Panama is truly a melting pot of races; the population of the country is 2.8 million people: Spanish descendants, blacks, Indians, immigrants from North America, Europe, Asia, East India and other countries. Nearly 49% of the population lives in urban areas. Panama City has an estimated population of 825,300.
The culture, customs, and language of the Panamanians are predominantly Caribbean and Spanish. Ethnically, the majority of the population is mestizo or mixed Spanish, Chinese, Amerindian, and African descent. Spanish is the official and dominant language; English is also recognized as an official language and is spoken widely on the Caribbean coast and by many in business and professional fields. More than half the population lives in the Panama City and Colon metropolitan corridor.
The overwhelming majority of Panamanians are Roman Catholic, accounting for almost 80% of the population. Although the Constitution recognises Catholicism as the religion of the great majority, Panama has no official religion. Minority religions in Panama include Protestantism, Islam, the Bah’ Faith, Buddhism, Greek Orthodox, Judaism, and Hinduism. Within Latin America, Panama has one of the largest Jewish communities in proportion to its population, surpassed only by Uruguay and Argentina. Panama’s communities of Muslims, East Asians, and South Asians, are also among the largest.
Panama City hosts a Bah’ House of Worship, one of only eight in the world. Completed in 1972, it is perched on a high hill facing the Canal, and is constructed of local mud laid in a pattern reminiscent of Native American fabric designs.
Panama, because of its historical reliance on commerce, is above all a melting pot. This is shown, for instance, by its considerable population of Chinese origin . Many Chinese immigrated to Panama to help build the Panama Railroad.
There are 5 indigenous groups in Panama: Kunas in the San Blas Islands on the Caribbean; Chocoe (divided linguistically into 2 groups-Embera & Wounaan) in the province of Darien; Guaymies (Ngobe Bugle) in the provinces of Chiriqui, Bocas del Toro and Veraguas; and Teribes & Bokotas (Buglere) in Bocas del Toro province.