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’.

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