Population decline and pandemic impact social statistics

The Economics and Statistics Office (ESO) has released the Cayman Islands’ Compendium of Statistics 2020, a collection of statistics covering demographics, social and living conditions, health, education and information and communication technology.

Last year’s population decline and the COVID-19 pandemic-related lockdown shaped much of the data.


Last year, Cayman’s population fell by 4,128 residents to 65,786. The most recent estimate by the ESO found the population had increased by 420 at the end April 2021. This would bring the population to 66,206.

The latest population estimate suggests 50.5% of residents are Caymanian, 37.5% are work permit holders and dependants and the remainder are permanent residents and their dependants (12%).

Both the number of births and birth rates increased significantly last year, slightly reversing a long-term trend that started in 1990 of families having fewer children. Since then, birth rates have dropped by about a third.

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The number of health services professionals declined last year from 1,575 to 1,517.

Cayman’s 308 registered doctors and 512 nurses mean there are 4.7 doctors and 7.8 nurses per 1,000 residents.

Globally, the number of doctors in Cayman relative to the population is comparatively high, while the number of nurses is low.

Among OECD countries only Austria and Norway have more doctors, with 5.4 and 5.1 per 1,000 inhabitants respectively, whereas the US (2.6), the UK (3.0) and France (3.4) have a much lower density of doctors.

Cayman compared with selected OECD countries. Source: ESO, OECD.

The number of nurses relative to the population is in line with the UK but below the OECD average (8.8 for nurses) and less than half of Norway and Switzerland.

This may well be due to Cayman’s comparatively younger population. The 2010 census put the average age of residents at just 35. The number of seniors, who are more likely to require healthcare and nursing care, is very low compared to other countries, because of Cayman’s large, working-age, expat population.

The lockdown conditions last year meant that hospital admissions, casualty patients, operations, and dental or physiotherapy patient visits at government-run hospitals all declined. However, the number of prescriptions at George Town Hospital increased by 45.3% to 601,412, and ambulance calls were also up by 7.4%.

Social services

The economic impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable in society is reflected in the number of families that were assisted by the Needs Assessment Unit (NAU).

In addition to food kitchens and meal deliveries organised by many private organisations, the NAU provided food vouchers to 1,551 families last year. This was 74.7% more than in 2019. The number of families receiving rent support increased from 502 to 602.

Overall, the Needs Assessment Unit assisted more families last year (2,558) than at the previous peak of 2,493 families in 2013/14.


Burglaries, robberies and thefts as well as violent crimes all decreased last year. Although the total number of recorded crimes moved from 4,146 to 4,281, this included 677 COVID-quarantine and curfew offences that did not exist previously.

If these offences are not included, recorded crimes fell by 13% in 2020.

Cayman’s year-end prison population dropped from 218 to 205.


Last year saw fewer cars on the roads, not only during the lockdown period, but also after thousands of workers were forced to leave the islands. The Department of Vehicle Licencing passed 31,525 motor vehicles during vehicle inspections in 2020, down 16.8% from 37,904 in 2019.

The number of inspected motorbikes dropped by more than a third (34.6%) to 212.

Waste management

The amount of waste treated in Cayman’s three landfills remained virtually unchanged at 133,399 tonnes compared to 2019 (133,379 tonnes). However, the amount of waste per person increased.

The amount of solid waste collected from households and businesses by truck increased from 52,870 tonnes to 63,696 tonnes (20.5%).

The processing of derelict vehicles was also up from 2,024 to 2,463.


According to the ESO, 28.3% of households still have a landline telephone, while 92.5% have a cellphone.

Likewise, 86.7% of households have a home internet connection and 68.7% have a computer.

The share of households with either satellite or cable TV continued its long-term decline from 73% in 2011 to only 45% last year, the compendium of statistics shows.


The number of children in early childhood care and education declined 7.7% to 1,780, while the staff at kindergartens and pre-schools dropped correspondingly (6.9%) to 270.

Cayman’s student population, in contrast, increased from 8,046 to 8,434 mainly due to higher enrolment in private schools, which jumped by 10.1% to 3,755.

Just more than half of Cayman’s students attend government schools (55.5%), with the remainder going to private schools. In 2012, the share of government school students was higher at 64%.


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    • It’s probably less than 66K since 12% are Permanent Residents and family. Maybe a third or so of these hadn’t returned by April not wishing to deal with travel/quarantine, etc
      The Government should show more transparency when quoting their 80% figure. They clearly don’t have the will or courage to open up.

  1. I find it interesting that the government is now publishing these statistics. It looks as though they’re getting ready to justify not being able to reach the 80% vaccination goal based on erroneous calculations from an earlier publication.
    Taking 80% of the NEW population estimate of approximately 66,000, you now have an 80% target goal of 52,800 vaccinated individuals – which is just about within reach.
    It’s almost as if they’re getting ready to declare “Victory” and start opening up the borders as per their recent plan.

  2. Does any ‘science’ prove 80% full vaccination coverage of total population is minimum? For what? Original goal was 70% full vaccination coverage. Later 75% goal was suggested. Then someone said 70% to 80% range. Then, like erroneously choosing a higher population number, the highest 80% goal was chosen. Is 80% really necessary???

    Today, 28th of August, New York Times site shows current partial and full vaccination coverage data for almost all countries. The highest fully-vaccinated coverage level is Malta at 82%. No other country is near 80%. Singapore and U.A.E. are at 76% fully-vaccinated coverage. Next are three countries at 73% fully-vaccinated coverage: Iceland, Portugal, and now Cayman Islands. All other countries’ fully-vaccinated coverages are below or far below 73%. Though not shown on the NYT site due to old data, here’s calculation of CI’s current fully-vaccinated rate –

    Population reported at 66,206 at end of April based on 420 increase during 4 months from end of 2020 at 65,786. End of August is 4 months after April, so assume another 420 increase for population of 66,626 at start of September. Today’s CI covid dashboard shows 49,187 fully vaccinated which is more than 73% of 66,626 estimated population.

    However, this 73% of CI news is even better because today’s CI covid dashboard also shows 51,175 have had their first vaccinations which means an additional 1,988 can get their 2nd vaccinations after waiting 3 weeks to become fully vaccinated. So, in a few weeks CI’s expected fully-vaccinated coverage at 51,175 could become more than 76% of 66,626.

    Waiting for even higher coverage seems counter productive because over 8,000 young people are estimated in today’s report. Many aren’t eligible to be vaccinated. For example, if eligible population is 8,000 less at about 56,626, then the 51,175 fully-vaccinated would be over 90% of eligible population. Economics of diminishing returns makes seeking higher vaccination levels futile, possibly never achievable, and certainly would derail plans for timely opening CI borders.

    Being a world top-tier fully-vaccinated country at more than 76% should be enough to proceed as planned. Congratulations Cayman Islands ! !