Cubans are both much poorer and much richer at the same time than we are as Americans. They enjoy absolutely free, very high quality healthcare and education, They also have their housing provided for them though there are problems and frustrations inherent in the Cuban government's regulation of this system but, this is not the blog entry to talk about that.
Cubans also receive some food subsidy so that there is almost no expense involved with meeting their most basic needs but, if you work for the government in Cuba, and almost every Cuban still does, then you are earning on average a little less than US$20 per month which does not add up to much disposable income.
Historically only a few privileged professions enjoyed any significant disposable income. These include:
- military officials
- state company bosses
- tourism workers
But, with the easing of regulations on the economy (or the lessening of the grip on power that the revolutionary government can exert, depending on who you are asking) more and more Cubans have access to the kind of opportunities a freer market space is bringing.