St Kitts and Nevis : Society

Society

Population density (per sq. km): 
206
Life expectancy: 
75 years (est.)
Primary enrolment: 
81% (2012)
Population: 

54,000 (2013); some 12,000 on Nevis; 32 per cent of people live in urban areas; growth 1.2 per cent p.a. 1990–2013; birth rate 14 per 1,000 people (est. 26 in 1970); life expectancy 75 years (est.)

The population is mainly of mixed African and European descent, with a UK-descended minority.

Language: 

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

Religion: 

Mainly Christians (Anglicans, Methodists, Roman Catholics, Moravians and others).

Health: 

Public spending on health was two per cent of GDP in 2012. There are general hospitals at Basseterre in St Kitts and Charlestown in Nevis, and many health clinics. Some 98 per cent of the population uses an improved drinking water source (2012). Infant mortality was eight per 1,000 live births in 2013.

Education: 

There are 12 years of compulsory education starting at the age of five, offered by state, private and church schools. Primary school comprises seven years and secondary five, with cycles of three and two years. Some 74 per cent of pupils complete primary school (2009). The school year starts in September.

St Kitts and Nevis participates 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 2.10:1 (2008).

Media: 

The main political parties publish newspapers. Newspapers include Sun St Kitts/Nevis (daily), The Democrat (weekly of People’s Action Movement), The Labour Spokesman (bi-weekly of St Kitts- Nevis Trades and Labour Union), and St Kitts and Nevis Observer (weekly).

The government provides national commercial radio and TV services, ZIZ Radio and ZIZ Television; and there are several private radio stations, and private TV channels are available via cable.

Communications: 

Country code 1 869; internet domain ‘.kn’. Mobile phone coverage extends over most of both islands. There are internet cafés in the main towns and a general post office on both St Kitts (located in Basseterre) and Nevis (in Charlestown).

For every 1,000 people there are 354 landlines, 1,421 mobile phone subscriptions and 800 internet users (2013).

Public holidays: 

New Year/Carnival (two/three days), Labour Day (first Monday in May), August Monday (first Monday in August), August Tuesday (first Tuesday in August), National Heroes’ Day (16 September), Independence Day (19 September), Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Carnival begins on 24 December and ends on 2 January.

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