Population and Demography

This page shows charts, tables and commentaries on St Helena’s population structure and demographic trends.

For detailed data files (in Excel format) and other reports, please click here.

Total population

The total on-Island population, both residents and visitors, has fluctuated between 4,000 and 5,000 since 2010. The number of on-Island residents, excluding those away temporarily, is just over 4,000.

Annual population growth rates

Over the past few years there have been three periods of positive annual population growth of the resident population (end of month compared to same month of the previous year). The first was due to airport construction between 2012 and 2016, the second when the airport opened for scheduled flights in 2018, and the third was when travel was difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Each of these periods of growth were followed by periods when annual growth rates were negative, and the population size fell, particularly when flights reopened after the initial period of COVID-19.

Births and deaths

In the twenty years before 2000, the number of births exceeded the number of deaths in every year; in 1981 there were 82 more births than deaths. But after 2000 the number of deaths has exceeded the number of births in almost every year. In 2022 there were more than twice as many deaths (64) as births (27).

Demographic structure

The fall in the number of births, the increase in life expectancy, and the tendency for St Helenians to seek work opportunities abroad has led to a dramatic change in the demographic structure of the St Helenian population in the last 30 to 40 years. The number of children under 15 has dropped from around 1,500 in 1987 to around 550 in 2021. The number of people 65 and older was around 500 in 1987, but is just under 1,100 in 2021. And the number of people of roughly working age (15-64) was just under 3,500 in 1987, but is just below 2,500 in 2021.

Arrivals and departures

After the start of scheduled international air services to St Helena in October 2017 there was an
increase in the number of arrivals and departures each month, with peak travel occurring between
December and April each year. From March 2020, travel disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic
caused a major drop, however arrivals in the 2021/22 holiday season were considerably higher than the same period in 2020/21, and this trend continued into 2022 and 2023, with tourism numbers increasing - but not yet at their 2018-2020 level.


Travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in lower numbers of visitors on St Helena –both St Helenian and non-St Helenian. But, from the 2020/21 Christmas holiday season into 2021 to present, there was a higher number of visitors arriving, with the 2021/22 and 2022/23 holiday seasons showing a more typical pattern. At the end of March 2023, there were 188 visitors on St Helena, the highest March visitor numbers since March 2016 (278) pre commercial flights.