The data file from the 2016 Population Census has been updated with the occupations of those resident household members that were economically active at the time of the census, by gender and by nationality. Census 2016 Data.

Additional statistical series and indicators are available on the Statistics Data page, and published statistical reports, including Statistical Bulletins, can be found on the Statistics Reports and Publications page.

We welcome comments and suggestions on any of the statistics published by the Statistics Office. Please email: statistics@sainthelena.gov.sh, call tel: 22138, or visit the office in person on the second floor of the Castle, Jamestown.

In this bulletin: estimates of arrivals, departures, and the total population

The focus of this Statistical Bulletin is arrivals and departures to and from St Helena, especially by air; St Helena’s first regular scheduled air service began more than a year ago on October 14, 2017.

The primary source for the statistics in this release are records collected by the Immigration Office of the Police Directorate for arrivals and departures, and the Customer Service Centre at the Post Office for births and deaths. A full set of statistics and indicators can be downloaded in Excel format from the ‘Population’ file on the St Helena Statistics website at: www.sainthelena.gov.sh/statistics-data.

Total arrivals

People arrive on St Helena either by ship, by yacht, and – since the construction of St Helena’s airport in 2016 – by air (note that day visitors from cruise ships are not included in statistics on passenger arrivals, although they are included in Table 1 for completeness). For the one year period October 2017 to September 2018, excluding cruise ship passengers, 5,235 people arrived at St Helena altogether. This is a record number of arrivals in recent times; the next highest number since 2010 was 4,205 in 2014/15, for the same October to September period.

Until 2018, most arrivals by sea have been by ship, on the RMS St Helena (following withdrawal of the RMS St Helena from service in February 2018, most arrivals by sea are by yacht). Chart 2 compares the average monthly arrivals on the RMS St Helena between 2010 and 2017 with monthly arrivals by air over the past year. Apart from the first three months of the new commercial air service, when the RMS St Helena was also still in service, arrivals by air have been higher. There is a clear seasonal pattern of arrivals around the Christmas months of December and January, but it is less pronounced for air arrivals compared to arrivals by the RMS St Helena.

Purpose of visit of arrivals by air

The purpose of visit of all persons arriving on St Helena has been classified as either returning resident, business, tourism/holiday, or in transit. Within tourism/holiday, there are two groups: St Helenians who usually live abroad but who return for short periods typically to visit family and friends, and other nationalities (i.e. non-St Helenians).

Around half of all arrivals by air were for tourism or holiday (1,650 people or 49%) and just under half were arrivals of returning residents or those coming for business or employment (1,538, or 46%). It should be noted that these figures do not include a full year of commercial air operations because the service started in the middle of October; for a full year (365 days) of commercial flights, the first two flights of October 2018 would need to be added.

Chart 4 illustrates arrivals by air by month; the typical seasonal pattern of non-St Helenian tourists is quite pronounced, but the pattern of St Helenians arriving for holiday visits over the past year by air has been quite different, with the most popular month being July. This coincides with the UK summer holiday season, but it is also likely that many St Helenians abroad chose to use the RMS St Helena over the 17/18 Christmas period, while the service was still operating.

Length of stay of tourist/holiday visitors arriving by air

The average length of stay has been calculated for those arriving by air for tourism or holiday purposes, and with a stay of less than six months. Only those visitors that have left are included; this helps exclude those that might arrive initially for a short period for a holiday, but who stay for much longer.

Overall, during the first year of commercial air operations, most tourist/holiday visitors stayed for about a week (Chart 5). But there are differences between St Helenians and non-St Helenians: St Helenians stay much longer than other nationalities. Over 70% of non-St Helenian tourists stayed for a week or less, with less than 10% staying for a month or more. But 75% of St Helenians visiting on holiday stayed longer, with less than 10% staying for a week or less.

Another measure is the total number of nights spent by the different groups of visitors, calculated by adding together the length of stay of each visitor that left. St Helenians visiting on holiday and arriving by air spent just under 17,000 nights in total on St Helena between October 2017 and September 2018, compared to just over 9,000 nights in total by non-St Helenian tourists – even though there were more arrivals of non-St Helenian tourists. This is because St Helenian visitors stayed longer, on average. From the total nights spent, it is possible to derive an average for the number of people on St Helena each night, by dividing by the number of days in the year (365). The average persons per night for those arriving by air for tourism/holiday was around 72, with 25 tourists and 47 visiting St Helenians. Like all averages, this does not measure the actual number of people on St Helena on every night of the year – on some nights, there would have been more, and some nights less.

