To understand the cost of living in Cuba, we must first understand that Cuba has two different currencies.  That really seems odd, doesn’t it?  The Cuban peso (CUP), and the Cuban convertible peso (CUC) are both legal currencies in Cuba.  The CUC is roughly the equivalent of one U.S. dollar, and one of those U.S. dollars can buy up to 25 CUP.   

The international poverty line is $1.90 per day.  The average Cuban is given a state monthly salary of $20 per month, which is about $0.71 per day.  However, the Cubans receive free healthcare and free education.  They also receive food coupons, which provide for the basic dietary essentials like rice, beans, sugar, matches, rum, and other foods.  Pork is the main source of protein in Cuba and it can be bought for as little as $0.03 per pound.  

Currently Cuba claims to have a near-zero percent of homelessness.  This is accredited to the local custom of having high levels of housing subsidies from the government, as well as the cultural tradition of multi-family homes.  This social custom provides an official address and thus minimizes technical homeless rates.  However, the quality of Cuban housing can often be below ideal living standards and is often unsafe.   

Recent studies have shown that secondary incomes show the actual earnings of Cubans to be much higher than reported, with only 27 percent of Cubans in Havana earning less than $50 per month;  34 percent earning between $50 and $100 per month; 20 percent earning $101-$200; and 12 percent earning $201-$500 per month.  Almost 4 percent earn over $500, including 1.5 percent who claim to make over $1,000 per month.   

One of the biggest expenditures for Cubans is transportation.  The local city bus costs $0.02;  collective taxis cost more than $0.40.  In outside major cities like Havana, transportation skyrockets, so in general Cubans do very little traveling outside of their respective cities or towns. 

In general, it seems difficult to get consistent information about life in Cuba.  I thank God that I was born in the U.S.A. 

God bless you all -- RHM