Demographics of Panama

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This article is about the demographic features of the population of Panama, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Population All the organisms of a given species that live in the specified region

In biology, a population is the number of all the organisms of the same group or species, which live in a particular geographical area, and have the capability of interbreeding. The area of a sexual population is the area where inter-breeding is potentially possible between any pair within the area, and where the probability of interbreeding is greater than the probability of cross-breeding with individuals from other areas.

Panama Republic in Central America

Panama, officially the Republic of Panama, is a country in Central America, bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half the country's 4 million people.

Population density A measurement of population numbers per unit area or volume

Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume; it is a quantity of type number density. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and most of the time to humans. It is a key geographical term. In simple terms population density refers to the number of people living in an area per kilometer square.



Panama's population, (1961-2003). Panama-demography.png
Panama's population, (1961-2003).

Panama's population was 4,034,119 people in 2016, compared to 860,000 in 1950. [1] The proportion of the population aged below 15 in 2010 was 29%. 64.5% of the population were aged between 15 and 65, with 6.6% of the population being 65 years or older. [2]

Total population
(x 1000)
aged 0–14
aged 15–64
aged 65+
19601 13642.952.84.3
19651 31943.851.84.4
19701 52643.951.84.3
19751 75442.852.84.4
19801 99040.455.04.6
19852 23337.657.64.7
19902 48735.259.95.0
19952 75733.361.55.2
20003 05531.862.65.5
20053 36630.463.75.9
20103 67829.064.56.6
20154 08028.164.67.3

Structure of the population [3]

Structure of the population (01.07.2013) (Estimates - Data refer to projections based on the 2010 Population Census):

Age GroupMaleFemaleTotal%
Total1 934 2641 916 4713 850 735100
0-4187 797179 822367 6199,55
5-9184 487176 909361 3969,39
10-14180 579173 379353 9589,19
15-19170 895164 639335 5348,71
20-24160 414155 878316 2928,21
25-29154 493150 986305 4797,93
30-34147 618144 488292 1067,59
35-39140 942138 936279 8787,27
40-44130 725130 042260 7676,77
45-49113 877114 213228 0905,92
50-5496 56498 076194 6405,05
55-5976 08478 641154 7254,02
60-6458 97462 105121 0793,14
65-6945 36048 70094 0602,44
70-7433 83937 31371 1521,85
75-7923 62227 02050 6421,32
80-8414 94417 95632 9000,85
85-898 17410 45818 6320,48
90-943 5734 9388 5110,22
95-991 1191 6782 7970,07
Age groupMaleFemaleTotalPercent
0-14552 863530 1101 082 97328,12
15-641 250 5861 238 0042 488 59064,63
65+130 815148 357279 1727,25

Population distribution

More than half the population lives in the Panama City-Colón metropolitan corridor.

Panama City City in Panama

Panama City is the capital and largest city of Panama. It has an urban population of 880,691, with over 1.5 million in its metropolitan area. The city is located at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, in the province of Panama. The city is the political and administrative center of the country, as well as a hub for banking and commerce.

Colón, Panama City in Colón Province, Panama

Colón is a city and sea port in Panama, beside the Caribbean Sea, lying near the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal. It is the capital of Panama's Colón Province and has traditionally been known as Panama's second city. Originally it was located entirely on Manzanillo Island, surrounded by Limon Bay, Manzanillo Bay and the Folks River; however, since the disestablishment of the Panama Canal Zone, the city's limits have been redefined to include Fort Gulick, a former U.S. Army base, as well the former Canal Zone towns of Cristobal, Margarita and Coco Solo.

ProvinceCapital cityPopulation(2010 Est.) [4]
Bocas del Toro Bocas del Toro 118,405
Coclé Penonomé 237,840
Colón Colón 250,802
Chiriquí David 426,790
Darién La Palma 46,011
Herrera Chitré 112,538
Los Santos Las Tablas90,984
Panamá Ciudad de Panamá 1,796,674
Veraguas Santiago 226,847
ComarcaCapital cityPopulation
Emberá-Wounaan Unión Choco9,497
Kuna de Madugandí N/DN/D
Kuna Yala El Porvenir 37,545
Kuna de Wargandí N/DN/D
Ngöbe-Buglé Buabidi150,550

Ethnic groups

Ethnic groups in Panama (2010 est.) [5]