Characteristics of arrivals for tourism/holiday

Charts 6a to 6c show various characteristics of tourism/holiday visitors that arrived by air in the last 12 months. There were slightly more men than women, and almost 70% were 40 or older. Apart from St Helenian, the most common nationalities were British, South African, and French (20%, 17% and 3% respectively).

Births and deaths

There were two births between July and September, the lowest quarterly number recorded since at least 2010. It brings the total number of births so far in 2018 to 15. There were seven deaths in the third quarter of 2018, which was also very low compared with recent trends. 33 deaths have been recorded to date in 2018 – more than double the number of births. Statistics on births and deaths are derived from records maintained by the Customer Service Centre, St Helena Post Office.

Total population

Estimates of the total population are calculated by combining the number of arrivals and departures and the number of births and deaths with the estimated population from the 2016 Census. At the end of September 2018 the number of St Helenians on St Helena was estimated to be 4,282, an increase of 47 compared to August 2018 and of 228 compared to September 2017. The estimated number of persons on St Helena, residents plus visitors, was 4,539, about the same as the previous month but an increase of 99 compared to the year before.

Definitions and methodology

The classification of arrivals and departures into purpose of visit or departure is based on the declarations made to Immigration Officers. Tourism/holiday includes short-term visitors or departures (i.e. less than six months) for tourism or holiday purposes, and it includes St Helenians visiting short-term to see family and friends, both those that live permanently abroad and those who are away for a period of overseas employment. Day visitors arriving on cruise ships are not included in either arrivals or departures. Business and employment includes short-term and long-term arrivals who arrive for work purposes, including those employed by the St Helena Government on contract (and their families). Returning residents are people who are returning to their normal place of residence (for arrivals, this excludes those returning for the purpose of business or employment). It also includes people returning permanently from periods of overseas employment. Transit includes those for whom St Helena is not their final destination; it includes most arrivals by yacht and any people transiting to or from a ship via air.

Three categories of the total population are used. The on-island population is an estimate of the total number of people on St Helena at the end of the given period (this is sometimes also referred to as the ‘de facto’ population). The resident population is an estimate of the total number of people living on St Helena (i.e. excluding any short-term visitors), regardless of their nationality. The on-island St Helenian population is an estimate of the total number of St Helenians on the island, regardless of their residence status.

Data improvements

The Statistics Office aims to constantly improve the quality and usefulness of the statistics it produces. For this release, new series have been calculated for 2017 and earlier, to distinguish St Helenians visiting on holiday from other tourists.

Two adjustments have also been to improve comparability between the statistics derived from the new data management system introduced by the Immigration Office in January 2018 and the previous system. The first adjustment is that St Helenians returning for a short term holiday visit from overseas employment have been categorised within the tourism/holiday grouping as St Helenians returning for a holiday (they had been previously categorised as returning residents). The second adjustment is that persons arriving on a yacht have been uniformly classified in the transit category, unless their destination was St Helena.

Data on Population, including total population and arrivals and departures up to September 2018 have been released on October 12, 2018: Population.

Additional statistical series and indicators are available on the Statistics Data page, and published statistical reports, including Statistical Bulletins, can be found on the Statistics Reports and Publications page.

We welcome comments and suggestions on any of the statistics published by the Statistics Office. Please email: statistics@sainthelena.gov.sh, call tel: 22138, or visit the office in person on the second floor of the Castle, Jamestown.

This bulletin includes estimates of the latest annual price inflation rates for the third quarter of 2018, calculated from the Retail Price Index (RPI). 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-data. Detailed data can be accessed in Excel format here. The pdf version of the full Bulletin can be found here.

Average inflation rate

The latest rate of annual price inflation is estimated to be 4.1%, between the third quarter of 2018 and the third quarter of 2017. This is a 0.7 percentage point increase from the previous quarter, when the annual price inflation rate was measured at 3.4% (Chart 1).

Contributing factors

The two price changes with the most impact this quarter were the increases in the price of water from Connect, and the increase in the local telephone service provided by Sure. There were some other notable price increases, such as flour and soft drinks, but the price of some imported fruit, for example apples and oranges, fell – this is consistent with a reduction in the import duty from 20% to 5% for all fruit and vegetables without added salt or sugar.

There are more than 200 items in the RPI ‘basket’, but some 70% were unchanged in price from the previous quarter. While increases in freight rates for the MV Helena will tend to increase the price of imported goods, the depreciation of the Rand compared to the St Helena Pound over the year (of just over 5%) has the opposite effect, by decreasing their price. The ability of the MV Helena to transport more weight per container may also have helped mitigate the price increases in freight. The prices of goods imported from South Africa and the United Kingdom are also affected by inflation in those economies; in August, annual inflation was 4.9% in South Africa and 2.7% in the UK.

