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These figures indicate a proportion of widowed in Cuba not much above that in the United States and not at all above that in Porto Rico. But obviously only persons who had been lawfully married would be reported to the census as widowed. Persons who had been living in consentual marriages, but whose unions had ended before the census by death of the other party, would appear in the census not as widowed but as single. Hence a fairer basis for the comparison may be found in the persons reported as married. Such a comparison yields the following result:
On this basis it appears that there was in Cuba one widow or widower for every three married persons, while in the United States there was one widow or widower for every eight married persons. In Cuba in 1861 there was one widow or widower for every five married persons. This large proportion of widowed is emphasized by the following table in which the proportion of widowed to married is given for the last available census of a number of Spanish-American countries, or West Indian Islands:
to 100 married.
1895 1891 1891 1891 1885 1892 1893 1891 1891 1894 1895 1891 1891 1890 1887 1899 1899
The evidence thus shows conclusively that the proportion of widows and widowers in Cuba was far higher than in the other countries with which comparison would naturally be made. Whether the excess is of widows or widowers may be doubtful. In the following table the sex classification is introduced:
This table shows that both the West India Islands had more than double the proportion of widowed to married that prevails in the United States, but that the proportion in Cuba was noticeably higher than in Porto Rico. For every six husbands there was a widower and for every two wives a widow.
In the following table the classification is carried into the several provinces:
Widows were most numerous in the capital of the island and least numerous in Puerto Principe. Widowers were most numerous in Habana outside the city, and least numerous in Puerto Principe. Probably Puerto Principe suffered as little as any province during the last five years, and the high proportion of widows in Habana city may result from migration of widows to the capital or from the presence in the city of many widows of Spaniards. The facts regarding the classes of the population of Habana city are as follows:
While the figures show a larger proportion of widows among the foreign born than the native white, the proportion of widows among the colored was far greater. This is a result so unexpected that one asks at once whether it was true throughout Cuba. The following table gives the facts:
Apparently widows were most numerous relatively among the colored and least numerous among the native white, while widowers were most numerous among the native. white and least so among the foreign born.
Perhaps the best measure of the progressive increase of widowhood with advancing years is found by comparing the widowed with the married of each age group. This is done in the following table:
The table shows the uniform and steady increase of widowhood for each sex with advancing years, and also the far greater proportion of widows than of widowers at any given age. This difference between the two sexes increases with age. Between 20 and 35 the proportion of widows to wives was about double that of widowers to husbands. At the next age period it was treble, at the next five times, at the next seven times, and at the latest age nine times. For this difference a number of cooperating causes may be assigned. As the husband is usually older than the wife and the chance of death increases with age, more marriages are broken by the death of the husband than by the death of the wife. Then, too, at the same age the mortality of men is usually rather greater than the mortality of women. And a widower is more likely than a widow to reenter the group of married by a second union.
The small proportion of married in Cuba has already been mentioned (p. 118). Even if the consentual unions be included with the marriages, the proportion of the total was much less than in the United States (p. 135). The widowed, while very numerous with reference to the married, were not much more numerous than elsewhere with reference to the total or the adult population. There are no divorced persons in Cuba. The only other marital class, the single, must then be unusually numerous. For purposes of comparison with other countries, however, the persons living in consentual unions in Cuba should be classed with the single. In the following table the proportion of single to total population over 15 is given for the countries with which comparison would most naturally be made. The countries are arranged in the order of increasing proportion of single.
This table shows that the proportion of single among the adults of Cuba is higher than in any other considerable country known to statistics. In the United States not much more than one-third of the adults were single, while in Cuba over one-half and, including the persons living together in consentual unions, two-thirds were single. In the subsequent discussion the word single will be limited by excluding the persons living together by mutual consent as well as the married and widowed.
In the following table the two sexes are compared:
The excess of single males over single females, amounting to 83,729 is due partly to the excess of 48,471 males in the adult population and partly to the excess of 39,049 widows over widowers.
The proportion of single decreases with advancing years, as follows:
0-14... 16-19. 20-24.... 25-29. 30-34. 35-44. 45-54.... 55-64.... 65+....
99.9 99.3 88.6 67.2 45.9 33.1 32.1 38.0 42.9
9.9 7.1 5.8 5.6
In Cuba over two-fifths of the population apparently go through life single, while in the United States only about one-eighteenth do so. Next to this noteworthy difference between the two countries the most interesting inference from the table is that the proportion of single does not decrease steadily from youth to old age, as might be expected and as it does in the United States. On the contrary, a distinct minimum is reached for men at 45–54 years of age and for women ten years earlier. After these ages the proportion of single increases.
Some light is thrown on this difference by the following table:
From this it appears that the increase in the proportion of single with advancing years was almost confined to the colored race. It is probably due in large part to the inclusion with the single of persons who had earlier in life lived in consentual unions, but whose married life had ended by separation of the parties through death or otherwise or who having no children living with them were classified as single although really belonging to the class of persons living together by mutual consent.
LITERACY. A census can take cognizance of the degree of education of a people only as it is indicated by certain simple tests. These tests refer usually to formal or book education, not because that is necessarily the most important, but because it is the most easily tested. The tests used by the present census were attendance at school, ability to read, ability to write, and possession of higher education. It is obvious that attendance at school certifies nothing regarding a person's educational attainments, yet if the entire population is to be classed according to degree of education some assumption must be made regarding children attending school. It can not introduce serious error to assume that all children attending school were able to read and write, and all under 10 years of age and not attending school were not able to read. On these assumptions the population of Cuba may be classified as follows:
Per cent of total.
Having higher education
566, 501 1,571,385