   Mestizos (mixed Amerindian and European/White) (65%)
   Native Americans (Ngabe 7.6%, Kuna 2.4%, Embera 0.9%, Bugle 0.8%, other 0.4%, unspecified 0.2%) (12.3%)
   Mulattos (6.8%)

The culture, customs, and language of Panama are predominantly Caribbean Spanish. In 2010 the population was 65% Mestizo (mixed white, Native American), 9.2% Black, 6.8% mulattoes, 13% White and 6% Native Americans. [5]

Caribbean region to the center-east of America composed of many islands and of coastal regions of continental countries surrounding the Caribbean Sea

The Caribbean is a region of The Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Mestizo race

Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Spain, Latin America and the Philippines that originally referred to a person of combined European and Indigenous American descent, regardless of where the person was born. The term was used as an ethnic/racial category in the casta system that was in use during the Spanish Empire's control of its American and Asian colonies. Nowadays though, particularly in Spanish America, mestizo has become more of a cultural term, with culturally mainstream Latin Americans regarded or termed as mestizos regardless of their actual ancestry and with the term Indian being reserved exclusively for people who have maintained a separate indigenous ethnic identity, language, tribal affiliation, etc. Consequently, today, the vast majority of Spanish-speaking Latin Americans are regarded as mestizos.


Caucasian ethnic groups in Panama include Spanish, British and Irish, Dutch, French, Germans, Italians, Portuguese, Poles, Russians or Ukrainians, (a large number are Jews), Greeks, and Americans.

British people citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, British Overseas Territories, Crown Dependencies, and their descendants

The British people, or the Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Overseas Territories, and the Crown dependencies. British nationality law governs modern British citizenship and nationality, which can be acquired, for instance, by descent from British nationals. When used in a historical context, "British" or "Britons" can refer to the Celtic Britons, the indigenous inhabitants of Great Britain and Brittany, whose surviving members are the modern Welsh people, Cornish people, and Bretons. It may also refer to citizens of the former British Empire.

Irish people Ethnic group with Celtic and other roots, native to the island of Ireland, with shared history and culture

The Irish are a Celtic nation and ethnic group native to the island of Ireland, who share a common Irish ancestry, identity and culture. Ireland has been inhabited for about 12,500 years according to archaeological studies. For most of Ireland's recorded history, the Irish have been primarily a Gaelic people. Anglo-Normans conquered parts of Ireland in the 12th century, while England's 16th/17th-century (re)conquest and colonisation of Ireland brought a large number of English and Lowland Scots people to parts of the island, especially the north. Today, Ireland is made up of the Republic of Ireland and the smaller Northern Ireland. The people of Northern Ireland hold various national identities including British, Irish, Northern Irish or some combination thereof.

Dutch people or the Dutch are a Germanic ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Aruba, Suriname, Guyana, Curaçao, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United States. The Low Countries were situated around the border of France and the Holy Roman Empire, forming a part of their respective peripheries, and the various territories of which they consisted had become virtually autonomous by the 13th century. Under the Habsburgs, the Netherlands were organised into a single administrative unit, and in the 16th and 17th centuries the Northern Netherlands gained independence from Spain as the Dutch Republic. The high degree of urbanization characteristic of Dutch society was attained at a relatively early date. During the Republic the first series of large-scale Dutch migrations outside of Europe took place.


Population of Panama according to ethnic group [6]
Census 1990Census 2000Census 2010
Amerindian 194,2698.3285,23110.0417,55912.3
Indigenous population of Panama according to ethnic group [6]
Census 1990Census 2000Census 2010
Ngäbe (Guaymi) 123,62663.6169,13059.3260,05862.3
Buglé (Bokota) 3,7841.918,7246.626,8716.4
Kuna 47,29824.361,70721.680,52619.3
Emberá 14,6597.522,4857.931,2847.5
Wounaan 2,6051.36,8822.47,2791.7
Teribe/Naso 2,1941.13,3051.24,0461.0
Bribri 2,5210.91,0680.3
Not declared4770.25,9671.4

Asian and Middle Eastern

Panama has a considerable population of Arabs and Asians: in particular Chinese, Lebanese, Palestinians, South Asians (from India and Pakistan) and Syrians. The first Chinese immigrated to Panama from southern China in the 19th century to help build the Panama Railroad. There followed several waves of immigrants, especially after the 1970s, when the ensuing decades saw up to 80,000 immigrants from all over China. At least 50,000 Panamanians are ethnic Chinese, though some estimates count as many as 135,000. Most of the Chinese population reside in the province of Chiriquí. Some studies suggest that almost 1 million Panamanians have at least one Chinese ancestor. [7] [8]

Arabs are a population inhabiting the Arab world. They primarily live in the Arab states in Western Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and western Indian Ocean islands. They also form a significant diaspora, with Arab communities established around the world.

