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Uruguay, the country that fails to surpass 3 million inhabitants

The number of people living in Uruguay seems to be perpetuating, advancing in the process of demographic stagnation.

In a dialogue with Sputnik, Uruguayan sociologist Ignacio Pardo, said that the 2023 Census may be the last one where a “relatively significant population growth” will be detected.

Uruguay has had a population of around 3 million for three decades.

, Uruguay, the country that fails to surpass 3 million inhabitants
The country faces demographic aging: the 65 and over age group represents 14.1% of the total population (Photo internet reproduction)

The country surpassed that threshold for the first time in 1986; since then, the number has increased, but gradually.

“There is a myth that there have always been three million of us,” said Pardo.

The expert clarified that the population has grown, although “at a slower pace than others”.

The Population, Households, and Housing Census, which began in May, will reveal how many more inhabitants the country has.

In 2011, it registered an annual growth rate of 0.19% since the national survey conducted in 2004.

Unlike other editions, the 2023 Census allows people to self-censure online to advance the process.

The same initiative was considered successful in Argentina in 2022.

For Pardo, this census could be the last to register a “significant but modest” population growth.

The expert warned that Uruguay is reaching the moment when the population increase will be close to zero.

According to the researcher at the University of the Republic, this situation will occur when the number of inhabitants “is barely above three and a half million”.


Population growth occurs because, beyond what migration can contribute, mortality decreases, life expectancy increases, and fertility does not fall, explained Pardo.

On the contrary, when the birth rate is so low that the number of births equals the number of deaths, the number of inhabitants stops growing: this is happening in Uruguay.

The country faces demographic aging: the 65 and over age group represents 14.1% of the total population (more than 460,000 people).

For the expert, the new census will even reveal the percentage of older adults has increased “a bit more” since 2011.

Pardo defines the Uruguayan population as one “that is about to stop growing, that has an aging age structure”.

The sociologist says this phenomenon is not exclusive to this country but can be seen in other places, such as Japan.

“It is a process that all populations in the world go through, but Uruguay, in the region, is […] more advanced,” he assured.

According to World Bank data, the country has a lower growth rate than others in the region, such as Nicaragua, Venezuela, or Argentina.

According to Pardo, the change in the age structure impacts the budgets allocated to health care by the different States.


In addition to national growth and population size, researchers must identify other variables such as how many men and women there are in the country, how households are made up – whether single-person, nuclear, or extended – and where they are, explained Pardo.

The territorial distribution of the population is of great interest.

According to Pardo, the national consultation will be able to confirm whether the country maintains an extremely urban population concerning others and whether it is concentrated in Montevideo, the capital.

He indicated that the aim is to know how the number of inhabitants increased in other districts, particularly in Maldonado.

This department seeks to position itself as a national financial center and has great activity due to the city of Punta del Este.

At the same time, the aim is to find out how many settlers “were born in other countries and have arrived in the last few years”, data that cannot be known in depth with surveys or administrative records alone.

The study will also contemplate certain ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In this regard, the researcher said that an impact on the birth rate has already been perceived, although “modest and in the short term.”

With information from Sputnik

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