Saint Lucia : Society

Society

Population density (per sq. km): 
295
Life expectancy: 
75 years
Primary enrolment: 
82%
Population: 

182,000 (2013); 18 per cent of people live in urban areas; growth 1.2 per cent p.a. 1990–2013; birth rate 15 per 1,000 people (41 in 1970); life expectancy 75 years (64 in 1970).

Saint Lucia’s population is mostly of mixed African and European descent.

Language: 

 English is the official language; a French-based Creole is widely spoken.

Religion: 

Mainly Christians (Roman Catholics 62 per cent, Seventh Day Adventists ten per cent, Pentecostals nine per cent, Anglicans two per cent); Rastafarians two per cent (2010 census).

Health: 

Public spending on health was five per cent of GDP in 2012. The Victoria Hospital and the new Tapion Hospital provide a range of medical treatment, and the Golden Hope Hospital caters for psychiatric cases. There are cottage hospitals at Vieux Fort, Dennery and Soufrière, and more than 20 health centres. Nurses are trained in the nursing department of the Community College. Some 94 per cent of the population uses an improved drinking water source and 65 per cent have access to adequate sanitation facilities (2012). Infant mortality was 13 per 1,000 live births in 2013.

Education: 

Public spending on education was four per cent of GDP in 2012. There are ten years of compulsory education starting at the age of five. Primary school comprises seven years and secondary five, with cycles of three and two years. Some 92 per cent of pupils complete primary school (2010). The school year starts in September.

The Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, at Castries, offers a diverse range of courses – including associate degree, diploma and certificate courses – and 89 per cent of its students are female (2011). Saint Lucia shares in the regional University of the West Indies, which has its main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. The female–male ratio for gross enrolment in tertiary education is 1.70:1 (2011).

Media: 

There are no daily newspapers in Saint Lucia. The main newspapers are The Star and The Voice (both three times weekly); and The Crusader, The Mirror and The Vanguard (all weekly).

Saint Lucia’s broadcast media are mostly privately owned. Only the radio network, Radio Saint Lucia, is state-owned.

Some 86 per cent of households have TV sets (2010).

Communications: 

Country code 1 758; internet domain ‘.lc’. Phonecard telephone booths, internet cafés and post offices are located throughout the island.

For every 1,000 people there are 184 landlines, 1,163 mobile phone subscriptions and 352 internet users (2013).

Public holidays: 

New Year (two days), Independence Day (22 February), Labour Day (1 May), Carnival (two days in July), Emancipation Day (early August), Thanksgiving Day (early October), Saint Lucia Day (13 December), Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Religious and other festivals whose dates vary from year to year include Good Friday, Easter Monday, Whit Monday and Corpus Christi.