Inflation rates of RPI categories

Average prices for all the categories of the RPI increased compared to the year before (Chart 2) – in other words, inflation rates were all positive. Categories with the highest rates were ‘Communications’, with an annual inflation rate of 10.8% compared to 0.9% last quarter, and ‘Housing’, with a rate of 6.9% compared to 4.5% last quarter. These rates reflect the impact of the increases to the telephone and water tariffs, introduced by Sure and Connect respectively.

‘Household energy’ remains the expenditure category with the lowest annual inflation rate, at 1.4%. This is mainly due to the price for domestic electricity, which accounts for over 85% of the category but whose price has not changed since 2016. The annual inflation rate of food was 2.8%, which means that the average price of food has increased compared to a year ago, but at a slightly lower annual rate than last quarter. This is the result of a combination of factors, including the reduction in import duty from 20% to 5% for all fruit and vegetables without added salt or sugar and the slight fall in the value of the Rand compared to a year ago (which makes imported goods cheaper), offsetting some of the increase in prices caused by changes to freight rates and price inflation in South Africa and the UK.

What is price inflation?

Price inflation is the change in the average prices of goods and services over time. The rate of price inflation is calculated from the change in the Retail Price Index (RPI), which is the official measure of the average change in the prices of goods and services paid by consumers. The RPI is estimated each quarter, or once every three months, and the rate of price inflation is usually quoted on an annual basis; that is, comparing price changes over a twelve month period. Prices and the RPI tend to go up, but they can occasionally go down – which is price deflation.

Why do we measure inflation?

An accurate measure of price inflation helps understand the extent and nature of the impact of price changes on the government, businesses, households and individuals.

How is the RPI calculated?

The basis for the RPI is the average weekly cost of goods and services purchased by households on St Helena, sometimes called the ‘shopping basket’. Items which households purchase more of, such as food, have the biggest share of the RPI basket. The current RPI uses a basket from the latest Household Expenditure Survey in 2017; prices of the items in the basket are collected every quarter, and the price of the total basket is compared to the price in the baseline period, the first quarter of 2018. 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. For example, an RPI value of 120 means that average prices have increased by 20 per cent compared to those recorded in the baseline period.

What happens when items are not available?

If an item of the ‘basket’ 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. Care is taken to ensure that this substitute item represents the item category and that it does not introduce error to the measurement of the RPI. An important principle is that price changes should reflect actual price increases, and not changes in the quality of items.

Data on Population, including total population and arrivals and departures up to August 2018 have been released on September 25, 2018: Population.

Additional statistical series and indicators are available on the Statistics Data page, and published statistical reports, including Statistical Bulletins, can be found on the Statistics Reports and Publications page.

We welcome comments and suggestions on any of the statistics published by the Statistics Office. Please email: statistics@sainthelena.gov.sh, call tel: 22138, or visit the office in person on the second floor of the Castle, Jamestown.

As of 18 September 2018, the following files have been updated:

Inflation, including average annual price inflation rates and the Retail Price Index – latest data are Quarter 2, 2018.

Benefits, including total households claiming income related benefits and persons claiming the basic island pension and unemployment benefits  – latest data are August 2018

Construction, including data on building permits and construction activity – latest data are Quarter 2 2018

Population, including births, deaths, total population, and arrivals and departures – latest data are July 2018

Ascension Population, including population figures from Ascension Island – Quarter 2 2018

Exchange Rates, including the value St Helena pound compared to the US Dollar, South African Rand, and the Euro – latest data August 2018

Additional statistical series and indicators are available on the Statistics Data page, and published statistical reports, including Statistical Bulletins, can be found on the Statistics Reports and Publications page.

We welcome comments and suggestions on any of the statistics published by the Statistics Office. Please email: statistics@sainthelena.gov.sh, call tel: 22138, or visit the office in person on the second floor of the Castle, Jamestown.

This Bulletin presents the latest estimates of the size of the population of St Helena, the number of arrivals and departures (including detailed statistics on arrivals by air), and the number of births and deaths.

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.

Population estimates

At the end of June 2018 the number of St Helenians on St Helena was estimated to be 4,300, almost 7% higher than at the end of June 2017, and very close to the peak number of 4,334 recorded at the end of December 2017. The estimated number of persons on St Helena, residents plus visitors, was 4,663, is a slight decrease compared to the end of March 2018, but a 5.3% annual increase compared to the end of June 2017.

