Venezuela Demographics

What is the population of Venezuela?

Population 28,644,603
Population Growth Rate 1.44%
Urban Population 93.5%
Population in Major Urban Areas CARACAS (capital) 3.242 million; Maracaibo 2.31 million; Valencia 1.866 million; Barquisimeto 1.245 million; Maracay 1.115 million; Ciudad Guayana 799,000
Nationality Noun Venezuelan(s)
Nationality Adjective Venezuelan
Ethnic Groups Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arab, German, African, indigenous people
Languages Spoken Spanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects

Venezuela Learning

What is school like in Venezuela?


All children must wear a uniform to school. And under the current political emphasis on education, school meals are provided in every nationally-funded school, called a “Bolivarian” school. In order to improve the general education level of its citizens, the Venezuelan education office requires that school last much of the day, from 8:00 in the morning until later afternoon, with up to three meals provided, depending on the actual length of the school day in each school.

The school canteen is open most of the school day, and the students are responsible for keeping the area clean and tidy. Parents can arrange for a prepaid amount to be available for their child to take advantage of each day or week. The canteen offers a variety of healthy sandwiches, salads, stews, fruit drinks, and lunch meals that include beef, pork chops, chicken, and fish.

Education Culture

Education in Venezuela has improved significantly during the past several years under a new government direction. In the past, most of Venezuela’s profits from its oil industry, which is the country’s biggest money-maker, have gone to a relatively small part of the population. About 80% of the people were living at the poverty level. By contrast, in 2006 over 40% of the national budget was focused on improving conditions for the poor, including improving education. And just as important is a shift in the attitude of Venezuelans in general, for in areas where government changes have not improved education, often local communities are taking charge of the schools and together are fixing up school buildings, providing teachers, and in general making sure that their children will get a good education.

Schooling is required and is free for children from ages seven to fourteen years old. Venezuela has 20,000 elementary schools, but only 2,000 secondary and technical schools. After the age of fourteen, fewer than 50% of students continue on to complete their secondary education.

The emphasis on getting children into schools and keeping them there longer has been working, however. Between 1999 and 2002 the total number of children attending school increased by 1.5 million.

Some private schools do exist, but they are usually attended by the children of wealthy families or children of international businessmen. Interestingly, if the children are from a country other than Venezuela, sometimes the teacher will allow the students to bring their home-country textbooks so the students can maintain consistency with their previous studies.

Elementary school begins with a year of preparatory subjects and is roughly equal to first grade in the United States. All students must complete this year before they can advance to the six main years of elementary school. Following elementary school is a secondary school, which is divided into two parts. The first three years consist of general studies, but the final two years focus on more specialized learning in an area of interest. 

The school day is usually five hours long, and children attend in shifts. Some begin early in the morning and go until about 1:00, while others begin in the early afternoon and attend until 6:00 in the evening.

Not only are the children benefiting from the increased emphasis on education, but so are their parents. In a country plagued with illiteracy, more than 1.5 million adults have been taught to read and write in the last decade. Adult literacy now stands at just over 90% and continues to rise.


The language of Venezuela is Spanish. In addition to Spanish, elementary schools teach mathematics, reading, science, and social studies, among other basic subjects. Education is a very important part of Venezuelan life under the direction of President Hugo Chavez. Although President Chavez is politically controversial, he has done much to improve the education and other social conditions of his country’s people. For example, not only do children attend class during the day but so also many parents in the evenings after work attend the same schools, where they are taught to read and write by hundreds of volunteers throughout the country.

In areas that have been difficult to access with the new emphasis on education, “educational missions” have been organized, each one named after a hero from the country’s history. These innovative missions, directed by highly motivated and skilled educators, are making steady progress against the poor education that had become so prevalent.

As money is more available for schools, and as the basics of seats, decent classrooms, working bathrooms, and the like are provided once again, more advanced tools can be added, such as computers and overhead projectors. But these are still relatively rare, especially in rural schools.

Families must buy their own books, arrange transportation, and cover basic daily expenses such as food.

Instead of being given a letter grade or a percentage, Venezuelan students are often marked out of twenty. On this scale, ten is a passing mark.

Deaf and hearing-impaired people use Venezuelan sign language. State-run schools for deaf people have been operating since 1937, and many go to college or university with a sign language interpreter.

