About 67 percent of the population of Venezuela is made up of mestizos (people of mixed European and Native American ancestry), and 21 percent is of European descent. The remainder is predominantly black, and about 2 percent of the total population is unmixed Native American. The society is 88 percent urban. Spanish is the official language of the country. The principal religion is Roman Catholicism. Venezuelan society is marked by a striking contrast between rich and poor.
In Caracas government-distributed oil wealth has created impressive buildings and a class of millionaires and highly paid technicians whose standard of living is on a par with that of the wealthy in any Western country. But in the hills surrounding Caracas, unskilled laborers live in squalor in shantytowns. Similarly, in the countryside a small number of landowners live in mansions, while undernourished farmworkers live in rudimentary dwellings.
The Venezuelan population is 31,980,843 (2018 estimate), giving the country an overall population density of 30 persons per sq km (79 per sq mi). The overwhelming majority of the population lives in the northern highlands or coastal regions. Only a small percentage inhabits the huge area (nearly 50 percent of the total land area) south of the Orinoco River.
Venezuela is highly urbanized. Caracas (population, 2007, 2,085,488) is the capital as well as the financial, cultural, and commercial center of Venezuela.
Located in a beautiful valley in the coastal highlands, Caracas is a city in which modern skyscrapers and apartment houses contrast sharply with elegant old colonial buildings and with the slum dwellings of recent migrants from the countryside who have come to the city seeking employment. The nearby town of La Guaira serves as the seaport for Caracas. Maracaibo (population, 2008 estimate, 1,450,665), the country’s second largest city, is located on the shores of Lake Maracaibo.
Once a collection of crude huts built on stilts over water, Maracaibo developed into a modern city during the 20th century, largely because of its role as a major center of the petroleum industry. Valencia (population, 2008, 839,926), in the coastal highlands, is one of the country’s main manufacturing centers. Barquisimeto (1,085,483), in the Andes, is the hub of several important highways as well as a major railroad terminal. Encarta"Venezuela" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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