Arrivals and departures

The total number of arrivals for the second quarter of 2018 was estimated to be 1,093 (see Table 1). This is much lower than the 1,852 arrivals in the first quarter, when both the new scheduled air service and the RMS St Helena were operating. However compared to a year ago, when there were 770 arrivals in the second quarter, it is a significant increase of 323 people or more than 40%.

Of the 1,093 arrivals in the second quarter, 77% (841) arrived by air, with the remainder arriving by yachts or ships, usually in transit to other destinations. As expected, as a result of moving into the off-peak season, the number of air arrivals in the second quarter was around 200 less than the first quarter, when 1,038 people arrived by air. The last and first quarters of each year usually see a larger number of visits, since these are the warmer months on St Helena, and St Helenians living overseas tend to visit during this period (see Chart 2).

Since the scheduled air service began, 30% of all persons arriving by air have been tourists – excluding those St Helenians who live abroad returning for a short-term holiday, who were around 16% of all persons. People returning to their home on St Helena were a further 24%, and those arriving on St Helena for business, including persons and their families recruited overseas to work on St Helena, were 25% (Chart 3).

Within the group of passengers who came to St Helena for a short-term holiday visit, 35% were St Helenian, 22% were British, and 21% were South African – comprising together just under 80% of all arrivals. Of the remainder, most were from countries in Europe (Chart 4).

Further details of air arrivals are given in Table 1, and in the ‘Population’ data file at www.sainthelena.gov.sh/statistics-data.

Even though the number of tourists arriving on St Helena was greater than the number of St Helenians arriving for a holiday to visit family and friends, the total number of nights they stayed on the island was less. This is because, on average, visiting St Helenians tend to stay longer than those visiting for tourism purposes (Chart 5).

Table 2 has more details, including totals by quarter and the average length of stay for St Helenians on holiday visits (30 days per visitor) and for non-St Helenian tourists (10 days per tourist). More data, including figures by month from 2010 onwards, are given in the ‘Population’ data file at www.sainthelena.gov.sh/statistics-data.

The total number of departures for the second quarter of 2018 was 1,139, substantially less than the first quarter (1,957) but about the same as the fourth quarter of 2017. This reflects the typical observed seasonal pattern, when St Helenians visiting for the Christmas period return in the first quarter of the year. Just over two–thirds of all departures were people returning to their usual place of residence. Some 14% were people who left to take up an overseas employment opportunity or to emigrate, and a further 10% were residents of St Helena departing for a holiday (see Table 3).

Births and deaths

In the second quarter of 2018, there were a total of seven births and 13 deaths registered on St Helena; this is almost the same as the previous quarter, when there were also 13 deaths, but six births.

However the number of births almost 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 twelve months, there have been 27 births and 57 deaths.

Two statistical updates have been released on July 11, 2018 as follows:

Production, including animal slaughtering, fish catches and sales, and forestry, to the end of 2017.

Weather and climate, including rainfall, sunshine, wind and humidity, to May 2018

Additional statistical series and indicators are available on the Statistics Data page, and published statistical reports, including Statistical Bulletins, can be found on the Statistics Reports and Publications page.

We welcome comments and suggestions on any of the statistics published by the Statistics Office. Please email: statistics@sainthelena.gov.sh, call tel: 22138, or visit the office in person on the second floor of the Castle, Jamestown.

About this Bulletin

This bulletin includes estimates of the latest annual price inflation rates for the second quarter of 2018, calculated from the Retail Price Index (RPI). 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-data.

Average inflation rate

The latest rate of annual price inflation is estimated to be 3.4%, between the second quarter of 2018
and the second quarter of 2017. This is an increase from the previous annual price inflation rate for
the first quarter of 2018, which was 2.8% (Chart 1).

Inflation rates of RPI categories

The category with the lowest annual inflation rate is ‘Household energy’, where prices at the end of quarter 2 2018 were unchanged compared to a year earlier. This is mostly due to unchanged prices for domestic electricity, which makes up over 85% of items in this group. Since the amount of electricity in the RPI is high (6.4%) based on average household expenditure patterns, this also has an impact on the overall inflation rate, offsetting some of the increases in other categories. ‘Communications’ also had a low annual inflation rate, at 0.9%.

Inflation rates for the other categories were all higher than 3%. Of these, ‘Alcohol and Tobacco’ had the highest rate, at 6.0% (see Chart 2). The annual increase in the price of food also increased quite sharply from 2.9% to 4.1%, and since food has a large weight in the RPI (34.4%, or around a third), this is a major factor in the observed rise in annual price inflation.

