About this Bulletin

The fifth Statistical Bulletin of 2018 releases the latest estimates of the size of the population, the number of births and deaths in the first quarter, and arrivals and departures for March. The data released in this Bulletin can be downloaded in Excel format from the ‘Population’ file on the St Helena Statistics website at: www.sainthelena.gov.sh/statistics-data. A PDF version of this Bulletin is available here.

Population estimates

At the end of March 2018 the estimated number of persons on St Helena, residents plus visitors, was 4,713. The resident population, excluding visitors, was estimated to be 4,628. This is a very slight increase compared to the end of February 2018 and a 4% increase compared to the end of March 2017. The St Helenian resident population was estimated to stand at 4,276, this is a 2% increase from the previous month and a 4% increase compared to the end of March 2017.

The number of people on St Helena at the end of January 2018 was 4,901 – the highest number recorded for at least the last 10 years. The population of St Helena is usually higher around the Christmas period, but an additional factor this year was the overlap of the RMS St Helena and the scheduled air service between October and February. The number declined by over 200 in February, following the typical trend after Christmas, when visitors return back to their usual residence or off-shore employment.

Arrivals and departures

The total number of arrivals for March 2018 was estimated to be 474, bringing the total for the first quarter 2018 to 1,848. This is an increase of 21%, or 315 persons, from the previous quarter and a 47% increase, or 592 persons, from the same quarter in 2017. However, for January to early February 2017 the RMS St Helena was still in service, overlapping with the scheduled air service provided by Airlink.

Of the 474 arrivals in March 2018, 73% arrived by air, with the remaining 27% arriving by yacht or other vessels. The number of air arrivals was 348, which was a slight increase compared to February (318). However, due to timing of the scheduled air service, there were five plane arrivals from Johannesburg in March compared with four in February.

Births and deaths

In the first quarter of 2018, there were a total of six births and 13 deaths on St Helena; this is a slight decrease in the number of deaths compared to the same quarter of the previous year. However the number of births more than halved compared to the same period of 2017, where 13 births were reported. In recent years, the number of deaths has exceeded births. During the last two quarters there were three times more deaths than births, 31 deaths and 10 births.

About this Bulletin

This fourth bulletin of 2018 covers the release of the new estimates of inflation rates and the Retail Price Index (RPI) for the first quarter. The data released in this Bulletin, including the RPI, itself, can be downloaded from the St Helena Statistics website at: www.sainthelena.gov.sh/statistics-dataA PDF version of this Bulletin is available here.

Latest inflation rates

The latest rate of annual price inflation is estimated to be 2.8%, between the first quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2017. The annual price inflation rate for the previous quarter (Quarter 4 in 2017) was higher, at 4.0%.

Inflation rates of RPI categories

Categories with the lowest inflation are ‘Fuel and Light’ and ‘Services’ at 0.2% and 0.9% respectively. Apart from small fluctuations in the price of gas cylinders, prices of items in this category have seen very little change; 80% of the category is electricity, whose price has not changed since Quarter 1 2016 (petrol and diesel is included in the ‘Transport’ category). The ‘Services’ category includes medical and telecommunications fees and charges; some telecommunications fees have decreased, and any impact on the RPI of the increase in medical fees announced at the beginning of April will be captured in the second quarter.

The category with the highest annual price increase is ‘Alcohol and Tobacco’, at 8.2%. After several quarters when food price inflation has been much higher than the overall average for all items, for Quarter 1 the inflation rate for food has been measured at 2.9%, only very slightly higher than the overall average of 2.8% (Chart 1). Food comprises around a third of the overall average shopping basket on St Helena, so this has a major impact on the overall inflation rate, contributing a full 1 percentage point to the overall 2.8% rate. The inflation rate of ‘Transport’ also increased, from 1.3% last quarter to 3.5% this quarter, since both petrol and diesel prices rose, by around 4% and 6% respectively.

Chart 3 shows the values of the Retail Price Index, together with selected categories, rather than annual inflation rates. This is useful to illustrate price changes since 2010, rather than just the past year. The price of ‘Fuel and Light’, for example, has increased much faster than ‘All Items’ since 2010, even though the current annual inflation rate for this category is quite low. On the other hand, price rises of ‘Services’ have been lower than the overall rate.

