Trinidad and Tobago : Society

Society

Population density (per sq. km): 
262
Life expectancy: 
70 years
Primary enrolment: 
95% (2010)
Population: 

1,341,000 (2013); some 54,000 on Tobago; nine per cent of people live in urban areas; growth 0.4 per cent p.a. 1990–2013; birth rate 14 per 1,000 people (27 in 1970); life expectancy 70 years (66 in 1970).

The population is of about 40 per cent Indian, 38 per cent African and 21 per cent mixed descent, with smaller numbers of people of European, Latin American and Chinese descent (2000 census).

Language: 

English is the official and national language; English-, French- and Spanish-based Creoles, Indian languages including Hindi and Chinese dialects are also spoken.

Religion: 

Mainly Christians (Roman Catholics 22 per cent, Pentecostals 12 per cent, Anglicans six per cent), Hindus 18 per cent and Muslims five per cent (2011 census).

Health: 

Public spending on health was three per cent of GDP in 2012. Traditionally good services have suffered somewhat from reductions in public expenditure. Some 94 per cent of the population uses an improved drinking water source and 92 per cent have access to adequate sanitation facilities (2012). Infant mortality was 19 per 1,000 live births in 2013 (61 in 1960). In 2012, 1.6 per cent of people aged 15–49 were HIV positive.

Education: 

There are six years of compulsory education starting at the age of six. Primary school comprises seven years and secondary five, with cycles of three and two years. Some 89 per cent of pupils complete primary school (2009). The school year starts in September.

Tertiary institutions include the St Augustine campus of the regional University of the West Indies (UWI), which also has main campuses in Barbados and Jamaica. At St Augustine, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in agriculture, education, engineering, humanities, law (the Hugh Wooding Law School), medical sciences, sciences and social sciences. The University of Trinidad and Tobago was established in 2004 and includes the Eastern Caribbean Institute of Agriculture and Forestry. Other tertiary institutions include the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts; and Polytechnic Institute, which provides adult education in the evenings and shares premises with the Sixth Form Government School. There is virtually no illiteracy among people aged 15–24.

Media: 

English-language dailies include Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, Daily Express and Newsday; The Bomb, The T’n’T Mirror and Sunday Punch are weeklies.

The Caribbean New Media Group operates public radio and TV services; and there are a number of private radio stations and TV channels including Caribbean Communications Network’s TV6.

Some 88 per cent of households have TV sets (2006). There are 132 personal computers per 1,000 people (2007).

Communications: 

Country code 1 868; internet domain ‘.tt’. Mobile phone coverage is good. There are numerous internet cafés and post office branches on the islands.

For every 1,000 people there are 217 landlines, 1,449 mobile phone subscriptions and 638 internet users (2013).

Public holidays: 

New Year’s Day, Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day (30 March), Indian Arrival Day (30 May, 1845), Labour Day (19 June), Emancipation Day (1 August, 1834 and 1838), Independence Day (31 August), Republic Day (24 September), Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Religious and other festivals whose dates vary from year to year include Carnival (Monday and Tuesday before Lent), Good Friday, Easter Monday, Corpus Christi, Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) and Diwali (October/November). Carnival is celebrated during the month leading up to Carnival Monday and Tuesday.