Lebanon Country in Western Asia

Lebanon, officially known as the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south, while Cyprus is west across the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon's location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland facilitated its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity. At just 10,452 km2, it is the smallest recognized sovereign state on the mainland Asian continent.

The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs, are an ethnonational group comprising the modern descendants of the peoples who have lived in Palestine over the centuries, including Jews and Samaritans, and who today are largely culturally and linguistically Arab. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one half of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in historic Palestine, the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel. In this combined area, as of 2005, Palestinians constituted 49% of all inhabitants, encompassing the entire population of the Gaza Strip, the majority of the population of the West Bank and 20.8% of the population of Israel proper as Arab citizens of Israel. Many are Palestinian refugees or internally displaced Palestinians, including more than a million in the Gaza Strip, about 750,000 in the West Bank and about 250,000 in Israel proper. Of the Palestinian population who live abroad, known as the Palestinian diaspora, more than half are stateless, lacking citizenship in any country. Between 2.1 and 3.24 million of the diaspora population live in neighboring Jordan, over 1 million live between Syria and Lebanon and about 750,000 live in Saudi Arabia, with Chile's half a million representing the largest concentration outside the Middle East.

African Panamanians

Afro-Panamanians first arrived during the colonial era. They are intermixed in the general population or live in small Afro-Panamanian communities along the Atlantic Coast and in villages within the Darién jungle. Most of the people in Darien are fishermen or small-scale farmers growing crops such as bananas, rice and coffee as well as raising livestock. Other Afro-Panamanians descend from later migrants from the Caribbean who came to work on railroad-construction projects, commercial agricultural enterprises, and (especially) the canal. Important Afro-Caribbean community areas include towns and cities such as Colón, Cristobal and Balboa, in the former Canal Zone, as well as the Río Abajo area of Panama City. Another region with a large Afro-Caribbean population is the province of Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean coast just south of Costa Rica. [9]

Most of the Panamanian population of West Indian descent owe their presence in the country to the monumental efforts to build the Panama Canal in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Three-quarters of the 50,000 workers who built the canal were Afro Caribbean migrants from the British West Indies. Thousands of Afro-Caribbean workers were recruited from Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad. [9]


Many languages, including seven indigenous languages, are spoken in Panama, although Spanish is the official and dominant language. The local variant is Panamanian Spanish. English is sometimes spoken by many professionals and those working in the business or governmental sectors of society.

Indigenous languages include Guaymí, Kuna, Northern Embera and Teribe. Bocas del Toro Creole is also spoken.


Religion in Panama (2013) [10]

   Roman Catholic (85%)
   Protestants (15%)

The majority of Panamanians are Christian; most are Roman Catholics as a result centuries of Spanish colonial influence. Other faiths exist in Panama by the country's tolerance and freedom of religion, there are large Protestant, Jewish, Bahá'í, Muslim and Hindu religious groups in Panama.

Vital statistics

Registration of vital events is in Panama not complete. The Population Departement of the United Nations prepared the following estimates. [2]

PeriodLive births
per year
per year
Natural change
per year
CBR*CDR*NC*TFR*IMR*Life expectancy
Life expectancy
Life expectancy
1950-195538 00011 00027 00041.412.029.55.769256.855.957.8
1955-196044 00011 00033 00041.710.631.15.878059.558.660.5
1960-196550 00011 00039 00040.
1965-197055 00012 00044 00038.
1970-197559 00011 00048 00036.
1975-198061 00011 00050 00032.55.926.64.193969.267.271.5
1980-198562 00011 00051 00029.55.424.13.633471.068.673.7
1985-199064 00012 00053 00027.
1990-199567 00013 00054 00025.54.920.62.962673.670.876.5
1995-200071 00014 00057 00024.64.819.82.872474.672.277.2
2000-200574 00015 00059 00023.14.818.32.762075.673.078.3
2005-201075 00017 00058 00021.34.916.42.621776.473.679.5
* CBR = crude birth rate (per 1000); CDR = crude death rate (per 1000); NC = natural change (per 1000); IMR = infant mortality rate per 1000 births; TFR = total fertility rate (number of children per woman)

Births and deaths

[3] [11]