To School

Although some private schools have their own school-owned bus systems to transport kids to and from school, kids will usually walk or ride a public bus to school, depending on the local circumstances. They will catch their bus between 6:00 and 6:30, and arrive at school around 7:00. At the end of the day, students return home the same way they came.

Venezuela Health Information

What are the health conditions in Venezuela?

Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 5.23
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 75.3%
Drinking Water Source - percent of total population unimproved 7.1%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 94.3%
Food or Waterborne Disease (s) bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 5.2%
HIV/Aids Deaths 3,800
HIV/AIDS Prevalence - note no country specific models provided
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population .9
Infant Mortality Rate - female deaths/1,000 live births 16.14
Infant Mortality Rate - male deaths/1,000 live births 23.18
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 19.75
Major Infectious Diseases - degree of risk high
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 92
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 30.3%
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population 1.94
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of total population unimproved 9.1%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 93.6%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of rural population improved 56.9%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 2.37
Underweight - percent of children under five years 2.9%
Vectorborne Disease (s) dengue fever and malaria

Venezuela Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Venezuela?

Life Expectancy at Birth 74 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - female 77 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - male 71 Years
Median Age 26 Years
Median Age - female 27 Years
Median Age - male 25 Years

Venezuela Infant Mortality - per 1,000 live births

Venezuela median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 20
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 5.23
Median Age 26 Years
Median Age - female 27 Years
Median Age - male 25 Years
Population Growth Rate 1.44%
Sex Ratio 0-14 Years - male/female 1.04
Sex Ratio 15-24 Years - male/female 1.01
Sex Ratio 25-54 Years - male/female .97
Sex Ratio 55-64 Years - male/female .98
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.05
Sex Ratio of Total Population - male/female .98
Sex Ratio Over 64 Years - male/female .79

Venezuela Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Venezuela?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical care at private hospitals and clinics in Caracas and other major cities is generally good. Public, government-funded hospitals and clinics generally provide a lower level of care and basic supplies at public facilities may be in short supply or unavailable. Cash payment is usually required in advance of the provision of medical services at private facilities, although some facilities will accept credit cards. Patients who cannot provide advance payment may be referred to a public hospital for treatment. Private companies that require the patient to be a subscriber to the service or provide cash payment in advance generally provide the most effective ambulance services. Public ambulance service is unreliable. U.S. citizens should be aware that due to the currency restrictions in effect in Venezuela they might find it difficult to receive wire transfers from abroad, whether through a bank or Western Union. Such wire transfers cannot be used reliably as a source of emergency funds. U.S. citizens traveling to Venezuela may also find it difficult to obtain certain prescription drugs, particularly name brands, and should ensure that they have sufficient quantities of all medications for the duration of their stay.

Dengue fever is common in Venezuela, as it is in other tropical and subtropical parts of the world. Also called "breakbone fever" due to the muscle and bone pain it causes, dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral illness. There is no vaccine available for prevention, and there is no specific treatment available. However, it is usually a self-limited illness. Typical symptoms are fever, pain behind the eyes, and body aches. More serious cases involving bleeding and shock do occur; the fatality rate is one or two per ten thousand cases. Seek medical care if you believe you are seriously ill, as supportive care greatly reduces the risk of dying. Avoiding mosquito bites by using insect repellant or clothing to cover skin is the best prevention.

Chagas disease also occurs in Venezuela and in other parts of South America. Chagas is a parasitic disease carried by the triatomine insect or "kissing bug" or "chipo," as it is called in Venezuela. It is difficult to treat and can cause permanent heart damage and lead to death. The Pan American Health Organization estimates that 1,500 new cases of the illness are recorded in Venezuela each year and that 789 people die from the disease every year. It is uncommon for travelers to contract Chagas disease, but those staying in older adobe and thatch buildings or sleeping out in the open are at risk. In Venezuela, Chagas disease occurs mostly in the rural states of Trujillo, Lara, Portuguesa, and Barinas, but cases have been reported throughout the entire country and sporadic outbreaks occur in Caracas. It can be transmitted either through the bite of the "chipo" or through ingestion of food contaminated with the insect's feces. Outbreaks in Caracas have been traced to non-commercially prepared fruit juices. Symptoms vary and are often undetectable, but when symptoms occur they often include fever, fatigue, body aches, diarrhea, and vomiting. Those experiencing these symptoms should seek medical care immediately. Avoiding insect bites by using insect repellant or clothing to cover skin is the best prevention.

