The Cayman Islands’ year-end population grew by 2.2 per cent in 2012 to reach 56,732, the largest annual percentage movement since 2008, according to new government statistics.
The Caymanian population increased twice as fast as the number of non-Caymanian residents and the proportion of Caymanians of the total population increased slightly by 0.8 per cent to 56.8 per cent, according to the 2012 Compendium of Statistics released by the government’s Economics and Statistics Office.
The Caymanian labour force expanded by more than 700 people at a rate of 4.1 per cent, faster than the population as a whole. This strong growth compared to 1.2 per cent in 2011 and a contraction of the Caymanian labour force by 1.3 per cent in 2010. Given that 335 students completed school last year, nearly 400 Caymanians who had not previously looked for employment decided to join the labour force, returned from abroad or recently obtained Caymanian status. As a result, the number of employed Caymanians increased by 3.3 per cent, but Caymanian unemployment was also on the increase. Although unemployment as a whole dropped to 6.2 per cent, unemployment among Caymanian increased to 10.5 per cent.
“The population increase presents the country with an opportunity for economic growth, as well as a challenge for the government in providing the necessary services, particularly social services,” said Marco Archer, minister for finance and economic development.
Social services were on the uptrend in 2012. Total enrolment from reception to secondary education for the 2012-2013 school year reached 7,743, higher by 1.3 per cent (or 97 students) compared to the prior academic year. The increase represents a reversal of the decline noted between school years 2011-2012 and 2010-2011.
Data on the number of people receiving children and family services indicate that those granted with “poor relief” in 2012 rose only marginally by nine to 978, while those granted with indigent medical care rose sharply (by 18.6 per cent or 57 people) to 363. Recipients of free school lunches also moved up significantly (by 19.8 per cent or 160 students) to 967 in 2012.
In addition, judicial and court statistics reveal an increase in the number of people provided with legal aid in 2012 relative to 2011. Those assisted in criminal cases went up by 32.7 per cent to reach 276, while those assisted in civil cases rose by 15.2 per cent to total 244.