Turks and Caicos Islands

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The islands were part of the UK's Jamaican colony until 1962, when they assumed the status of a separate crown colony upon Jamaica's independence. The governor of The Bahamas oversaw affairs from 1965 to 1973. With Bahamian independence, the islands received a separate governor in 1973. Although independence was agreed upon for 1982, the policy was reversed and the islands remain a British overseas territory.



two island groups in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of The Bahamas, north of Haiti

Geographic coordinates

21.45° N, 71.35° W

Area 186/257

total: 948 sq km

land: 948 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km


389 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


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


low, flat limestone; extensive marshes and mangrove swamps


mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

highest point: Flamingo Hill 48 m

Natural resources

spiny lobster, conch

Land use

agricultural land: 1.1%

arable land 1.1%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 0%

forest: 36.2%

other: 62.7% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land


Natural hazards

frequent hurricanes

Environment - current issues

limited natural freshwater resources, private cisterns collect rainwater

Geography - note

about 40 islands (eight inhabited)

People and Society


noun: none

adjective: none

Ethnic groups

black 87.6%, white 7.9%, mixed 2.5%, East Indian 1.3%, other 0.7% (2006)


English (official)


Protestant 72.8% (Baptist 35.8%, Church of God 11.7%, Anglican 10%, Methodist 9.3%, Seventh-Day Adventist 6%), Roman Catholic 11.4%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.8%, other 14%

Population 211/238

50,280 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 22.01% (male 5,637/female 5,429)

15-24 years: 14.64% (male 3,614/female 3,748)

25-54 years: 53.37% (male 13,598/female 13,238)

55-64 years: 5.7% (male 1,558/female 1,309)

65 years and over: 4.27% (male 958/female 1,191) (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 32.4 years

male: 32.7 years

female: 32 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 35/233

2.3% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 119/224

16.13 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 220/225

3.1 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 10/222

9.94 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 92.2% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 2.48% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

GRAND TURK (capital) 5,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.19 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female

total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 130/224

total: 10.65 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 13.29 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 7.88 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 42/224

total population: 79.69 years

male: 76.94 years

female: 82.57 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 172/224

1.7 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Drinking water source


urban: 87% of population

rural: 87% of population

total: 87.1% of population


urban: 13% of population

rural: 13% of population

total: 12.9% of population (2007 est.)

Sanitation facility access


urban: 81.4% of population

rural: 81.4% of population

total: 81.4% of population


urban: 18.6% of population

rural: 18.6% of population

total: 18.6% of population (2007 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Education expenditures



Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Turks and Caicos Islands

abbreviation: TCI

Government type



name: Grand Turk (Cockburn Town)

geographic coordinates: 21.28° N, 71.08° W

time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November

Administrative divisions

none (overseas territory of the UK)


none (overseas territory of the UK)

National holiday

Constitution Day, 30 August (1976)


several previous; latest signed 7 August 2012, effective 15 October 2012 (Turks and Caicos Constitution Order 2011) (2015)

Legal system

mixed legal system of English common law and civil law


see United Kingdom


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Peter BECKINGHAM (since 9 October 2013)

head of government: Premier Rufus EWING (since 13 November 2012)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor from among members of the House of Assembly

elections/appointments: the monarch is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party is appointed premier by the governor

Legislative branch

description: unicameral House of Assembly (19 seats; 15 members in multi-seat constituencies and a single all-islands constituency directly elected by simple majority vote, 1 member nominated by the premier and appointed by the governor, 1 nominated by the opposition party leader and appointed by the governor, and 2 from the Turks and Caicos Islands Civic Society directly appointed by the governor; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 9 November 2012 (next to be held in 2016)

election results: percent of vote - NA; seats by party - PNP 8, PDM 7

Judicial branch

highest resident court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and such number of other judges as determined by the governor); Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and 2 justices); note - appeals beyond the Supreme Court are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court and Appeals Court judges appointed by the governor in accordance with the Judicial Service Commission, a 3-member body of high level judicial officials; Supreme Court judges appointed until mandatory retirement at age 65, but can be extended to age 70; Appeals Court judge tenure determined by individual terms of appointment

subordinate courts: magistrates' courts

Political parties and leaders

People's Democratic Movement or PDM [Oswald SKIPPINGS]

People's Progressive Party

Progressive National Party or PNP [Rufus EWING]

Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation

Caricom (associate), CDB, Interpol (subbureau), UPU

Flag description

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 displays a conch shell, a spiny lobster, and Turks Head cactus - three common elements of the islands' biota

National symbol(s)

conch shell, Turks Head cactus

National anthem

name: "This Land of Ours"

lyrics/music: Conrad HOWELL

note: serves as a local anthem; as a territory of the United Kingdom, "God Save the Queen" is the official anthem (see United Kingdom)


Economy - overview

The Turks and Caicos economy is based on tourism, offshore financial services, and fishing. Most capital goods and food for domestic consumption are imported. The US is the leading source of tourists, accounting for more than three-quarters of the more than 1 million visitors that arrived in 2013. Three-quarters of the visitors came by ship. Major sources of government revenue also include fees from offshore financial activities and customs receipts.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 211/230

$632 million (2007 est.)

$568.3 million (2006 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate)

GDP - real growth rate 3/225

11.2% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 62/230

$29,100 (2007 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 23.4%

government consumption: 17.2%

investment in fixed capital: 55.6%

investment in inventories: 33.8%

exports of goods and services: 57.4%

imports of goods and services: -64%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.5%

industry: 10%

services: 89.5% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

corn, beans, cassava (manioc, tapioca), citrus fruits; fish


tourism, offshore financial services

Industrial production growth rate 83/202

3% (2015 est.)

Labor force 221/233

4,848 (1990 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

note: about 33% in government and 20% in agriculture and fishing; significant numbers in tourism, financial, and other services

Unemployment rate 114/207

10% (1997 est.)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%


revenues: $218.6 million

expenditures: $183.5 million (2015 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 128/226

2.5% (2015 est.)

3% (2014 est.)

Exports 208/224

$24.77 million (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities

lobster, dried and fresh conch, conch shells

Imports 190/223

$591.3 million (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities

food and beverages, tobacco, clothing, manufactures, construction materials

Debt - external

Exchange rates

the US dollar is used


Electricity - production 189/220

180 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 192/219

167.4 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 202/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 207/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 187/214

48,000 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 30/214

100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 189/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 206/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 131/212

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 196/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 195/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 132/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 196/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 134/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 196/212

1,300 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 135/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 192/213

1,261 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 134/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 198/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 191/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 139/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 198/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 201/212

159,400 Mt (2012 est.)


Telephone system

general assessment: fully digital system with international direct dialing

domestic: full range of services available; GSM wireless service available

international: country code - 1-649; the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) fiber optic telecommunications submarine cable provides connectivity to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2011)

Broadcast media

no local terrestrial TV stations, broadcasts from the Bahamas can be received and multi-channel cable and satellite TV services are available; government-run radio network operates alongside private broadcasters with a total of about 15 stations (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 2, FM 7, shortwave 0 (2003)

Television broadcast stations

0 (broadcasts received from The Bahamas; 2 cable television networks) (2003)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 86/232

73,217 (2012)


Airports 162/236

8 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 6

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 2

under 914 m: 2 (2013)

Roadways 213/223

total: 121 km

paved: 24 km

unpaved: 97 km (2003)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Cockburn Harbour, Grand Turk, Providenciales

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

have received Haitians fleeing economic and civil disorder

Illicit drugs

transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for the US and Europe