[Country map of Turks and Caicos Islands]

Turks and Caicos Islands

(dependent territory of the UK)


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

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

total area: 430 sq km
land area: 430 sq km
comparative area: slightly less than 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

International disputes: none

Climate: tropical; marine; moderated by trade winds; sunny and relatively dry

Terrain: low, flat limestone; extensive marshes and mangrove swamps

Natural resources: spiny lobster, conch

Land use:
arable land: 2%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 0%
forest and woodland: 0%
other: 98%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

current issues: limited natural fresh water resources, private cisterns collect rainwater
natural hazards: frequent hurricanes
international agreements: NA

Note: 30 islands (eight inhabited)


Population: 13,941 (July 1995 est.)

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

Population growth rate: 2.41% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 13.46 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 5.16 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 15.83 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 12.63 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.37 years
male: 73.44 years
female: 77.04 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.3 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: none
adjective: none

Ethnic divisions: African

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

Languages: English (official)

Literacy: age 15 and over has ever attended school (1970)
total population: 98%
male: 99%
female: 98%

Labor force: NA
by occupation: majority engaged in fishing and tourist industries; some subsistence agriculture


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

Digraph: TK

Type: dependent territory of the UK

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 (since 6 February 1953), represented by Governor Martin BOURKE (since NA February 1993)
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 the Legislative Council

Legislative branch: unicameral
Legislative Council: elections last held 31 January 1995 (next to be held by NA 2000); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (20 total, 13 elected) PDM 8, PNP 4, independent (Norman SAUNDERS) 1

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: Progressive National Party (PNP), Washington MISSICK; People's Democratic Movement (PDM), Derek H. TAYLOR; National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Ariel MISSICK

Member of: CARICOM (associate), CDB, INTERPOL (subbureau)

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

US diplomatic representation: none (dependent territory of the UK)

Flag: 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


Overview: The economy is based on fishing, tourism, and offshore banking. Only subsistence farming - corn, cassava, citrus, and beans - exists on the Caicos Islands, so that most foods, as well as nonfood products, must be imported.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $80.8 million (1992 est.)

National product real growth rate: -1.5% (1992)

National product per capita: $6,000 (1992 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%

Unemployment rate: 12% (1992)

revenues: $20.3 million
expenditures: $44 million, including capital expenditures of $23.9 million (1989 est.)

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

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

External debt: $NA

Industrial production: growth rate NA%

capacity: 9,050 kW
production: 11.1 million kWh
consumption per capita: 860 kWh (1992)

Industries: fishing, tourism, offshore financial services

Agriculture: subsistence farming prevails, based on corn and beans; fishing more important than farming; not self-sufficient in food

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

Economic aid:
recipient: Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $110 million

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

Exchange rates: US currency is used

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 0 km

total: 121 km (including 24 km tarmac)
paved: NA
unpaved: NA

Ports: Cockburn Harbour, Grand Turk, Providenciales, Salt Cay

Merchant marine: none

total: 7
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 1
with paved runways under 914 m: 1
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 2


Telephone system: 1,446 telephones; fair cable and radio services
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: 2 submarine cables; 1 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth station

broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 0, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: NA
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Note: defense is the responsibility of the UK