It should be noted that there were some changes to the composition of the ‘Communication’, ‘Miscellaneous’, and ‘Household goods and services’ categories as a result of the new classification
introduced for the 2017 Household Expenditure Survey (HES). For instance, non-communication services were previously included in the ‘Services’ category, but are now included in the ‘Miscellaneous’ and ‘Household goods and services’ categories. The previous ‘Services’ category is now ‘Communication’, and it now excludes non-communication services. The report on the 2017 HES results has more details of these changes (see page 8 of the report), including full details of the ‘rebasing’ exercise introduced for the RPI from Quarter 1, 2018. These changes mean than annual comparisons between these three categories should be made with care, since there are slight differences in their composition.

Price changes of selected goods and services

Since St Helena imports many goods from South Africa and the United Kingdom, prices paid by consumers are affected by the prices paid by importers for goods overseas, and the cost of importing those goods to St Helena, including freight rates and customs duties. During the first half of 2018 there were several changes which will impact prices of imported goods, including:

  • Changes to the freight tariff caused by the retirement of the RMS St Helena and the introduction of a replacement shipping service, the MV Helena
  • Changes in the exchange rate of the Pound against the Rand; the Pound strengthened slightly against the Rand towards the end of 2017, although it weakened again in the early months of 2018
  • Price inflation in South Africa, which rose from an annual rate of 3.4% in March to 4.4% in May
  • Price inflation in the UK – annual price inflation fell slightly from a November 2017 high of 2.8% to 2.4% in April and May 2018
  • Changes in customs duty rates from May 1, 2018, including increases to taxes on alcohol and tobacco imports and sugary products including certain fruit juices, drinks, chocolate and confectionery, and decreases to some food and drink items, including water and certain fruit and vegetable products (see http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/changes-to-customs-excise-duty
    for full details).

Together, these factors can have varied and sometimes offsetting impacts on the overall inflation rate on St Helena. For example, significant quarter-on-quarter price increases were observed in sugar and syrup (11.8%), fruit juice (10.7%), and chocolate (10.6%), presumably reflecting the increase in duty rates for these products. At the same time, the recorded price of imported potatoes fell by 7.7% compared to the previous quarter, and imported gas cylinders also fell in price, by 4.4%.

There were also changes in the price of locally produced goods and services. The price of fresh beef, for example, rose by 9.5% compared to the previous quarter. Since beef comprises over 1.5% of the RPI shopping basket, this has a significant impact on the ‘Food’ inflation rate. Health service fees were also increased from 1 April (http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/health-and-social-welfare/feescharges-residents), although the impact of these changes on the inflation rate is relatively small since the combined weight of these items in the RPI basket is just over 0.5%. At the time of writing this Bulletin, there are also proposed increases to the price of water (from 1 July) and telephone calls (August), but these are not included in the second quarter inflation rate calculations; their impact will be measured next quarter, when they are implemented.

Even though there are many factors that affect prices, it should also be noted that between each quarter many prices remain unchanged. This quarter, for example, of the 203 categories in the RPI,
prices in 153 categories – around 75% – did not go up or down compared to the previous quarter. In this quarter in particular, this may be one result of delays in shipments from the United Kingdom, since prices on the shelves may be maintained until new stock arrives.

Rebasing the Retail Price Index

The Statistics Office has recently ‘rebased’ the RPI, using the data collected from the Household Expenditure Survey in November 2017. This involved calculating new expenditure patterns to update the shopping basket, for example adding items which are relevant now (e.g. mobile telephones) and deleting any that are no longer purchased. The calculations in this Bulletin use this new basket; further details are available in the report on the 2017 HES which can be found at http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/statistics-reports-and-publications.

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, 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 current RPI uses a basket from the latest Household Expenditure Survey in 2017, and baseline prices for that basket were recorded in the first
quarter of 2018 (the full specification of the RPI basket is available in the report on the 2017 HES). Prices are collected every quarter, to calculate the latest price of the RPI basket and to compare that to the price in Q1 2018. 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 – the usual notation is to write ‘Q1 2018 = 100’. 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.

Data on the number of people and households receiving social benefits and the Basic Island Pension up to May 2018 have been released on July 3, 2018: Benefits.

Additional statistical series and indicators are available on the Statistics Data page, and published statistical reports, including Statistical Bulletins, can be found on the Statistics Reports and Publications page.

We welcome comments and suggestions on any of the statistics published by the Statistics Office. Please email: statistics@sainthelena.gov.sh, call tel: 22138, or visit the office in person on the second floor of the Castle, Jamestown.