YearPopulationLive birthsDeathsNatural increaseCrude birth rateCrude death rateRate of natural increaseTFR
195229 0136 79122 22236.08.427.6
195331 4287 63823 79037.99.228.7
195433 5217 51126 01039.38.830.5
195534 5928 05926 53339.49.230.2
195635 5828 35227 23039.39.230.1
195737 7438 65629 08740.59.331.2
195837 7338 36429 36939.38.730.6
195940 2968 95931 33740.89.131.7
196042 3598 82733 53239.98.331.6
196144 2078 85135 35640.48.132.3
196246 2748 23938 03541.17.333.8
196346 6569 23937 41740.28.032.2
196447 4198 74338 67639.67.332.3
196548 3779 03539 34239.27.331.9
196649 3949 18440 21038.97.231.7
196750 7958 93841 85738.86.832.0
196852 4899 56842 92138.97.131.8
196952 7999 79143 00838.07.031.0
197053 28710 22543 06237.
197154 9489 85745 09137.26.730.5
197254 9109 07645 83436.06.030.0
197352 0919 16142 93033.25.827.4
197452 7729 00143 77132. 65.627.0
197553 7908 68345 10732.35.227.1
197653 0028 56444 43830.85.025.8
197752 7228 03644 68629.84.525.3
197853 0407 55545 48529.14.125.0
197952 9198 19244 72728.24.423.8
198052 6267 95944 66726.
198153 8737 97645 89726.94.022.9
198254 4918 14246 34926.74.022.7
198355 2228 49946 72326.44.122.3
198456 6598 25048 40926.53.922.6
198558 0388 99149 04726.64.122.5
198657 6558 94248 71325.94.021.9
198757 6479 10548 54225.34.021.3
198858 4599 38249 07725.24.021.2
198959 0699 55749 51225.14.121.0
199059 9049 79950 10525.
199160 0809 68350 39724.64.020.6
199259 90510 14349 76224.14.120.0
199359 19110 66948 52223.34.219.1
199459 94710 98348 96423.24.318.9
199561 93911 03250 90723.54.219.3
199663 40111 16152 24023.74.219.5
199768 00912 17955 83025.04.520.5
199862 35111 82450 52722.64.318.3
199964 24811 93852 31022.94.218.7
200064 83911 84152 99822.
200163 90012 44251 45821.34.117.2
200261 67112 42849 24320.24.116.1
200361 75313 24848 50519.84.315.5
200462 74313 47549 26819.84.215.6
200563 64514 18049 46519.74.415.3
200665 76414 35851 40620.04.415.6
200767 63414 77552 58919.44.315.1
200868 75915 11553 64419.44.315.1
200968 36415 49852 86619.04.314.72.5
20103 405 81367 95516 54251 41318.64.514.12.4
201173 29216 36756 92519.74.415.32.5
201275 48617 35058 13619.94.615.32.5
201373 80417 76756 03719.24.614.6
201475 18318 17157 01219.24.614.6
201575 90118 18257 91919.14.614.5
201675 18418 88256 30218.64.713.92.4
201774 83218 38856 44418.34.713.6

See also

Related Research Articles

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Geography of Panama

Panama is a country located in Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica. Panama is located on the narrow and low Isthmus of Panama.

Limón Province Province in Costa Rica

Limón is one of seven provinces in Costa Rica. The province covers an area of 9,189 km², and has a population of 386,862.

Bocas del Toro Province Province in Panama

Bocas del Toro (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈbokaz ðel ˈtoɾo]; meaning "Bull’s river mouths") is a province of Panama. Its area is 4,643.9 square kilometers, comprising the mainland and nine main islands. The province consists of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Bahía Almirante, Chiriquí Lagoon, and adjacent mainland. The capital is the city of Bocas del Toro on Isla Colón. Other major cities or towns include Almirante and Changuinola. The province has a population of 125,461 as of 2010.

Bocas Town, Bocas del Toro Corregimiento and town in Bocas del Toro, Panama

Bocas del Toro, also known colloquially as Bocas Town, is the capital of the Panamanian province of Bocas del Toro and the district of Bocas del Toro. It is a town and a tourist resort located on the southern tip of Colón Island in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. Bocas Town had 12,996 residents in 2008.

Embera language language

Emberá is a dialect continuum spoken by 100,000 people in northwestern Colombia and southeastern Panama. It belongs to the Choco language family.

Almirante, Bocas del Toro Corregimiento and town in Bocas del Toro Province, Panama

Almirante is a city in Bocas del Toro Province in the Republic of Panama. Its name is Spanish for admiral.

