign Ministry have agreed to allow 20,000 Cubans to emigrate to the United States per year.

Since 1959 Cubaís birth rate has slowed, partially due to the availability of contraceptives and abortion. The death rate has also declined due to improved health facilities and their distribution throughout the island. In 2000, 75 percent of the population was urban, concentrating in the capital, Havana (2,189,716 people, 2000 estimate), and in Santiago de Cuba (441,524 people, 2000 estimate).

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