Caribbean Islands Table of Contents

The total estimated population of the Cayman Islands in 1985 was 20,000, growing at an annual rate of 3.5 percent. Ninety percent of the population lived on Grand Cayman; most of the remainder lived on Cayman Brac. Little Cayman had very few inhabitants, but the construction of tourist facilities there was increasingly attracting workers and other residents. Immigrant workers comprised about a third of the total population on the islands and held 20 percent of the jobs.

The population density per square kilometer in 1985 was moderate at 75.8. In 1984 the average life expectancy at birth stood at seventy years. In 1984 the birth rate was moderately high by world standards at 21.4 per 1,000; infant mortality stood at 5.9 per 1,000 births. Twenty-nine percent of the population was under the age of fifteen. The people of the Cayman Islands had varying ethnic backgrounds: 25 percent were black; 20 percent, white; and 55 percent, mulatto.

The Turks and Caicos had a 1985 population of approximately 8,600, growing at an annual rate of 3.3 percent. The population continued to fluctuate, however, because of a high birth rate and the constant movement of young men in search of work between the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas. Blacks made up 90 percent of the total; the remainder were mulatto or white.

Although the Turks and Caicos were still relatively undeveloped in the mid-1980s, some illegal immigrant workers, mostly Haitians and Dominicans, arrived in the islands to perform low-wage hotel jobs spurned by local citizens. Although their labor contributed to the tourism industry, in 1985 the illegals became such a burden on the islands' already-overstretched funds for health and welfare that the government made its first forced deportation of Haitians.

Population density in the Turks and Caicos Islands remained very low, at sixteen persons per square kilometer. In 1982 the birth rate was a moderately high 25.5 per 1,000; infant mortality stood at 24 per 1,000 births. In 1985 the average life expectancy at birth was 70.2 years.

The people of both territories were predominantly Protestant. In the mid-1980s, 35 percent of the Caymanians were Presbyterian; 25 percent belonged to the Church of God; and 40 percent belonged to other Christian churches. Approximately 42 percent of the citizens of the Turks and Caicos Islands were Baptist; 19 percent, Methodist; 17 percent, Anglican; and 22 percent, members of other Christian churches.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress