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Saint Kitts & Nevis - People

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 52,000 (July 2015 estimate). The long trend of labor emigration from St. Kitts and Nevis was tied to its economic and social development. Both men and women emigrated with the understanding that remittances to family members at home were expected of them for the entire time they were abroad. Some researchers have suggested that these remittances accounted for a greater percentage of disposable income than wages and salaries earned at home.

In the 1980s, more than 90 percent of Kittitians were black; most could trace their heritage to the African slave trade that was responsible for populating much of the Eastern Caribbean in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. There was, however, a small group of white inhabitants who dominated the economy and were prominently represented in the merchant, banking, and other business professions. The remainder of the population consisted of a small group of mulattoes.

According to the 2011 census, 17 percent of the population was Anglican; 16 percent Methodist; 11 percent Pentecostal; 7 percent Church of God; 6 percent Roman Catholic; 5 percent each Baptist, Moravian, Seventh day Adventist, and Wesleyan Holiness; 4 percent other; 2 percent each Brethren, evangelical, and Hindu; 1 percent each Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslim, and Rastafarian; and less than 1 percent each Bahai, Presbyterian, and Salvation Army. Nine percent claimed no religion.

Rastafarians stated they continued to face discrimination, including cases in which public and private school officials refused to enroll Rastafarian children because of their belief against vaccinating their children. They stated this was in violation of national laws. The Ministry of Health stated school policies do not allow for any kind of discrimination and only children who have not received required immunizations are denied entry into school.

Rastafarians faced discrimination in observing religious holidays. Government-run community development centers allow Christian groups to perform tree lighting ceremonies for Christmas at no charge, but Rastafari groups wishing to celebrate Kwanzaa are charged 400 East Caribbean dollars ($148). Prisoners were forced to cut their hair and the government did not accommodate vegetarian diets in prison. Rastafarian representatives also stated the government prohibited the use of marijuana, which they described as integral to their religious rituals.

St. Kitts and Nevis has a labor force of about 25,000 persons, with a literacy rate of 98 percent. The country’s technical and training needs are met largely by local colleges, which offer courses in technical and vocational studies. There is also a large pool of professionals to draw from in fields such as law, medicine, business information technology and accounting. Many of the professionals in St. Kitts and Nevis trained in the United States, Canada, the wider Caribbean, and the United Kingdom, where many gained work experience before returning to St. Kitts and Nevis.

The use of information and communications technology increased during the period. The number of people with cell phones rose from 128.49 per 100 population in 2006 to 161.44 in 2010. Internet users increased from 28.13 per 100 population in 2006 to 32.87 in 2009. At the same time, the number of people with telephone landlines decreased from 41.46 per 100 in 2006 to 39.31 in 2010.

The population grew steadily over 2001–2010. In 2001 it numbered 46,000; projections for 2010 were 52,000. Ministry of Health unpublished documents indicated that in 2006–2010, the average number of live births per year was 693, a decline of 5.7% from 736 in 2001–2005. There was minimal change in the number of live births between 2006 (662) and 2010 (656). However, the crude birth rate increased during the period, rising from 13.2 per 1,000 population in 2006 to 14.4 in 2009, with a low of 12.6 in 2010. The crude death rate was 7.5 per 1,000 population in 2006 and 7.0 in both 2007 and 2008. In 2009, the rate declined to 6.8, but in 2010 it returned to the 2006 level of 7.5. Life expectancy was 74.4 years in 2010 (males, 72; females, 76.8). That figure compares favorably with the 2006 figure of 73 years. The total fertility rate declined from 2.3 children per woman in 2009 to 1.85 in 2010.

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Page last modified: 19-07-2017 18:55:28 ZULU