Cozumel’s Population, 1549 to 2020

Copyright 2017, Ric Hajovsky

I often hear stories about how small the island’s population was at various times in the past. Many of these anecdotal statements conflict with each other. Being of an inquisitive bent, I decided to look into the matter and the list below is the result of my investigations. I used the Spanish and Mexican governments’ Cozumel census data to put it together.

In 1549, the island had 220 “tribute-paying” Indians.

In 1552, the combined population of adult men and women in San Miguel and Cedral was 361.

In 1570, the total Cozumel population was 446.

1609 there were 1,336 adults living in the “parroquia” of Cozumel (which included the villages on the adjacent coast)

1639 there were 832 adults living in the “parroquia” of Cozumel (which included the villages on the adjacent coast.)

In 1850 Cozumel had 307 adults living on it (145 women and 162 men.)

In 1862 Cozumel had 702 adults living on it. (Isla Mujeres had 539 and Holbox had 34. Of the total population of these three islands, only 88 said they could read and write.)

In 1900, the island of Cozumel had 971 inhabitants.

In 1910, the year the clock tower was built, the town of San Miguel had 822 inhabitants. There were more people living on the island outside of town on ranchos and in Cedral.

In 1921, San Miguel had 1,188 adults (609 men and 579 adult women.) The lighthouse at Punta Molas had 12 men and 10 women living near it, and the lighthouse at Celarain had 6 men and 12 women living there. (For a comparison, Playa del Carmen only had 33 men and 27 women living in it at the time, while Isla Mujeres had 256 men and 229 women.) In 1922, Cedral had 74 inhabitants; 40 men and 34 women.

In 1930, the Mexican Federal Census counted 2,199 adults living on Cozumel.

In 1950, the Mexican Federal Census counted 4,282 adults living on Cozumel.

In 1960, the Mexican Federal Census counted 7,562 adults living on Cozumel.

In 1970, the Mexican Federal Census counted 12,622 adults living on Cozumel.

In 1980, the Mexican Federal Census counted 23,270 adults living on Cozumel.

By 2020, the Mexican Federal Census counted 88,626 adults living on Cozumel.