Prices for the quarterly RPI calculation are collected from retailers in the last month of the quarter, in this case the second and third weeks of March. This was just after the introduction of a new shipping tariff and the first call of the new MV Helena shipping service. The timing of this new service and the timing of the RPI price collection mean that any changes to prices made by retailers as a result of the change in freight rates may not have been fully captured. In fact, many of the prices collected were unchanged from the price collection in December 2017, although there were some increases to the price of some larger items, such as household appliances and new vehicles. These increases are reflected in the inflation rates for transport and household goods, which both went up. Any further price changes that occur as a result of the new shipping tariff should be captured in the price collection exercise for the Q2 2018 RPI in June.

External influences: UK inflation, and South African inflation and exchange rates

St Helena imports most of its goods from either South Africa or the UK, and so changes in the prices in these countries, as well as exchange rates between the South African Rand and the St Helenian Pound, are often reflected in changes in prices of items on the shelves on the Island.

The annual change in prices in the UK, measured using the UK CPI, was 2.5% at the end of March 2018, down from 2.7% in February and 3.0% in January. This is consistent with St Helena’s Q1 inflation rate, especially since one of the largest downward pressures in the UK was food prices (the annual food price inflation rate in the UK for March was 3.1%, down from 3.7% in January). The annual inflation rate in South Africa also fell in March to 3.8%, down from 4.0% in February and 4.4% in January. Annual food price inflation in March in South Africa was 2.8%, down from 3.3% for February and much lower than the overall rate.

Between Quarter 1 2018 and the same quarter in 2017, the UK Pound (and hence the St Helena Pound) strengthened slightly against the Rand. In Q1 2017, a St Helena pound was worth 16.37 Rands on average, but this increased by 1.7% to 16.65 Rands on average in Q1 2018. The UK Pound also regained significant ground against the US Dollar, increasing in value about 12% from Q1 2017 and regaining most of its per-Brexit level. This may have also added to the downward pressure on the St Helena inflation rate, since any goods and commodities whose prices are set in dollars may become slightly cheaper.

Rebasing the Retail Price Index

The Statistics Office is currently in the process of ‘rebasing’ the RPI, using the data collected from the Household Expenditure Survey in November. This involves calculating new expenditure patterns to update the current basket, for example adding items which are relevant now (e.g. mobile telephones) and deleting any that are no longer purchased. The next inflation rate calculation for Quarter 2 2018 is expected to use this new ‘shopping basket’. The Statistics Office would like to thank all those that took part in the 2017 survey, which helps make sure that this important exercise is accurate.

Some common questions:

What is the Retail Price Index (RPI)?

The RPI is the official measure of the average change in the retail prices of goods and services. It is estimated each quarter, or once every three months. Changes in the RPI measure retail price inflation, and are usually computed on an annual basis; that is, comparing price changes over a twelve month period. For detailed tables of the RPI, please visit www.sainthelena.gov.sh/statistics-data.

What is price inflation?

Inflation simply means that something is growing or increasing, but when used in the context of the economy it usually refers to the change in average prices of goods and services over time. On St Helena, the primary measure of inflation is the RPI, and it is usually quoted as an annual estimate: it is the amount by which the RPI has grown over the preceding twelve months. A decrease in the RPI is also possible, though unusual – over a twelve month period, a drop in the RPI would result in retail price deflation (i.e. a negative inflation rate).

Why do we measure the RPI?

The rate of change of retail prices is an important indicator of economic performance and is used by Government, businesses and society in general. It enables an understanding of the impact of price changes on households and individuals, including for specific groups of goods and services.

How is the RPI constructed?