Chiriquí Grande Corregimiento and town in Bocas del Toro, Panama

Chiriquí Grande is a corregimiento in Chiriquí Grande District, Bocas del Toro Province, Panama. It is the seat of Chiriquí Grande District. It has a land area of 58.8 square kilometres (22.7 sq mi) and had a population of 3,014 as of 2010, giving it a population density of 51.2 inhabitants per square kilometre (133/sq mi). Its population as of 1990 was 7,637; its population as of 2000 was 2,069. The town is located on the southern shore of Chiriquí Lagoon and its port serves as the northern terminus of the Trans-Panama pipeline.

Kusapín Place in Ngöbe Buglé, Panama

Kusapín (Sabricotte) is a district of the county Panamanian indigenous Ngobe Bugle. Its capital is the town of Kusapín. It has an area of 1,693.2 km2 and a population of 33,121 inhabitants according to 2010 census data. The district's population is predominantly ethnic Ngobe Bugle.

Index of Panama-related articles

The following is an alphabetical list of topics related to the Republic of Panamá.

Afro-Panamanians are Panamanians of African descent. The Afro-Panamanian population can be mainly broken into one of two categories "Afro-Colonials," Afro-Panamanians descended from slaves brought to Panama during the colonial period, and "Afro-Antilleans," West Indian immigrant-descendants with origins in Trinidad, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Barbados and Jamaica, whose ancestors were brought in to build the Panama Canal. Afro-Panamanians can be found in the towns and cities of Colón, Cristóbal and Balboa, the Río Abajo area of Panama City, the Canal Zone and the province of Bocas del Toro.

Bocas del Toro Archipelago group of islands in the northwest of the Caribbean Sea in Panama

The Bocas del Toro Archipelago is a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea in the northwest of Panama. The archipelago separates Almirante Bay and Chiriquí Lagoon from the open Caribbean Sea. The archipelago is part of the Bocas del Toro District which is part of Bocas del Toro Province. The major city is Bocas del Toro, also called Bocas Town, on Isla Colón. The islands are accessible by water taxis and private boats. Isla Colón is accessible by airplanes, ferries, private boats, and water taxis. Bocas del Toro "Isla Colón" International Airport, located just west of Bocas Town, provides air transportation to and from the islands. Ferries serve Bocas Town from Almirante, Changuinola, and Chiriquí Grande.

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Indigenous peoples of Panama

Indigenous peoples of Panama, or Native Panamanians, are the native peoples of Panama. According to the 2010 census, they make up 12.3% of the overall population of 3.4 million, or just over 418,000 people. The Guaymí and Ngöbe-Buglé comprise half of the indigenous peoples of Panama.

Emberá indigenous people of Panama and Colombia

The Emberálisten , also known in the historical literature as the Chocó or Katío Indians are an indigenous people of Panama and Colombia. In the Emberá language, the word ẽberá can be used to mean person, man, or indigenous person, depending on the context in which it is used. There are approximately 33,000 people living in Panama and 50,000 in Colombia who identify as Emberá.

Panamanian people or Panamanians are people identified with Panama, a country in Central America, whose connection may be residential, legal, historical, or cultural. For most Panamanians, several or all of these connections exist and are collectively the source of their Panamanian identity. Panama is a multilingual and multicultural society, home to people of many different ethnicities and religions. Therefore, many Panamanians do not equate their nationality with ethnicity, but with citizenship and allegiance to Panama. The overwhelming majority of Panamanians are the product of varying degrees of admixture between European ethnic groups with native Amerindians who are indigenous to Panama’s modern territory.

José Antonio Price (1890–1951) was a prominent Afro-Panamanian physician and Liberal politician who graduated from University of West Tennessee College of Medicine and Surgery in 1913. Dr. Price is regarded as the first black Panamanian to hold a medical degree in early republican Panama.


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  3. 1 2
  5. 1 2 "CIA - The World Factbook -- Panama". CIA. Archived from the original on 22 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
  6. 1 2 Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Censo (INEC)
  7. Jackson, Eric (May 2004). "Panama's Chinese community celebrates a birthday, meets new challenges". The Panama News. 10 (9). Archived from the original on September 16, 2007. Retrieved November 7, 2007.
  8. "President Chen's State Visit to Panama". Government Information Office, Republic of China. October 2003. Archived from the original on August 14, 2007. Retrieved November 7, 2007.
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PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website .