Factbook: Turks & Caicos


Turks & Caicos

(dependent territory of the UK)


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

total: 430 sq km
land: 430 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area – comparative: 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%
permanent crops: NA%
permanent pastures: NA%
forests and woodland: NA%
other: 98% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: frequent hurricanes

Environment – current issues: limited natural fresh water resources, private cisterns collect rainwater

Environment – international agreements:
party to : NA
signed, but not ratified: NA

Geography – note: 30 islands (eight inhabited)


Population: 14,631 (July 1997 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years : NA
65 years and over: NA

Population growth rate: 1.88% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 12.3 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 5.14 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: 11.64 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: NA male(s)/female
under 15 years: NA male(s)/female
15-64 years : NA male(s)/female
65 years and over: NA male(s)/female
total population: NA male(s)/female

Infant mortality rate: 12.5 deaths/1,000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.42 years
male: 73.49 years
female: 77.1 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.78 children born/woman (1997 est.)

noun: none
adjective: none

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.)


Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Turks and Caicos Islands

Data code: TK

Dependency status: dependent territory of the UK

Government type: NA

National capital: Grand Turk

Administrative divisions: none (dependent territory of the UK)

Independence: none (dependent 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 of the UK (since 6 February 1953), represented by Governor John KELLY (since NA 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 queen is a hereditary monarch; governor appointed by the queen; chief minister appointed by the governor

Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Council (19 seats, of which 13 are popularly elected; members serve three-year terms)
elections: last held 31 January 1995 (next to be held by NA December 1998)
election results: percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – PDM 8, PNP 4, independent (Norman SAUNDERS) 1

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: Progressive National Party (PNP), Washington MISICK; People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), Derek H. TAYLOR; United Democratic Party (UDP), Wendal SWANN

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

Diplomatic representation in the US: none (dependent territory of the UK)

Diplomatic representation from the US: none (dependent territory of the UK)

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 food for domestic consumption is imported; there is some subsistence farming – mainly corn, cassava, citrus, and beans – on the Caicos Islands. The tourism sector expanded in 1995, posting a 10% increase in the first quarter as compared to the same period in 1994. The US was the leading source of tourists in 1995, accounting for upward of 70% of arrivals or about 60,000 visitors. Major sources of government revenue include fees from offshore financial activities and customs receipts as the Islands rely on imports for nearly all consumption and capital goods.

GDP: purchasing power parity – $84.5 million (1993 est.)

GDP – real growth rate: 2% (1993 est.)

GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity – $6,400 (1993 est.)

GDP – composition by sector:
agriculture : NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Inflation rate – consumer price index: NA%

Labor force:
total: 4,848 (1990 est.)
by occupation: majority engaged in fishing and tourist industries; some subsistence agriculture

Unemployment rate: 12% (1992)

revenues: $31.9 million
expenditures: $30.4 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1995)

Industries: fishing, tourism, offshore financial services

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity – capacity: NA kW

Electricity – production: NA kWh

Electricity – consumption per capita: NA kWh

Agriculture – products: corn, beans; fish

total value: $6.8 million (f.o.b., 1993)
commodities: lobster, dried and fresh conch, conch shells
partners: US, UK

total value: $42.8 million (1993)
commodities: food and beverages, tobacco, clothing, manufactures, construction materials
partners: US, UK

Debt – external: $NA

Economic aid:
recipient : ODA, $NA

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

Exchange rates: US currency is used

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 1,359 (1988 est.)

Telephone system: fair cable and radiotelephone services
domestic: NA
international : 2 submarine cables; satellite earth station – 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

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

Radios: 7,000 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: television programs are available from a cable network, and broadcasts from the Bahamas can be received in the islands

Televisions: NA


Railways: 0 km

total: 121 km
paved : 24 km
unpaved: 97 km

Ports and harbors: Grand Turk, Providenciales

Merchant marine: none

Airports: 7 (1996 est.)

Airports – with paved runways:
total: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (1996 est.)

Airports – with unpaved runways:
total: 2
914 to 1,523 m : 2 (1996 est.)


Military – note: defense is the responsibility of the UK

Transnational Issues

Disputes – international: none

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