The basis for the RPI is the average cost of goods and services purchased by households on St Helena, or a weekly ‘shopping basket’. Items which households purchase more of, such as food, have a bigger share, or weight, in the RPI basket (the full specification of the RPI basket is available from the Statistics Office website). The current RPI uses a basket from the last Household Expenditure Survey in 2009, and baseline prices for that basket were recorded in the second quarter of 2010. Prices have been collected every quarter since then, to calculate the latest price of the average shopping basket. By convention, the value of the basket in the baseline period is scaled to 100, and the RPI values are quoted in relation to that baseline. Thus, an RPI value of 120 means that average prices have increased by 20 per cent compared to those recorded in the base period.

What happens when an item is not available?

If a particular item is not available during a round of price checks, a series of prescribed steps are followed to ensure the RPI measurement is not distorted. An important principle is that price changes should reflect actual price increases, and not changes in the quality of items. If an item is not available then either the previous price will be carried forward from the previous quarter, or a suitable substitute item will be identified and an adjustment calculation made. Great care is taken to ensure that this substitution is similar to the original item, that it represents the item category, and that it does not introduce error to the measurement of the RPI.

About this Bulletin

The third Statistical Bulletin of 2018 provides new monthly estimates of the number of arrivals and departures to and from St Helena, with a focus on the period since the start of scheduled air operations in October 2017. All arrivals by air and sea are included, except very short-term day visitors arriving on cruise ships. The data released in this Bulletin is available here. A PDF version of this Bulletin is available here.

Total Arrivals and Departures

During the five-month period between October 2017 and February 2018, there were very high numbers of total arrivals – 2,908, more than a thousand higher than in the same period in 2016/17. The peak month was January, with 843 arrivals in total. Total departures were also high, but slightly lower than arrivals – 2,627. Most passengers arrived by air, some 1,417 – this is 50 arrivals higher than the number arriving by sea, on the RMS St Helena, during the same period in the previous year (1,367), or an average of 10 arrivals more per month.

Chart 1: Arrivals per month, by air and RMS St Helena, 2015-18

The period covered represents the historical peak season for arrivals to St Helena, when many Saint Helenians visit family and friends for Christmas and when weather conditions are favourable. Trends during these months may not be indicative of trends for the remaining seven months of the year. Additionally, during this five-month period, both the newly scheduled weekly Airlink air service to Johannesburg and the three-weekly RMS St Helena shipping service to Cape Town were operational. This almost doubled the total passenger arrival capacity compared to either the shipping or air service alone.

Table 1: Total arrivals and departures, by mode of transport

Purpose of Visit

Most arrivals – some 40% – came to St Helena for tourism or a holiday; this may include relatively small numbers of Saint Helenians who live abroad but who visit for short periods, for example to visit family and friends, but who were not classed as ‘returning residents’. Returning residents were 28% of the total, and those arriving for business, which includes government personnel recruited overseas, and their families, were 15%. Transit passengers were 17% and mostly arrived by yacht.

Table 2: Purpose of arrivals

Arrivals by Air

Of those arriving by air, 42% were tourists, 25% arrived for business, and 24% were returning residents; the remaining number were transit passengers, including crew for merchant shipping. Arrivals of returning residents by air were highest in December (135), in time for Christmas. Since there is keen interest in developing the tourism industry, a number of additional indicators have been calculated for tourists arriving by air. Some points include:

  • In December, January, and February there were around 150 tourists or holiday makers per month, around twice as many as October and November
  • Around a quarter were British, with 22% South African, 19% St Helenian, 6% French, and 15% from elsewhere in Europe
  • Most were in their forties and fifties (41%), with a further third sixty and over. Very few recorded tourists were under twenty (6%)
  • 61% of tourists were male, almost twice as many males as females in some months
  • At least half of all tourists stayed in hotels or guest houses in January and February (please note that data on accommodation was not captured prior to 2018)

Table 3: Arrivals by air

Length of Stay

The average length of stay for tourists both arriving and departing by air was around 13 days. A stay of seven or eight days – from one Saturday flight to the next (or the Sunday, if the outbound flight follows the Ascension shuttle) is the most common option, for 49% of tourists. Although 10% of tourists stayed only one day, this is heavily biased by the very first flight in October which included several persons staying only overnight.

