Panama: The Population

By: Laurie Cooper

Panama is in the isthmus of Central America. It borders the north and South America and has coastlines in the Pacific Ocean. Its popular Panama Canal has influenced international trade and shipping as most shipping lines in America, Asia and Europe passes through the canal. As such, Panama Canal has great contribution to the economy of the country. It contributed to the development of tourism from which, the people has taken advantage of.

Generally, although Panama has become industrialized and its economy has progressed in the recent years, the population of Panama continued to be low compared to other countries in Central America. It has high percentage of people who belongs to the middle class. The middle class usually has high standard of living as they own cars, homes and life facilities. However, unemployment is also basically high with half of the population falling below the poverty line. It has a population of 3 million from which seventy percent are mestizo, fourteen percent are Amerindian or West Indians, ten percent are whites and six percent are Indian. Although Panama is composed of diverse population, the national language spoken is generally Spanish. English is also common as most of the people of Panama can speak English.

The people of Panama have distinct characteristics. Most tourists observed some gestures and languages that are common to Panamanians. Despite the fact that Panama's economy is into service industries, expatriates observe that Panama people are not well trained in service concept. But most of the people of Panama are actually in the service industry with 60% of the population. Other people of Panama are into agricultural industry with 20% distribution and 185 are into industry. Expatriates are mostly seen in El Valle, a highland located in the outskirts of Panama City.

Other facts about the people of Panama include eighty five percent Roman Catholics and 15 percent Protestants. People in Panama experience several festivities under Roman Catholic domination. Every town has its own patron saint which is celebrated by festivals. However, the major celebration of Panama is the Carnaval. The popular music of the people of Panama is salsa, which is a mixture of music from Latin America. There are also indigenous influences seen in Panama handicrafts and native items. When it comes to education, children start to go to school at fours years in the kinder garden preschool studies. From this age, education is compulsory up to the age of seventeen. AS a result, ninety one percent of the population is literate and can write. Children up to fourteen years composed thirty percent, fifteen years old to sixty five comprise 65 percent while above sixty five is only 5 percent as mortality usually is at age 74.

Generally, people of Panama are hospitable and polite. They treat foreigners well as tourism becomes common to their place and make them feel like home. Panamanians value hospitality and like nothing more than to show their beautiful country to foreigners. Panamanians are extremely proud of their heritage and will do whatever it takes to make you feel welcome.

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