Malaria is present throughout the states of Amazonas, Bolivar, and Delta Amacuro, and rural areas of certain municipalities within the states of Sucre and Monagas. Chemoprophylaxis with atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine is recommended in addition to insect precautions.

Leishmaniasis, another insect-borne parasitic disease, is present in some areas. Insect precautions are recommended.

Schistosomiasis, a water-borne parasite that penetrates intact skin, is present in some areas. Avoiding contact with fresh water in pools, streams, and lakes is recommended.

Venezuela Education

What is school like in Venezuela?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 6.9%
Literacy - female 93.1%
Literacy - male 93.8%
Literacy - total population 93%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write
School Life Expectancy - female 15 Years
School Life Expectancy - male 13 Years
Total School Life Expectancy - (primary to tertiary) 14 Years

Venezuela Literacy

Can people in Venezuela read?

Literacy - female 93.1%
Literacy - male 93.8%
Literacy - total population 93%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write
Predominant Language Spanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects

Venezuela Crime

Is Venezuela a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

Venezuela and its capital, Caracas, have among the highest per capita murder rates in the world. According to the VVO, a rate of 122 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in the Capital District and a rate of 100 per 100,000 inhabitants in the state of Miranda, which incorporates most of the greater Caracas metropolitan area, were recorded in 2012.As noted above, the vast majority of murders and other violent crimes go unsolved. Armed criminal gangs often operate with impunity throughout the urban areas. Poor neighborhoods that cover the hills around Caracas are extremely dangerous. These "barrios" are seldom patrolled by police and should be avoided. They are off limits to U.S. Embassy employees.Armed robberies are common in urban and tourist areas throughout Venezuela, even areas presumed safe and visited by tourists. Crimes committed against travelers are usually economic crimes, such as theft and armed robbery. Incidents occur during daylight hours as well as at night. Many criminals are armed with guns or knives and will use force. Jewelry of all sorts, even inexpensive but flashy jewelry, and expensive electronics attract the attention of thieves. Travelers are advised to leave jewelry items, including expensive-looking wristwatches, at home. Gangs of thieves will often surround their victims and use a chokehold to disable them, even in crowded market areas where there is little or no police presence. Theft from hotel rooms and safe deposit boxes is a problem, and theft of unattended valuables on the beach and from cars parked near isolated areas or on city streets is a common occurrence. A guarded garage or locked trunk is not a guarantee against theft. Pickpockets concentrate in and around crowded bus and subway stations in downtown Caracas. Subway escalators are favored sites for "bump and rob" petty thefts by roving bands of young criminals. Many of these criminals are well dressed to allay suspicion and to blend in with crowds using the subways during rush hour. Travelers should not display money or valuables.

Kidnappings: Kidnappings, including "express kidnappings" in which victims are seized in an attempt to get quick cash in exchange for their release, are a serious problem. One common practice is for kidnappers to follow potential victims into building garages and kidnap them at gunpoint, although the majority of kidnappings occur while traveling in vehicles. Kidnappings of U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals from homes, hotels, unauthorized taxis and the airport terminal do occur, and are more frequently being reported to the embassy. As a recent example, in March 2012, a U.S. citizen, currently residing in Caracas was traveling home in his vehicle when he was overtaken and then blocked by a single vehicle. Several armed men exited the blocking vehicle and forced the victim out of his car and into a separate vehicle. The kidnappers held the victim while driving throughout Caracas conducting other kidnappings and robberies. The victim was eventually released unharmed.“Virtual kidnappings,” in which scam surveys are conducted to collect contact information on minors, which is then used to call parents for ransoms without the children being taken, and “inside kidnappings,” in which domestic employees are being paid large sums of money for keys and information in order to enter and kidnap children for ransom, have also been reported to the embassy. U.S. citizens should be alert to their surroundings and take necessary precautions.

The Embassy also has received reports of robberies during nighttime and early morning hours on the highways around and leading to Caracas. Reports have specifically involved cars being forced off the La Guaira highway leading from Caracas to the Maiquetía International Airport, and the "Regional del Centro" highway leading from Caracas to Maracay/Valencia. Once the victims are stopped on the side of the road they are robbed. The Embassy recommends avoiding driving at night and in the early morning when possible.

