Dominica : Society

Society

Population density (per sq. km): 
96
Life expectancy: 
76 years (est.)
Primary enrolment: 
92% (2010)
Population: 

72,000 (2012); 67 per cent of people live in urban areas; growth 0.0 per cent p.a. 1990–2012, due mainly to the emigration of young people; birth rate 16 per 1,000 people (est. 26 in 1970); life expectancy 76 years (est.)

The population is mostly of African and mixed African/European descent, with European, Syrian and Carib (2.9 per cent in 2001 census) minorities. There is a Carib reserve on part of the east of the island, referred to as the Carib Territory.

Language: 

The official language is English; a French-based Creole is spoken by most of the population.

Religion: 

Mainly Christians (Roman Catholics 61 per cent, Seventh Day Adventists six per cent, Pentecostals six per cent, Baptists four per cent, Methodists four per cent; 2001 census).

Health: 

Public spending on health was four per cent of GDP in 2012. The health system operates through local clinics, larger health centres, a polyclinic in Roseau, and the national referral hospital, the Princess Margaret Hospital. There is a smaller hospital at Portsmouth, and cottage hospitals at Marigot and Grand Bay. Infant mortality was ten per 1,000 live births in 2013.

Education: 

Public spending on education was four per cent of GDP in 2010. There are 12 years of compulsory education starting at the age of five. Primary school comprises seven years and secondary five. Some 91 per cent of pupils complete primary school (2010). The school year starts in September.

Further education is provided at a teacher-training college; a nursing school; and at the regional University of the West Indies, which has a branch in Dominica and main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. The Dominica State College, a publicly funded institution, offers programmes leading to GCE A-Level, certificates, and associate degrees; and a large and diverse programme of continuing education for mature students.

Media: 

The Chronicle (founded in 1909), The Sun, The Times and The Tropical Star are all weekly.

The Dominica Broadcasting Corporation provides a public radio service, competing with several commercial or faith stations. There is no national TV service on the island but a private cable network covers part of the country.

Communications: 

Country code 1 767; internet domain ‘.dm’. The main post office is in Roseau.

For every 1,000 people there are 238 landlines, 1,300 mobile phone subscriptions and 590 internet users (2013).

Public holidays: 

New Year’s Day, Labour Day (first Monday in May), August Monday (first Monday in August), National Day (3 November), Community Service Day (4 November), Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Religious festivals whose dates vary from year to year include Carnival (two days in February/March), Good Friday, Easter Monday and Whit Monday.