Length of stay has been calculated for those persons arriving for tourism and arriving and departing by air by the end of February 2018. These are preliminary estimates; note that any tourists that did not depart by the end of February have been excluded from the calculations.

Table 4: Length of stay of tourists arriving and departing by air, by month of departure

Departures

Most departures – 68% – were tourists and visitors returning to their place of residence, including St Helenians living overseas. 15% were people either leaving for employment opportunities or to settle elsewhere, and 11% were residents who were taking a holiday overseas.

Table 5: Departures from St Helena

 

About this Bulletin

This second Statistical Bulletin for 2018 includes the release of updated population estimates, the number of births and deaths, and the number of passenger arrivals and departures.

Population Estimates

The number of people on St Helena at the end of 2017 was estimated to be 4,846. This includes both residents and short-term visitors; the number of residents, including those on the Island with ‘returning resident’ status, was estimated to be 4,761. There were 4,267 persons on the Island with St Helenian status.

The on-Island population is typically higher during the warmer summer months of December, January and February. But this is the highest number of people on St Helena for several years, and is more than 200 people higher than the number on St Helena at the end of December 2016.

Arrivals and Departures

The estimated number of passenger arrivals in the fourth quarter of 2017 was 1,388, with 4,118 arrivals for the year (Table 1). In the fourth quarter there were an estimated 968 passenger departures, with total departures for 2017 estimated to be 3,884

In most years, arrivals and departures in the last and first quarter of each year are almost twice that of the second and third quarters (Chart 2). Arrivals in the last quarter of 2017 were high, but still not quite as high as the last quarter of 2015.

Whilst most visitors in 2017 arrived by sea on the RMS St Helena, over 700 passengers arrived by air following the start of the regular scheduled air service in October (Chart 3). This trend should continue in 2018, since the RMS St Helena will be taken out of service in February.

Please note that the estimates of arrivals and departures are the first published statistics following the introduction of the new regular scheduled air service in October 2017, and also the first estimates following the introduction of a new computerised system by the Immigration Service; for these reasons, estimates should be treated as provisional. Please also note that they exclude very short-term visits by cruise ship passengers, although visitors on yachts are included. Also note that it has not yet been possible to analyse arrivals by purpose of visit for the last quarter of 2017; due to the introduction of the new computerised system, the information has not yet been captured by the Immigration Service.

Births and Deaths

In 2017 there were a total of 36 births and 58 deaths registered on St Helena (Table 2). This is a similar number of births compared to 2016, but a higher number of deaths. The number of deaths in the last quarter of 2017 was particularly high, at 18. In 2017 there were 22 more deaths than births, following the trend of the last few years (Chart 4).

 

Price inflation rates

This is the first Statistical Bulletin of 2018, and covers the release of new estimates of inflation rates, based on the Retail Price Index. The data released in this Bulletin, and the Retail Price Index itself are available here. A PDF version of this Bulletin is available here.

Latest inflation rates

The latest rate of annual price inflation is estimated to be 4.0%, between the fourth quarter of 2017 and the fourth quarter of 2016. This is a small decline in the annual rate from the previous quarter, which was 4.4%.

Price changes

The ‘Alcohol and Tobacco’ category had the highest rate of annual price increase, at 10.8%, and prices in the ‘Food’ category continued to increase faster than the average, at 7.0% (Chart 1). Food has a much larger share of the average shopping basket and a correspondingly larger impact on the overall inflation rate. The inflation rate for ‘Housing’ increased sharply, from 0.4% in the third quarter to 4.6% in the fourth quarter, largely due to the increase in the water tariff introduced by the utilities company Connect from 1 October 2017. The categories with the lowest price inflation rate were ‘Household Goods’, at 0.1%, and ‘Fuel and Light’, which includes electricity, at 0.2%. Table 2 shows annual inflation rates by category for Q3 and Q4 2017.

Average inflation for 2017

For some purposes, an average inflation rate is more useful than the latest quarterly annual inflation rate, since the quarterly rates are subject to some variability as prices of different items change throughout the year. The Statistics Office publishes average rates for each calendar year, calculated as the average rate of the four quarters that make up that year. For 2017, the average annual rate was 5.1%, an increase compared to the average quarterly rate for 2016. This is the highest average rate for five years; for the four years 2013 to 2016, the average inflation rate was around 2% (see Chart 2).

