Census shows George Town still king

George Town remains the major population centre of the Cayman Islands – with more than 50 per cent of the country’s residents – according to preliminary figures released by the 2010 Census.

However, Bodden Town was the only Cayman district to increase its share of the county’s population over the past decade, growing by an astounding 79 per cent since 1999.

Both West Bay and George Town slightly decreased their shares of the country’s population in that time, as did East End, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. North Side maintained the same percentage of Cayman’s population as it had in 1999.

Overall, Cayman’s population grew by more than 39 per cent since the last census count. The total Cayman Islands population in late 2010 was 54,878, with 481 of those residents considered “institutionalised”; in prison, in retirement homes and the like.

During the last census in 1999, there were 39,020 residents here, compared to 54,397 non-institutionalised residents in late 2010. “If the population were to continue to grow at this rate, it would double its size by the year 2033,” the census preliminary report read.

George Town maintained nearly 51 per cent of Cayman’s population – some 27,704 people – a sizable population increase of 34 per cent since the last census when 20,626 people lived in George Town.

In the other districts, the country’s population was split between West Bay (21 per cent), Bodden Town (19 per cent), North Side (2.7 per cent), East End (2.5 per cent) and Cayman Brac and Little Cayman (4.2 per cent).

All Cayman Islands voting districts saw their total populations increase within the past decade with the exception of East End, which the 2010 Census noted lost two residents since the last population count.

Women made up just a bit more of the population than men in the Cayman Islands. According to the census count, there were 27,498 females living here in late 2010 and 26,899 men. George Town was the only district with a higher percentage of men living in it. Although the majority of the population on Grand Cayman resides in George Town, Bodden Town experienced the highest growth rate since the last census. Bodden Town’s population came fairly close to doubling in the 11-year period, going from 5,764 in 1999 to 10,341 in 2010. The average annual population growth rate in the district was 5.3 per cent. By contrast, George Town’s annual growth rate was 2.7 per cent; West Bay’s was 2.8 per cent. Over the past 30 years, all other voting districts aside from Bodden Town experienced a gradual decline in their share of Cayman’s population, except for George Town, which increased its share of the country’s population up until 1999. The 2010 Census was the first time George Town’s share of the Cayman’s population had dropped. “Although George Town’s share [of the population] decreased during the 1999-2010 period, it continues to maintain the biggest share of the population,” the census report read.

The full census is due to be released in October.

The preliminary data from Tuesday did not break down the population by age or income and it did not state how many residents were Caymanian and non-Caymanian.

Although the majority of residents in Cayman are not legally allowed to vote, the population figures do give more credence to the Electoral Boundary Commission’s findings last year that George Town remains under-represented in the Legislative Assembly. According to Elections Office figures from October, nearly 39 per cent of Cayman’s registered voters live in George Town, about 25 per cent in West Bay, 23 per cent in Bodden Town, six per cent in the Sister Islands, and just less than four per cent each in North Side and East End.

The boundary commission, in one of its recommendations, advocated creating a seventh Cayman Islands voting district in the Spotts-Prospect area, adding all three new Legislative Assembly seats there.

Cayman’s 2009 Constitution requires three new LA members to be added to the legislature prior to the next general election. Right now there are 15 elected members, so that number would increase to 18.

A second option presented by the commission was to add two new seats in the existing George Town district and place one more member in Bodden Town.

The legislature must still review and approve the addition of the new LA seats.