Aruba is a small island located nearly 1,600 kilometers west of the Lesser Antilles and 27 kilometers north of Venezuela. Along with Bonaire and Curacao, it forms the ABC islands. Aruba is one of 4 constituent countries that create the Kingdom of the Netherlands, thus its citizens are Dutch.
The largest city and capital is Oranjestad, located near the western end of the island. Often called "Playa," it has a population estimated at 30,000.
Aruba's population is believed to be 80% mixed Black/White/Caribbean Amerindian and 20% other ethnicities. Aruba has a very strong Arawak heritage compared to other Caribbean islands. The Arawak are a group of people indigenous to the Caribbean and are believed to be the natives Christopher Columbus encountered in 1492. While there are no full-blooded aboriginals remaining, the features of many islanders shows their heritage. Most of the population is descended from the Arawak, as well as Spanish, Italian, Dutch, French, British, Portuguese and African ancestors.
Many people in Aruba are descended from Venezuelan immigrants due to the island's close proximity to the country, and many Venezuelans own vacation homes on the island. The majority (81%) of Arubans are Roman Catholic.
Aruba has one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean area with a low unemployment rate and well-paying jobs, which means immigration to the area has been so strong the country had to pass legislation to limit immigration. Still, Aruba is a small country and its population cannot exceed a certain level.