Prices of imported goods

St Helena imports most items from abroad, especially from South Africa and the United Kingdom. So price changes of imported goods, caused either by inflation or the exchange rate between the St Helena Pound and the South African Rand, have a direct impact on the St Helena inflation rate. Towards the end of 2017, the value of the South African Rand fell slightly against the Pound (Chart 3). This has the effect of reducing the price of South African goods slightly. In addition, the South African inflation rate (measures using their Consumer Price Index) also fell slightly. That means that while prices are still rising in South Africa, they are rising at a slower rate. Both of these trends contribute to the reduction in St Helena’s inflation rate. On the other hand, inflation in the United Kingdom has been rising, largely as a result of the weaker pound following the ‘Brexit’ vote to leave the European Union in June 2016 (Chart 4).This is also measured using the UK Consumer Price Index; please note that care should be taken when comparing CPIs, since their coverage may differ slightly.

What is the Retail Price Index (RPI)?

The Retail Price Index is the official measure of the average change in the retail prices of goods and services. It is estimated each quarter, or once every three months. Changes in the RPI measure retail price inflation, and are usually computed on an annual basis; that is, comparing price changes over a twelve month period.

What is price inflation?

Inflation simply means that something is growing or increasing, but when used in the context of the economy it usually refers to the change in average prices of goods and services over time. On St Helena, the primary measure of inflation is the RPI, and it is usually quoted as an annual estimate: it is the amount by which the RPI has grown over the preceding twelve months. A decrease in the RPI is also possible, though unusual – over a twelve month period, a drop in the RPI would result in retail price deflation.

Why do we measure the RPI?

The rate of change of retail prices is an important indicator of economic performance and is used by Government, businesses and society in general. It enables an understanding of the impact of price changes on households and individuals, including for specific groups of goods and services.

How is the Retail Price Index (RPI) constructed?

The basis for the RPI is the average cost of goods and services purchased by households on St Helena, or a weekly ‘shopping basket’. Items which households purchase more of, such as food, have a bigger share, or weight, in the RPI basket (the full specification of the RPI basket is available from the Statistics Office website). The current RPI uses a basket from the last Household Expenditure Survey in 2009, and baseline prices for that basket were recorded in the second quarter of 2010. Prices have been collected every quarter since then, to calculate the latest price of the average shopping basket. By convention, the value of the basket in the baseline period is scaled to 100, and the RPI values are quoted in relation to that baseline. Thus, an RPI value of 120 means that average prices have increased by 20 per cent compared to those recorded in the base period.

What happens when an item is not available?

If a particular item is not available during a round of price checks, a series of prescribed steps are followed to ensure the RPI measurement is not distorted. An important principle is that price changes should reflect actual price increases, and not changes in the quality of items. If an item is not available then either the previous price will be carried forward from the previous quarter, or a suitable substitute item will be identified and an adjustment calculation made. Great care is taken to ensure that this substitution is similar to the original item, that it represents the item category, and that it does not introduce error to the measurement of the RPI.

News from the Statistics Office

Fieldwork for the 2017 Household Expenditure Survey is complete A Household Expenditure Survey was conducted by the Statistics Office during October and November 2017, the ninth survey of its kind on St Helena. It will be used to compute a baseline average ‘shopping basket’ for the Retail Price Index, updating the current shopping basket which was measured in 2009. The Statistics Office would like to express its thanks to all those households that participated in the survey. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated, and all responses will be treated with the utmost confidentiality, as required by the Statistics Ordinance. The Statistics Office is currently processing the raw data, and the aim is to rebase the RPI in March.

How many people live on St Helena? Where do they live? What’s the size of the economy? St Helena in Figures provides useful ‘at-a-glance’ statistics and trends about the population, the economy, education, health and the climate of St Helena.

This new online version updated the previous editions that were published as a small folding card. A two-page paper version is also available – download it here.

Comments or queries? Please contact us here.

