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   Information Center Aruba
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People, Language & Religion
People Aruba's population is estimated to be 80% mestizo and 20% other ethnicities. The Arawak heritage is stronger on Aruba than on most Caribbean islands. Although no full-blooded Aboriginals remain, the features of the islanders clearly indicate their genetic Arawak heritage. Most of the population is descended mostly from Arawak, and to a lesser extent Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and a few French, Portuguese, British and African ancestors. Recently there has been substantial immigration to the island from neighbouring American and Caribbean nations, possibly attracted by the higher paid jobs. In 2007, new immigration laws were introduced to help control the growth of the population by restricting foreign workers to a maximum of three years residency on the island. The demographics of Aruba, far more than neighbouring Curaçao and Bonaire, has been impacted by its proximity to Venezuela. Much of Aruba's families are present by way of Venezuela and there is a seasonal increase of Venezuelans living in second homes. Language The official language of Aruba is Dutch. The local language used by its inhabitants is 'Papiamento' and is a language that has been evolving through the centuries and absorbed many words from other languages like Dutch, English, French, and most importantly, from Portuguese and Spanish. However, like many islands in the region, Spanish is also often spoken. English has historical connections (with the British Empire) and is known by many; English usage has also grown due to tourism. Other common languages spoken based on the size of their community are Portuguese, Chinese, German and French. Islanders can often speak four or more languages. Religion 86% of the population is Roman Catholic but church attendance is much lower. Dutch Reformed-Lutheran Protestantism, the religion of the traditional elite, is embraced by less than 3% of the population. 20th century migration led to the appearance of smaller groups such as Methodists, Anglicans, Evangelists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, Muslims and Confucianists. The number of and participation in religious sects and movements are increasing.




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