Cayman’s population as of June fell to an estimated 64,958, down from 69,914 at the end of 2019.
According to data from Customs and Border Control and the Economics and Statistics Office, since the closure of Cayman’s airports in March, 6,895 people have left the islands.
The decrease was recorded from 23 March to 31 Aug. this year and, of that number, 4,460 comprised Caymanians, permanent residents, work-permit holders and their dependents, and 2,435 were visitors.
The ESO also undertook a COVID-19 passenger departure survey, from 1 May to 31 Aug., for which 4,410 people were interviewed. Of those, 3,883 people, or 88%, were residents, with 2,971 non-Caymanian, and the rest Caymanian.
The reasons for leaving varied from loss of employment, healthcare or fear of COVID, but 1,809 respondents chose ‘other’ as the option for why they were using the emergency evacuation flights.
According to the results, 20% (831) of the respondents who answered this question (4,162) said they were leaving because of the temporary closure of their place of work.
This was followed by 9.5% saying their employment contract ended, 7.9% were laid off, 6.9% said they left for healthcare reasons and 5.7% had reached their immigration term limit. In addition, 68 respondents said they departed due to fear of COVID-19.
Work-permit holders aged 25-54 accounted for 62.6%, or 2,429, of passengers leaving on emergency flights. For Caymanians, the main age group departing (877 people or 22.6%) was 15-24, which corresponds with students returning to school overseas.
The survey found that the vast majority (84.9%, or 3,295 people) leaving Cayman planned to return.
Of all the respondents departing on the emergency flights, 2,357, or 60.7%, were work-permit holders, of which 81.7% said they planned to return to the Cayman Islands.