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The World Factbook (1990)/Turks and Caicos Islands


Turks and Caicos Islands (dependent territory of the UK)

World Factbook (1990) Turks and Caicos Islands.jpg

See regional map III


Total area: 430 km²; land area: 430 km²

Comparative area: slightly less than 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 389 km

Maritime claims:

Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; marine; moderated by trade winds; sunny and relatively dry

Terrain: low, flat limestone; extensive marshes and mangrove swamps

Natural resources: spiny lobster, conch

Land use: 2% arable land; 0% permanent crops; 0% meadows and pastures; 0% forest and woodland; 98% other

Environment: 30 islands (eight inhabited); subject to frequent hurricanes

Note: located 190 km north of the Dominican Republic in the North Atlantic Ocean


Population: 9,761 (July 1990), growth rate 2.3% (1990)

Birth rate: 25 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 5 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 4 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 14 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 72 years male, 78 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 3.8 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: no noun or adjectival forms

Ethnic divisions: majority of African descent

Religion: Anglican, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Church of God, Seventh-Day Adventist

Language: English (official)

Literacy: 99% (est.) Labor force: NA; majority engaged in fishing and tourist industries; some subsistence agriculture

Organized labor: St. George's Industrial Trade Union


Long-form name: none

Type: dependent territory of the UK

Capital: Grand Turk (Cockburn Town)

Administrative divisions: none (dependent territory of the UK)

Independence: none (dependent territory of the UK)

Constitution: introduced 30 August 1976, suspended in 1986, and a Constitutional Commission is currently reviewing its contents

Legal system: based on laws of England and Wales with a small number adopted from Jamaica and The Bahamas

National holiday: Constitution Day, 30 August (1976)

Executive branch: British monarch, governor, Executive Council

Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Council

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1953), represented by Governor Michael J. BRADLEY (since 1987);

Head of Government—Chief Minister Oswald O. SKIPPINGS (since 3 March 1988)

Political parties and leaders: People's Democratic Movement (PDM), Oswald Skippings; Progressive National Party (PNP), Dan Malcolm and Norman Saunders; National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Ariel Missick

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: Legislative Council—last held on 3 March 1988 (next to be held NA); results—PDM 60%, PNP 30%, others 10%; seats—(20 total, 13 elected) PDM 11, PNP 2

Communists: none

Diplomatic representation: as a dependent territory of the UK, the interests of the Turks and Caicos Islands are represented in the US by the UK; US—none

Flag: 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


Overview: The economy is based on fishing, tourism, and offshore banking. Subsistence farming—corn and beans—exists only on the Caicos Islands, so that most foods, as well as nonfood products, must be imported.

GDP: $44.9 million, per capita $5,000; real growth rate NA% (1986)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%

Unemployment rate: 12% (1989)

Budget: revenues $12.4 million; expenditures $15.8 million, including capital expenditures of $2.6 million (FY87)

Exports: $2.9 million (f.o.b., FY84); commodities—lobster, dried and fresh conch, conch shells; partners—US, UK

Imports: $26.3 million (c.i.f., FY84); commodities—foodstuffs, drink, tobacco, clothing; partners—US, UK

External debt: $NA

Industrial production: growth rate NA%

Electricity: 9,050 kW capacity; 11 million kWh produced, 1,160 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: fishing, tourism, offshore financial services

Agriculture: subsistence farming prevails, based on corn and beans; fishing more important than farming; not self-sufficient in food

Aid: Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $92.8 million

Currency: US currency is used

Exchange rates: US currency is used

Fiscal year: calendar year


Highways: 121 km, including 24 km tarmac

Ports: Grand Turk, Salt Cay, Providenciales, Cockburn Harbour

Civil air: Air Turks and Caicos (passenger service) and Turks Air Ltd. (cargo service)

Airports: 7 total, 7 usable; 4 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 2,439 m; 4 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: fair cable and radio services; 1,446 telephones; stations—3 AM, no FM, several TV; 2 submarine cables; 1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Note: defense is the responsibility of the UK