Population Projections

This Bulletin provides a summary of the population projections produced using the dataset from the 2016 Population & Housing Census (the census was conducted in February 2016, and a summary report and a set of tables detailing the results are available). To accompany this Bulletin, a detailed dataset is available.

Population projections help understand the size and structure of the future population, and are a useful input for planning and managing St Helena’s development. But it is important to bear in mind that these projections are the result of a number of assumptions about the future patterns of growth in St Helena’s population. Small changes in the actual fertility, mortality and migration patterns may have quite large impacts on the size of different groups of the population. For this reason, population projections are not predictions; rather, they show how St Helena’s population would evolve if the assumptions that are made were to hold true.

Summary Results

Table 1 provides key results from projections made under three different assumptions of migration: no migration (no immigration or emigration); a low immigration model from observed patterns in 2014/15 (model 1); and a higher immigration model from observed patterns between 2010 and 2016 (model 2). In all cases, assumptions about fertility and mortality are the same and are based on recent trends, which have been relatively stable.

With no migration, there will be a fall in the size of St Helena’s population, because the number of deaths each year is likely to continue to be more than the number of births. The low and high migration models, however, both result in an increase in population size. Both the no migration and low migration scenarios result in a reduction in the working age population, and under all three scenarios the old age dependency ratio – the ratio of those aged 65 and over compared to those of working age – increases.

Under the no migration assumption, the total population falls by around 220 people by 2026, with a decrease of over 340 in the labour force and an increase of almost 150 in the number age 65 and over. The median age increases to 49, and the old age dependency ratio increases to 0.41 (only Japan currently has an old age dependency ratio higher than 0.41).

Under migration model 1 (low), the number of children age 15 or younger increases by almost 100 by 2026, the number in the labour force decreases by over 70, and the number of persons aged 65 and over increases by almost 190. The median age increase very slightly to 47, but the old age dependency ratio still increases substantially, to 0.39.

Under migration model 2 (high), by 2026 the number of children aged 15 and younger increases by 240, the number in the labour force increases by more than 480, and the number aged 65 and over increases by almost 300. The median age drops slightly to 45, and the old age dependency ratio still rises significantly, but at a slower pace.

Chart 1. Projected age distribution of St Helena’s population under three migration scenarios

Methodology

Population projections are based on assumptions about future patterns of fertility, mortality and migration. Key inputs are the age-specific fertility rates of women, the sex ratio at birth (i.e. the likelihood of a boy or girl), age-specific death rates of both men and women, and age-specific rates of emigration and immigration of men and women.

Estimates of age-specific fertility rates have been based on the ‘Average’ pattern published by the United Nations, adjusted for an estimated St Helena total fertility rate of 1.9 births per woman. The total fertility rate is the average number of children expected to be born to a woman over her lifetime assuming she lives throughout her reproductive years, and has been calculated using counts of local births, broken down by the age of the mother and the year of birth, and then combined with UK fertility rates.

The sex ratio at birth is assumed to be 105 male births per 100 female births, consistent with international averages.

Age-specific mortality rates are based on the patterns in the United Nations General Life Table, adjusted for life expectancy rates (at birth) on St Helena of 73 years for men and 79 years for women. Additionally, it has been assumed that life expectancy will increase by one year for every ten years of the population projection (in other words, if life expectancy is 73 in 2017 it will be 74 in 2027), consistent with the UN working model of life expectancy improvement.

While fertility and mortality rates are relatively stable, the third parameter – migration – is both highly volatile and very influential. Three variants have been used. The first is a no migration model, which assumes that there is no inward or outward migration (this is clearly unrealistic, but it provides a baseline). The second is a low immigration model, using the migration patterns between April 2014 and March 2015 which results in net immigration to St Helena of around 60 people per year. The third is a higher immigration model, assuming average migration patterns from 2010-16, resulting in net immigration of around 130 persons per year. In both the low and high migration models, temporary airport construction workers have been assumed to depart in 2017.

