Demographics of the Cayman Islands

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This article is about the demographic features of the population of the Cayman Islands, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

The population of the Cayman Islands reflects its status as a British overseas territory, its history as a former dependency of Jamaica, and its present financial partnerships with the United States and other countries. The vast majority of its 45,436 residents live on the island of Grand Cayman. According to the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce, in 1999 an estimated 1,300 people lived on Cayman Brac, while only 115 resided on Little Cayman.

Although many Caribbean islands were initially populated by Amerindian groups such as the Arawaks, Tainos, and Caribs, no evidence of this has been found in the Cayman Islands. Therefore, native Caymanians do not have any Amerindian heritage from their own islands; however, a significant number of Jamaicans have settled in the Cayman Islands over the years, so they and their descendants may have some Amerindian blood via Jamaica. Slavery was less common on the Cayman Islands than in many other parts of the Caribbean, resulting in a more even division of African and European ancestry. Those of mixed race make up 40% of the population, with blacks and whites following at 20% each. The remaining 20% belong to various immigrant ethnic groups.

With its success in the tourism and financial service industries, the Cayman Islands have attracted many international businesses and citizens to relocate. The largest numbers of expatriates living in the Cayman Islands (as of the government's 1999 Census Report) hail from Jamaica (8,320), the United Kingdom (2,392), the United States (2,040), Canada (1,562), and Honduras (873). Approximately 3,300 more residents are citizens of various other countries. While the government doesn't restrict foreign land ownership, it does strongly enforce its immigration laws. Businesses are required to grant access to job openings to Caymanian citizens first; if none of them are suitable, the business may then seek employees from other countries. In order to work in the Cayman Islands, foreigners must have a job offer before immigrating.

To encourage literacy, the Cayman Islands government requires all legal resident children between the ages of four and 16 years old to attend school. Education for Caymanians is free, with both public and private schools available. Based on the English school system, primary schools teach children from four to 11 years, while high schools handle 11 to 16 year-olds. The government also provides facilities for special education, training for the disabled, and an education center for juvenile offenders. In addition, higher education may be pursued at The University College and The Law School. Consequently, literacy rates are high, estimated at 98% in 1995 by UNESCO and 90% by the Cayman Islands government.

The predominant religion on the Cayman Islands is Christianity. Denominations practiced include United Church, Church of God, Anglican Church, Baptist Church, Roman Catholic Church, Seventh-day Adventist Church, and Pentecostal Church. Many citizens are deeply religious, regularly going to church. Ports are closed on Sundays and Christian holidays. There are also places of worship in George Town for Jehovah's Witnesses, and followers of Bahá'í Faith. The Cayman Islands also hosts a small Jewish community. [1]

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