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.



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

Panama's population was 4,176,869 people in 2018, compared to 860,000 in 1950. [1] [2] 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. [3]

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 [4]

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.

ProvinceCapital cityPopulation(2010 Est.) [5]
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.) [6]

   Mestizos (mixed Amerindian and European/White) (65%)
   Native Panamanians (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 and Amerindian), 12.3% Native Panamanians, 9.2% black, 6.8% mulattoes, and 6.7% white. [6]

European Panamanians

European Panamanians or 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.

Indigenous Panamanians

Population of Panama according to ethnic group [7]
Census 1990Census 2000Census 2010
Amerindian 194,2698.3285,23110.0417,55912.3
Indigenous population of Panama according to ethnic group [7]
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 Panamanians

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. [8] [9]

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. [10]

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. [10]


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) [11]

   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. [3]

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

[4] [12]

YearPopulationLive birthsDeathsNatural increaseCrude birth rateCrude death rateRate of natural increaseTFR
197452,7729,00143,77132. 65.627.0


Panama’s census has been postponed by one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but the government are currently assessing additional implications. They are evaluating the preparatory processes that can begin now, such as procurement. [13]

See also

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Bocas del Toro Province Province of Panama

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Embera language language

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Index of Panama-related articles Wikipedia index

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, Saint Lucia,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.

Archaeology of Bocas del Toro, Panama: The province of Bocas del Toro in Panama has a rich history, beginning with the first European visitors: Christopher Columbus and his son Fernando in 1502 on Columbus’ fourth voyage to the New World. The area was visited frequently from the middle of the 17th century to the middle of the 18th century by privateers and buccaneers marauding Spanish colonial towns and the ships carrying gold to Europe. However little is known of the inhabitants of the region before the time of European contact. Archaeological research conducted since the middle of the 20th century has begun to illuminate the cultural history as well as development of societies in the region prior to Columbus arriving.

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 people 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.


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.


  1. ""World Population prospects – Population division"". United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  2. ""Overall total population" – World Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision" (xslx). (custom data acquired via website). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  3. 1 2 Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision Archived May 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  4. 1 2
  6. 1 2 "CIA - The World Factbook -- Panama". CIA. Archived from the original on 22 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
  7. 1 2 Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Censo (INEC)
  8. 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.
  9. "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.
  10. 1 2 "Panama : Afro-Panamanians". Minority Rights Group International. Archived from the original on December 3, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  11. "Central America and Caribbean :: PANAMA". CIA The World Factbook.
  12. "EEstadísticas Vitales - Volumen II - Nacimientos Vivos y Defunciones Fetales". Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censo - INEC. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  13. Technical Brief on the Implications of COVID-19 on Census (PDF). UNFPA. 2020.

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website .