The population, according to a United Nations estimate, reached 23,242. 000 residents in 1998 ; the average annual growth rate is estimated at around 25%. Infant mortality is 21%. The urbanization rate, definitely the highest in Latin America (87 %), is increasing further (with an average annual positive variation of around 2.5 %), despite the government’s attempts to favor the demographic shift towards southern areas. rural areas of recent agricultural development. About 80 % of the population occupies the coastal strip, the immediate hinterland and the pre-Andean zone (Cordillera de Mérida).
The greater attraction and demographic and economic weight is the area that gravitates around the capital, Caracas (3.6728 million residents In 1996): this is a highly industrialized area, which also includes Maracay (450. 000 residents) and Valencia (over 1,000,000 residents), an important economic and cultural center, pole of a dynamic agricultural and industrial district. The entire central metropolitan region, characterized by a recent development, sometimes chaotic and with the presence of tertiary concentration phenomena similar to downtowns US, then extends along the coast, where there are major ports, including Puerto Cabello (150. 000ab.), now conurbated with Valencia, and La Guaira, the Caracas airport; it tends to incorporate, to O, also Barquisimeto (650. 000 residents). More attractive is Maracaibo (1. 350. 000 residents), The second largest city in Venezuela, the main oil port on the homonymous lagoon and industrial center of the western part of the country. AE highlights the urbanized coastal axis Barcelona – Puerto la Cruz – Cumana, developed with the exploitation of oil reserves nearby, and, inland, Ciudad Guayana (550. 000ab.), a center of the Venezuelan steel industry founded on the Orinoco in the 1960s to exploit iron ore deposits. These dynamic and urbanized regions are contrasted by the southern belt, with still sparsely populated and exploited areas, represented by the savannahs (llanos), potentially arable, and by the Amazon region, rich in mineral and forest resources. For Venezuela 2014, please check thesciencetutor.org.
The proceeds from the oil sector have created the conditions for a political and socio-economic transformation, essentially based on the industrialization of the country, which has stimulated the general improvement of living conditions and the strengthening of territorial infrastructures. However, this process has been heavily influenced by fluctuations in the prices of the oil sector, with serious repercussions on an economy heavily dependent on it. The 1990s were characterized by a recessionary trend, with high inflation rates and a decrease in per capita income, which however remains quite high for a South American country (3,500 dollars in 1998, in fifth place after Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil). Venezuela is the sixth largest oil producer in the world (171.8 million tons in 1998), and a substantial part of the crude oil is processed in local refineries; the products are intended for export, mostly to the United States. Other resources of the subsoil are iron ores, a strong export voice, gold, diamonds, bauxite and coal, also destined for local industry, which contribute to the partial diversification of economic structures, as already mentioned still substantially linked to oil.
Agriculture occupies 13, 2 % of the working population (1995), and Venezuela, formerly self-sufficient in agricultural and food plan, is now forced to import just under a third of the domestic needs. The crops destined for export remain coffee, grown on the temperate slopes of the Andes, cocoa, on the slopes overlooking the Antillean Sea, and sugar cane; sisal, cotton and tobacco plantations were also widespread. The livestock sector, consisting mainly of cattle breeding in the savannah areas (15.4 million head in 1998), would need to be modernized and rationalized, while forest resources are still weakly exploited and, at the same time, we are witnessing intense deforestation in favor of urbanization, the construction of infrastructures and the expansion of pastures. The food industry and the tobacco processing industry, as well as the textile sector, boast a well-established tradition. The major trading partners are the United States, followed at a considerable distance by neighboring Colombia, Canada, the main countries of the European Union, Brazil and Argentina.
The prospects in the production sector are based above all on the exploitation of potential resources that the country has not yet been able to fully exploit. According to data from the United Nations Environmental Program, the V has over a hundred officially protected areas, which cover 30 % of the land area (the area covered by forest, which was in 1970 the 41 % of the total, in 1990 it had dropped to 35 % and in 1996 to 32 %). The exploitation of the Amazon region , however, it opens up worrying scenarios on the environmental health of vast areas, where the equatorial forest could play the role of a precious tourist attraction, already consolidated for the Caribbean coasts and the Andean reliefs.