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Facts About Turks & Caicos

Want to find out more about Canada's almost eleventh province? The CIA World Fact Book is a comprehensive resource of information about virtually every country in the world. The facts below are extracted from their online database about Turks and Caicos.



Location: Caribbean, two island groups in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of The Bahamas

Geographic coordinates: 21 45 N, 71 35 W

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

Area: 430 sq km

AreaNcomparative: 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

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

Elevation Extremes
  • lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
  • highest point: Blue Hills 49 m
Natural resources: spiny lobster, conch

Land use:
  • arable land: 2%
  • other: 98% (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: frequent hurricanes

EnvironmentNcurrent issues: limited natural fresh water resources, private cisterns collect rainwater

GeographyNnote: 30 islands (eight inhabited)


Population: 16 863 (July 1999 estimate)

Age Structure
  • 0-14 years: 32% (male 2777; female 2697)
  • 15-64 years: 63% (male 5619; female 5085)
  • 65 years and over: 5% (male 305; female 380) (1999 est.)
Population growth rate: 3.65% (1999 est.)

Birth rate: 26.39 births/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Death rate: 4.86 deaths/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Net migration rate: 15 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Sex Ratio
  • at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
  • under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
  • 15-64 years: 1.11 male(s)/female
  • 65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
  • total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (1999 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 21.11 deaths/1,000 live births (1999 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
  • total population: 72.35 years
  • male: 70.4 years
  • female: 74.4 years (1999 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.28 children born/woman (1999 est.)

Ethnic groups: black

Religions: Baptist 41.2%, Methodist 18.9%, Anglican 18.3%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.7%, other 19.9% (1980)

Languages: English (official)

  • definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
  • total population: 98%
  • male: 99%
  • female: 98% (1970 est.)


Data code: TK

Dependency status: overseas territory of the United Kingdom

Capital: Grand Turk (Cockburn Town)

Administrative divisions: none (overseas territory of the UK)

Independence: none (overseas territory of the UK)

National holiday: Constitution Day, 30 August (1976)

Constitution: introduced 30 August 1976; suspended in 1986; restored and revised 5 March 1988

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

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch
  • chief of state: Queen Elizabeth II (since 6 February 1953), represented by Governor John Kelly (since September 1996)
  • head of government: Chief Minister Derek H. Taylor (since 31 January 1995)
  • cabinet: Executive Council consists of three ex officio members and five appointed by the governor from among the members of the Legislative Council
  • elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; chief minister appointed by the governor
Legislative Branch
  • unicameral Legislative Council (19 seats, of which 13 are popularly elected; members serve four-year terms)
  • elections: last held 31 January 1995 (next to be held by NA December 1999)
  • election results: seats by partyNPDM 8, PNP 4, independent (Norman Saunders) 1
Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: Progressive National Party or PNP [Washington Misick]; People's Democratic Movement or PDM [Derek H. Taylor]; United Democratic Party or UDP [Wendal Swann]

International organization participation: Caricom (associate), CDB, Interpol (subbureau)

Flag of Turks and Caicos Flag description: 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.


Economy Overview - The Turks and Caicos economy is based on tourism, fishing, and offshore financial services. Most capital goods and food for domestic consumption are imported. The US was the leading source of tourists in 1996, accounting for more than half of the 87 000 visitors. Major sources of government revenue include fees from offshore financial activities and customs receipts.

GDP: purchasing power parityN$117 million (1997 est.)

GDPNreal growth rate: 4% (1997 est.)

GDPNper capita: purchasing power parityN$7700 (1997 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4% (1995)

Labor force: 4848 (1990 est.)

Labor forceNby occupation: about 33% in government and 20% in agriculture and fishing; significant numbers in tourism and financial and other services (1997 est.)

Unemployment rate: 10% (1997 est.)

  • revenues: $47 million
  • expenditures: $33.6 million (1997/98 est.)
Industries: tourism, offshore financial services

ElectricityNproduction: 5 million kWh (1996)

ElectricityNproduction by source: fossil fuel: 100% (1996)

ElectricityNconsumption: 5 million kWh (1996)

ElectricityNexports: 0 kWh (1996)

ElectricityNimports: 0 kWh (1996)

AgricultureNproducts: corn, beans, cassava (tapioca), citrus fruits; fish

Exports: $4.7 million (1993)

ExportsNcommodities: lobster, dried and fresh conch, conch shells

ExportsNpartners: US, UK

Imports: $46.6 million (1993)

ImportsNcommodities: food and beverages, tobacco, clothing, manufactures, construction materials

ImportsNpartners: US, UK

Economic aidNrecipient: $5.7 million (1995)

Currency: 1 United States dollar (US$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: US currency is used

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 1359 (1988 est.)

Telephone system: fair cable and radiotelephone services; international: 2 submarine cables; satellite earth stationN1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 0, shortwave 0

Radios: 7000 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 0 (broadcasts from The Bahamas are received; cable television is established) (1997)


Railways: 0 km

  • total: 121 km
  • paved: 24 km
  • unpaved: 97 km
Ports and harbors: Grand Turk, Providenciales

Merchant marine: none

Airports: 7 (1998 est.)

AirportsNwith paved runways
  • total: 4
  • 1524 to 2437 m: 3
  • 914 to 1523 m: 1 (1998 est.)
AirportsNwith unpaved runways
  • total: 3
  • 914 to 1523 m: 2
  • under 914 m: 1 (1998 est.)


MilitaryNnote: defense is the responsibility of the UK

Transnational Issues

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for the US

SOURCE: CIA World Factbook.

See also
Canada and the Turks & Caicos
Canada and the Turks & Caicos: The Full Story

Copyright Craig I.W. Marlatt