Census reveals that Panama is a country free of illiteracy

Judith Pena | July 11, 2023

The National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC) of the Comptroller General of the Republic reported that the Population and Housing Census revealed a decrease in unemployment and illiteracy rates, and a significant increase in the population with school coverage, households with access to technology and public services, as well as an increase in the population that recognizes itself as descendant of Afro-descendant and indigenous people.

The results highlight that the illiteracy rate decreased from 5.5% to 3.7% systematically. In 2010 there were 148,747 people who could not read or write; now in 2023 there are 123,674 people, which marks a difference of 25,073 people.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) classifies as illiteracy-free territory those that report a rate of less than 5%.

The illiteracy rate reports a systematic decrease from 1990 that was at 10.7% to 2023 with 3.7%.

In terms of education, it is worth noting that the average year of study for the population aged 6 and over was 9.6 years compared to the average of 8.4 years in 2010.

There is an increase in the school population from 5 to 19 years old that attends school: In 2010 there were 836 thousand 109 and in 2023 it amounts to 918 thousand 336.

The population between 6 and 11 years of age that attends primary school also increased from 423,036 students in 2023 to 390,985 students in 2010.

School coverage also registers an increase, standing at 88.4% in 2023, while in 2010 it was 86.6%.
Low unemployment.

There is an improvement in the labor market indicator, if it is contrasted with the last Multiple Purpose Survey (EPM) carried out in March 2002. In this sense, there is a decrease in the unemployment rate (15 years and over) of 1%, that is, the 2022 EPM placed the unemployment rate at 9.9% and the 2023 census at 8.9%.

It also registers a decrease in youth unemployment (15 to 29 years of age) from 19.9% ​​in March 2022 to 15.7% in the 2023 census that was carried out from January to March of this year.

More Afro-descendants

The percentage of the population that recognized itself as Afro-descendant had a considerable increase from 9.2% in 2010 to 31.7% in 2023.

The percentage of people who recognized themselves as indigenous descendants was 17.2% in 2023, with an increase compared to 2010, which was 12.3%.

More homes with technology and access to public services

The census recorded an improvement in homes with access to potable water, locating a total of 1,133,636 houses in 2023 with potable water against 831,247 in 2010.

Similarly, a greater number of homes with electric lighting and solar panels were recorded: in 2010, 784,655 were registered and 1,143,777 in the last census.

In 2010, 28% of households declared that they had a computer, laptop or tablet, while in 2023 that figure reached 40%. Similarly, there is an increase in households with access to cable TV from 21% in 2010 to 57% in 2023. In addition, the number of households with internet increased from 20% in 2010 to 70% in 2023.

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