Table 2 summarises the migration assumptions in the two migration models (for full details, please refer to the data file). It should be noted that changes to the age and sex distribution of these models would yield different results. For example, migration model 2 (high) assumes the largest immigration in the 30-34 age group. Adjusting this to an older age group would result in an increase in the median age, and would likely impact the old age dependency ratio. Population projections using different assumptions about migration can be produced – please contact the Statistics Office.

The detailed calculations were completed the help of the Spectrum software package (version 5.41, DemProj module, see http://www.avenirhealth.org/software-spectrummodels.php#demproj). Many thanks are extended to Paula McLeod and Brendan Wahler, former Statistical Commissioner and staff member of the Statistics Office respectively, for preparing these projections.

Some Terms Explained

Old age dependency ratio: the ratio of the number of people aged 65 and over compared to the number of people aged between 15 and 64 (i.e. the approximate size of the labour force).

Median age: the age that divides the population into two equal groups. Half the population is younger than the median age, and half is older.

Sex ratio at birth: the number of male births per female births.

Age specific fertility rate: the number of live births per 1,000 women in a specific age group.

Total fertility rate: the number of children that would be born to a woman if she were to live to the end of her childbearing years.

Age specific mortality rate: the number of deaths per 1,000 population in a specific age group.

Life expectancy at birth: how long, on average, a new born can be expected to live, if current death rates prevail throughout their lifetime.

Population estimates

At the end of September 2017 the estimated number of persons on St Helena, residents plus visitors, was about 4,439. The resident population, excluding visitors, was estimated to be 4,354. This is a seasonal drop of around 200 persons from December 2016, but is almost the same when compared to the same period last year. The St Helenian population is estimated to have been 4,053 at the end of September 2017.

St Helena’s total on-Island population has increased significantly in the last few years, but has declined slightly following the completion of the construction of the new Airport. The number of people on St Helena has a distinctive seasonal pattern – during the warmer months around Christmas, more people visit or return home, and there are slightly less people present during St Helena’s cooler winter months between June and October. Chart 2 shows the average increase or decrease in the population at the end of each month during the year, between 2010 and 2017.

Births and deaths

In the first nine months of 2017 there were a total of 32 births and 41 deaths registered on St Helena (Table 1). This is slightly more than the number of births and deaths registered on St Helena in the same period a year ago, which was 28 and 38 respectively. In 2017, so far, there have been more deaths than births, following the trend of the last few years (Chart 3).

Arrivals and departures

The estimated number of passenger arrivals in the third quarter of 2017 was 707, with 2,730 arrivals up to the end of September (Table 2). In the third quarter there were an estimated 691 passenger departures, with total departures for 2017 to the end of September estimated to be 2,916. Please note that very short-term visits by cruise ship passengers are excluded, as are any arrivals in October, including those arriving on the new scheduled commercial air service. These will be included in statistics for October, which we aim to publish as soon as possible.

Chart 4 illustrates the highly seasonal nature of total arrivals and departures; in most years, arrivals and departures in the last and first quarter of each year are almost twice that of the second and third quarters.

So far in 2017, up to the end of September, most passengers arrived on the RMS St Helena (1,838), followed by yachts and other vessels (709). 183 arrivals have been by air; but please note that these figures do not yet include the number of passengers arriving using the new scheduled weekly air service to Johannesburg and Cape Town. Chart 5 shows the mode of transport of arrivals to St Helena from 2011 to 2016 (very short-term visits by cruise ships are excluded).

Terms explained

Total on-Island population

This is the total number of people present on St Helena at any point in time, and includes residents, both St Helenians and non-St Helenians, and short-term visitors. It is often also referred to as the ‘de facto’ population.

Resident population

This is the on-island population, less short-term visitors and those staying on-board yachts or ships, including the RMS St Helena. In other words, this is the population that lives on St Helena, both St Helenians and non-St Helenians. It is estimated through the St Helena population census, and then adjusted each quarter for the number of births and deaths, using registrations, and net migration, using immigration records, including those that declare themselves as a returning resident. This measure is sometimes called the ‘de jure’ population.

St Helenian population

This is the resident population, less those residents who are not St Helenian or do not have ‘St Helenian status’.