Police responsiveness and effectiveness in Venezuela vary drastically but generally do not meet U.S. expectations. U.S. travelers have reported robberies and other crimes committed against them by individuals wearing uniforms and purporting to be police officers or National Guard members. Police investigations into kidnappings have revealed that police officers have been involved, and corruption within police forces is a concern. U.S. citizens are encouraged to stay away from police activity, as they may be handling an investigation of a crime.

The Embassy is aware of several instances where women lured U.S. men to Venezuela after establishing “relationships” with them over the Internet. Some of these men were robbed shortly after they arrived in Venezuela. Others were recruited to act as narcotics couriers or “drug mules.” In three instances, the U.S. citizens were arrested at the airport with narcotics in their possession and served extended jail terms in Venezuela.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, you may be breaking local Venezuelan law, too.

Incidents of piracy off the coast of Venezuela remain a concern. While the majority of reports involve local fisherman, foreigners have been targeted in previous years. Some of these attacks have been especially violent, including the murder of a U.S. citizen on his boat in November 2008 and the killing of a French yachter in September 2008. Previous violent attacks include the severe beating of a U.S. citizen in 2002, the fatal shooting of an Italian citizen in January 2004, and a machete attack on a U.S. citizen in 2005. U.S. citizen yachters should note that anchoring off shore is not considered safe. Marinas, including those in Puerto la Cruz and Margarita Island (Porlamar), provide only minimal security, and U.S. citizens should exercise a heightened level of caution in Venezuelan waters. Public safety announcements, directives and specific information concerning piracy can be found at the U.S. Coast Guard Homeport website. Boaters may also consult the U.S. Coast Guard website for additional information on sailing in Venezuela.

In addition to security concerns, yachters should be aware of registration and other required permits in order to anchor in Venezuelan marinas. U.S. citizens docking in Venezuela are strongly encouraged to check with local authorities regarding the proper documentation for their vessels and themselves.

Furthermore, rules governing the sale of fuel to foreign sailors in Venezuela vary by state. U.S. citizen yachters should inquire about specific state procedures prior to attempting to purchase fuel in any given location.

Private aircraft companies and operators are strongly encouraged to consult with the Venezuelan Civil Aeronautical National Institute regarding current Venezuelan laws and regulations, such as those pertaining to tail markings, registrations, and other required authorizations. Failure to comply with national or local requirements can result in arrest and criminal charges, as well as property seizures.

Venezuela Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Venezuela, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. For example, in Venezuela it is illegal to take pictures of sensitive installations to include the presidential palace, military bases, government buildings, and airports. Just as in the United States, driving under the influence can land you immediately in jail. Criminal penalties will vary however. There are also acts that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. Drug trafficking is a serious problem in Venezuela and treated as such by Venezuelan authorities. Convicted traffickers receive lengthy prison sentences, usually eight to ten years. If you do something illegal in Venezuela, your U.S. passport won’t help. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.

Security within Venezuela’s prisons is lax to nonexistent. Prison populations are largely under the control of prison gangs with little or no interference from prison authorities. Drugs and weapons are freely available, and prison authorities generally do not provide even basic protections and amenities, including food, so individual prisoners must deal with gang leaders through payments or other mechanisms just to survive. Additionally, the Embassy has received reports from U.S. citizens incarcerated in Venezuelan prisons claiming to have been beaten as well as having had their medication withheld.

Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Venezuela, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the nearest U.S. embassy of your arrest and to have communications from you forwarded to the nearest U.S. embassy.

Consular Access: Although Venezuela is a signatory to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the Venezuelan government sometimes fails to notify the U.S. Embassy when U.S. citizens are arrested, and/or delays or denies consular access to arrestees. Therefore, U.S. citizens cannot assume a consular officer will visit them within 24-72 hours of an arrest.

Venezuela Population Comparison

All Countries
Afghanistan Akrotiri Albania Algeria American Samoa Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory British Virgin Islands Brunei Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burma Burundi Cabo Verde Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Clipperton Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Cook Islands Coral Sea Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curacao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Dhekelia Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Eswatini Ethiopia Falkland Islands Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia Gabon Gambia, The Gaza Strip Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guam Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Holy See Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Jan Mayen Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, North Korea, South Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macau Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Marshall Islands Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Micronesia Moldova Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island North Macedonia Northern Mariana Islands Norway Oman Pakistan Palau Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Islands Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Reunion Romania Russia Rwanda Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Sudan, South Suriname Svalbard Sweden Switzerland Syria Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States (US) Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela Vietnam Virgin Islands Wake Island Wallis and Futuna West Bank Western Sahara World Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe