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This article is about the demographics of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, a British overseas territory in the south Atlantic Ocean.


The citizens of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha hold British Overseas Territories citizenship. On 21 May 2002 they were granted access to full British citizenship by the British Overseas Territories Act 2002 and there is a special Saint Helena passport issued to them.

Saint Helena

Saint Helena is the most populous part of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. The language spoken in Saint Helena is English.

The island has a small population of a few thousand inhabitants, mainly descended from Africans, Mixed race African and Europeans, British settlers, East India Company employees and indentured labourers from the South Asian sub-Continent, East Indies, Madagascar and China.[1]

The people of Saint Helena are Saint Helenians (though locally they are known as "Saints"); the demonym being Saint Helenian.

A census in February 2016 recorded a population of 4,534 on the island.[2] This compares with a figure of 4,257 recorded in 2008[3] and a figure of 5,157 recorded in 1998. The fall between 1998 and 2008 can be explained mostly by emigration, especially since 2002 when the islanders were granted full British citizenship. The main diasporas are to the United Kingdom, South Africa and more recently to the Falkland Islands, as well as on Ascension Island. The population density, based on the 2016 figure, is 37.3 persons per km2, or 95.3 per sq mile.

Districts of Saint Helena

The island of Saint Helena is administratively divided into eight districts,[4] each with a community centre. The districts also serve as statistical subdivisions. The island is a single electoral area, sending twelve representatives to the Legislative Council.

Districts of Saint Helena
[clarification needed]
sq mi
Alarm Forest 5.4 2.1 289 276 383 70.4
Blue Hill 36.8 14.2 177 153 158 4.3
Half Tree Hollow 1.6 0.6 1,140 901 984 633.2
Jamestown 3.9 1.5 884 716 629 161.9
Levelwood 14.8 5.7 376 316 369 25.0
Longwood 33.4 12.9 960 715 790 23.6
Sandy Bay 16.1 6.2 254 205 193 12.0
Saint Paul's 11.4 4.4 908 795 843 74.0
Royal Mail Ship
St. Helena[clarification needed]
149 171 183
20 9 13
Total 123.3 47.6 5,157 4,257 4,349 35.3

CIA World Factbook demographic statistics

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.[6]


NB: the following [CIA] figures represent the whole territory, including Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha.

By 2010 estimates, per one thousand population: the birth rate is 10.95 births, and the death rate is 6.91 deaths. In the same year, it was estimated that the rate of population growth was 0.404%.

The median age for 2010 is 38.2 years. The following tables describe age structure and human sex ratio, as estimated for 2010.

Births and deaths [7]

Year Population (×1000) Live births Deaths Natural increase Crude birth rate Crude death rate Rate of natural increase TFR
2009 35 41 −6 8.5 9.9 −1.4
2010 34 53 −19 8.0 12.5 −4.5
2011 34 49 −15 8.0 11.5 −3.5
2012 32 62 −30 7.8 15.0 −7.2
2013 35 55 −20
2014 48 61 −13 10.9 13.8 −2.9
Age structure
Age range (years) % of population Of which male Of which female
0–14 18.3 712 685
15–64 70.4 2,744 2,629
65+ 11.4 412 455
Sex ratio
Age range (years) Ratio male/female
at birth 1.049
0-14 1.04
15-64 1.04
65+ 0.94
Total 1.02

The total fertility rate for 2010 is estimated at 1.56 children born per woman.


According to the CIA World Factbook, 50% of the population of Saint Helena Island are African Saint Helenians, while Chinese Saint Helenians and White Saint Helenians make up 25% each. However, the possibility of clear-cut categorical divisions between ethnicities on present day St Helena, as reflected by these statistics, is disputed.[8] Most Saint Helenians today are multiracial, similar to the Cape Coloureds.

Ascension has no civilian population, while Tristan da Cunha has a white population descended primarily from the British Isles or from the Falkland Islands.


The majority of St. Helenians are Anglican. Other religions in St. Helena include (in alphabetic order): the Bahá'í Faith,[9] the Baptist church, Buddhism, Roman Catholicism, and Seventh-day Adventism.

According to the statistics in the 2014 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Saint Helena has the highest proportion of Jehovah's Witnesses of any country or territory in the world: one person in thirty-five, using an estimated population of 4,000 for St Helena and a count of 118 members.[10]

In Tristan da Cunha, Christianity is the main religion, with the largest denominations being Anglican and Roman Catholic.

Religious Resident population (St Helena) Percentage [11]
Yes 3676 84.5
No 266 6.1
Prefer not to say 407 9.4
Denomination Resident population (St Helena) Percentage
Anglican 2995 81.5
Jehovah's Witness 178 4.8
Baptist 93 2.5
Roman Catholic 53 1.4
New Apostolic 61 1.7
Seventh Day Adventist 77 2.1
Salvation Army 75 2.0
Baha'i 11 0.3
Other 97 2.6
Not Stated 36 1


Where being literate is defined as being of age 20 or over and able to read and write, 97% percent of the total population is literate, according to estimates from 1987. 97% of males and 98% of females of St. Helena are literate under this definition by the same estimates.


By 2010 estimates, life expectancy at birth for the total population is 78.6 years (for males it is 75.68; for females it is 81.67). The infant mortality rate is 16.98 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha

Ascension Island has no native inhabitants officially. A transient population of approximately 1,000 live on the Island, made up mainly of members of the American and British militaries, supporting civilian contractors who serve on the joint Anglo-American airbase, and members of their families (a few of whom were born on the island).

Tristan da Cunha has a population of about three hundred inhabitants of mainly mixed-British, -African, and -Italian descent.

See also


  1. ^ "Official Tourism Site linked from official Government of St Helena website". Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2008.
  2. ^ a b "Census 2016 – summary report" (PDF). St Helena Government. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b "2008 Population Census of St Helena" (PDF). St Helena Government. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  4. ^ St Helena Independent, 3 October 2008, p. 2
  5. ^ "Census 2016- Summary Data". St Helena Government. Archived from the original on 23 September 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  6. ^ https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sh.html CIA World Factbook
  7. ^ http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/dyb/dyb2.htm
  8. ^ See George, 2002, pp. 93–94 and Shine, 1970, pp. 15–16
  9. ^ http://www.sthelenabahai.org Website of the Bahá’í Community of St. Helena
  10. ^ 2014 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses. Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. p. 184.
  11. ^ http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Census-2016-Summary-Report.pdf

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