Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 1–16 | Cite as

The Impact of Cuban Economic Reform on Older Persons



This paper discusses the economic reforms initiated by Cuban President Raúl Castro in 2008 and its effect on the country’s fast-growing, vulnerable population of older persons 60+ years of age. Cubans are living longer and the country has a very low birthrate. These two factors combined have reduced the proportion of the population in the work force. This adversely affects the economy. Population aging is a major reason why the government has introduced structural reforms and reduced social spending, which have weakened the welfare state on which older persons depend. Many older persons have become critical of the reforms over time. Policy makers need to address the impact the reforms are having on older Cubans and consider them as active participants in economic reform. Data for this paper come from qualitative, case study research carried out in Havana between the years 2008–15 and from a review of the literature on aging and economic reforms in Cuba. Two case studies illustrate the impact of the economic reforms on older persons.


Aging Cuba Older persons Economic reforms Welfare state 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yeshiva UniversityNew YorkUSA

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