Venezuela - Demographics


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1950 5,094,000
1960 7,562,000 +48.4%
1970 10,681,000 +41.2%
1980 15,036,000 +40.8%
1990 19,685,000 +30.9%
2000 24,348,000 +23.7%
2011 28,400,000 +16.6%

Source: United Nations

The people of Venezuela come from a variety of heritages. It is estimated that the majority of the population is of mestizo, or mixed, ethnic heritage. Nevertheless in the 2011 census, which Venezuelans were asked to identify themselves according to their customs and ancestry, the term mestizo was excluded from the answers.

«Based on your physical features, ancestry, culture and traditions, Would you consider yourself: Black, African Descent, Mestizo, White, what else?» —XIV Population and Housing National Census (2011)

The majority claimed to be Multiracial or White —49.9% and 42.2%, respectively—, 3.5% identified themselves as Black, 2.7% claimed to belong to Indigenous people and 1.1% answered other races.

Among indigenous people, 58% were Wayúu, 7% Warao, 5% Kariña, 4% Pemón, 3% Piaroa, 3% Jivi, 3% Añu, 3% Cumanagoto, 2% Yukpa, 2% Chaima and 1% Yanomami nation, the remaining 9% consists in other indigenous nations.

According to an autosomal DNA genetic study conducted in 2008 by the University of Brasilia (UNB) the composition of Venezuela's population it's: 60.60% of European contribution, 23% of Amerindian contribution and 16,30% of African contribution.

During the colonial period and until after the Second World War, many of the European immigrants to Venezuela came from the Canary Islands, which had a significant cultural impact on the cuisine and customs of Venezuela. However, with the start of oil exploitation in the early 20th century, companies from the United States began establishing operations in Venezuela, bringing with them U.S. citizens. Later, during and after the war, new waves of immigrants from other parts of Europe, the Middle East, and China began; many were encouraged by government established immigration programs. Between 1900 and 1958 more than one million Europeans immigrated to Venezuela. In addition, Venezuela also experienced immigration from other Latin American countries (especially Colombia) in the mid-to-late 19th century.

According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Venezuela hosted a population of refugee and asylum seekers from Colombia numbering 252,200 in 2007, and 10,600 new asylum seekers entered Venezuela in 2007. Between 500,000 and one million illegal immigrants are estimated to be living in the country.

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