Cape Verde Islands

Cape Verde - Population

The Cape Verde Islands have about 450,000 inhabitants. 236,000 of these live on the main island Santiago. That the Cape Verdian people are a mixture of many different ethnic groups can be explained from the course of history. In the past the colonial government had tried again and again to avoid the formation of a mixed population. Nevertheless there were always big landowners with influence, organs of the state and even priests in high positions who lived together with female slaves and in this way showed their opposition and at the same time created a creole culture. Also the Jesuits committed themselves strongly to the concept of equality, for example by opening schools for free people and slaves, for white and coloured people at the same time. They also allowed the slaves to attend the masses.
Even today you can see the genetic mixture resulting from the migration of the people for many centuries when looking at some persons: more than once you meet people with dark skin, blond hair and blue eyes or children with fair skin and black hair. Racist discrimination is unknown to the Capeverdean people.

Microcosmos family
On the Cape Verde Islands we find the peculiarity of men and women living together without being officially married, and this has existed for several centuries. Men and women have always had children from different relationships. There are some special ways of living together: the most common way is living together without a marriage certificate in the so called “união de facto” which is equated by law to marriage after three years of living together. Many women have a relationship with the “pai de visita”, that means: visiting father. In this kind of relationship the women or mothers, who are sometimes very young, still live with their parents or alone and their partner visits them regularly and also stays at night. This “visit-relationship” is very much accepted. A particular form of the visit-relationship is the “tio-relationship” in which the man is usually many years older than the woman. Even if you think that this kind of relationship nears prostitution, it is a very much acknowledged and socially respected form of life. It sometimes happens that a man lives in a “união de facto” and at the same time is “pai de visita” somewhere else. However there are no classical polygamous forms of relationship under one roof. People usually marry rather late on the Cape Verde Islands and stay relatively long with their parents which is due to the difficult economical conditions.

Social position of women
In poor as in rich families men and women are used to working regularly. The equality of men and women is established in the constitution.

Here are some figures:

  • 44 % of the inhabitants of the Cape Verde Islands are under 15 years old. The average age was 17.7 years in 2000. The reason for this is that during the last famine many children and older people died and also the generation of the 1940ies decided to emigrate.
  • A household on the Cape Verde Islands usually has 4 children; in rich families they have two and in poorer families you find several children. Frequently children change their home inside the extended family. This shows that there are economical difficulties again and again but also the existence of a social coherence inside the families.
  • 54 % of the adults are single, 24 % live in a “união de facto”, 16 % are married and 3 % are divorced.
  • Life expectancy for men is of 65.8 years and for women of 71.6 years at present
  • 54 % of the Capeverdeans live in towns today

There are plenty of places that one can visit to experience a relaxing time off. Some go for cruises while others opt to have a relaxing time at the beach. If you are a person who just loves spending time under the sun, feeling the cool breeze and admiring the crystal clear beach water, then you will surely find this website helpful. Visit Cape Verde Islands and experience a relaxing and rejuvenating time off with the people you love the most.