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There is a longtime Chinese community, and a small Hindu community lives in the capital, Panama City.
The largest demographic group is the interioranos ("interior people"), who are classified as "Hispano-Indians." This group is largely mestizo (mixed European and native American), and its members consider themselves the "real Panamanians." Some interioranos grade imperceptibly into an acculturated native American population known pejoratively as cholos, who refer to themselves as naturales ("natives").
The Pacific coastline, with the Azuero Peninsula jutting south to define the Gulf of Panama, is longer than the Atlantic coastline.
The area of the country is 25,590 square miles (74,046 square kilometers). In 2000, Panama had approximately 2.816 million inhabitants, 700,000 of whom lived in Panama City, with another 300,000 in the immediate suburbs.
People of African descent account for 15 percent of the population.
These "Afro-colonials" descend from slaves who were imported in colonial times. The "Afro-Antillean" group descends from Caribbean residents who came to work on the construction of the Panama canal.
Together, these two groups constitute 70 percent of the population.
There are four officially recognized Indian ethnic groups (the Kuna, Guaymi or Ngawbe, Embera, and Waunan), which number fewer than 200,000.