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Turks and Caicos Islands


The islands were part of the UK's Jamaican colony until 1962, when they assumed the status of a separate crown colony upon Jamaica's independence. The governor of The Bahamas oversaw affairs from 1965 to 1973. With Bahamian independence, the islands received a separate governor in 1973. Although independence was agreed upon for 1982, the policy was reversed and the islands remain a British overseas territory.
Geography Turks and Caicos Islands
Caribbean, two island groups in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of The Bahamas, north of Haiti
Geographic coordinates:
21 45 N, 71 35 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
total: 430 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 430 sq km
Area - comparative:
2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
389 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive fishing zone: 200 NM
tropical; marine; moderated by trade winds; sunny and relatively dry
low, flat limestone; extensive marshes and mangrove swamps
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Blue Hills 49 m
Natural resources:
spiny lobster, conch
Land use:
arable land: 2.3%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 97.7% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
frequent hurricanes
Environment - current issues:
limited natural fresh water resources, private cisterns collect rainwater
Geography - note:
about 40 islands (eight inhabited)
People Turks and Caicos Islands
19,956 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 32.5% (male 3,301; female 3,184)
15-64 years: 63.8% (male 6,696; female 6,036)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 327; female 412) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 27.2 years
male: 27.9 years
female: 26.5 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
3.03% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
22.85 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
4.26 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
11.68 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.11 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 16.27 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 18.79 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.25 years
male: 72.05 years
female: 76.57 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.11 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: none
adjective: none
Ethnic groups:
black 90%, mixed, European, or North American 10%
Baptist 40%, Methodist 16%, Anglican 18%, Church of God 12%, other 14% (1990)
English (official)
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
female: 98% (1970 est.)
male: 99%
total population: 98%
People - note:
destination and transit point for illegal Haitian immigrants bound for the Turks and Caicos Islands, Bahamas, and US
Government Turks and Caicos Islands
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Turks and Caicos Islands
Dependency status:
overseas territory of the UK
Government type:
Grand Turk (Cockburn Town)
Administrative divisions:
none (overseas territory of the UK)
none (overseas territory of the UK)
National holiday:
Constitution Day, 30 August (1976)
introduced 30 August 1976; suspended in 1986; restored and revised 5 March 1988
Legal system:
based on laws of England and Wales, with a few adopted from Jamaica and The Bahamas
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1953), represented by Governor Jim POSTON (since 16 December 2002)
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party is appointed chief minister by the governor
head of government: Chief Minister Michael Eugene MISICK (since 15 August 2003)
cabinet: Executive Council consists of three ex officio members and five appointed by the governor from among the members of the Legislative Council
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Council (19 seats of which 13 are popularly elected; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 24 April 2003 (next to be held in 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - PDM 53.8%, PNP 46.2%; seats by party - PDM 7, PNP 6; note - in by-elections held 7 August 2003, the PNP gained two seats for a majority of 8 seats; PDM now has 5
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court
Political parties and leaders:
People's Democratic Movement or PDM [Derek H. TAYLOR]; Progressive National Party or PNP [Michael Eugene MISICK]; United Democratic Party or UDP [Wendal SWANN]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Caricom (associate), CDB, Interpol (subbureau)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK)
Flag description:
blue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the colonial shield centered on the outer half of the flag; the shield is yellow and contains a conch shell, lobster, and cactus
Economy Turks and Caicos Islands
Economy - overview:
The Turks and Caicos economy is based on tourism, fishing, and offshore financial services. Most capital goods and food for domestic consumption are imported. The US is the leading source of tourists, accounting for more than half of the 93,000 visitors in the late 1990s. Major sources of government revenue include fees from offshore financial activities and customs receipts. Tourism fell by 6% in 2002.
purchasing power parity - $231 million (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4.9% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $9,600 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
NA% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4% (1995)
Labor force:
4,848 (1990 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
about 33% in government and 20% in agriculture and fishing; significant numbers in tourism, financial, and other services
Unemployment rate:
10% (1997 est.)
revenues: $47 million
expenditures: $33.6 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997-98 est.)
tourism, offshore financial services
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
5 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
4.65 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day NA (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
0 bbl/day NA bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Oil - imports:
Agriculture - products:
corn, beans, cassava (tapioca), citrus fruits; fish
$169.2 million (2000)
Exports - commodities:
lobster, dried and fresh conch, conch shells
Exports - partners:
$175.6 million (2000)
Imports - commodities:
food and beverages, tobacco, clothing, manufactures, construction materials
Imports - partners:
Debt - external:
$NA (2002 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$4.1 million (1997)
US dollar (USD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
the US dollar is used
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Turks and Caicos Islands
Telephones - main lines in use:
5,700 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
0 (1994)
Telephone system:
general assessment: fair cable and radiotelephone services
domestic: NA
international: country code - 1-649; 2 submarine cables; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 2, FM 7, shortwave 0 (2004)
8,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
0 (broadcasts from The Bahamas are received; 2 cable television networks) (2004)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
14 (2000)
Internet users:
Transportation Turks and Caicos Islands
0 km
total: 121 km
paved: 24 km
unpaved: 97 km (2000)
Ports and harbors:
Grand Turk, Providenciales
Merchant marine:
8 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2003 est.)
Military Turks and Caicos Islands
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the UK
Transnational Issues Turks and Caicos Islands
Disputes - international:
have received Haitians fleeing economic collapse and civil unrest
Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for the US and Europe