Facts about 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.

Geography of the Turks and Caicos Islands

Caribbean, two island groups in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of The Bahamas, north of Haiti
21 45 N, 71 35 W
total: 430 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 430 sq km
Area comparative:
2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
389 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
tropical; marine; moderated by trade winds; sunny and relatively dry
low, flat limestone; extensive marshes and mangrove swamps
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Blue Hills 49 m
Natural resources:
spiny lobster, conch
Natural hazards:
frequent hurricanes
Environment current issues:
limited natural fresh water resources, private cisterns collect rainwater
Geography - note:
about 40 islands (eight inhabited)

Population of the Turks and Caicos Islands

22,352 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 31.9% (male 3,432/female 3,312)
15-64 years: 64.4% (male 7,155/female 6,457)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 362/female 434)
Median age:
27.5 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
15.18 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.73 years
male: 72.48 years
female: 77.08 years
Fertility rate:
3.05 children born/woman
noun: none
adjective: none
Ethnic groups:
black 90%, mixed, European, or North American 10%
Baptist 40%, Methodist 16%, Anglican 18%, Church of God 12%, other 14%
English (official)
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
female: 98%
male: 99%
total population: 98%


Country name:
conventional short form: Turks and Caicos Islands
Dependency status:
overseas territory of the UK
Grand Turk (Cockburn Town)
National holiday:
Constitution Day, 30 August (1976)
introduced 30 August 1976; suspended in 1986; restored and revised 5 March 1988
Legal system:
based on laws of England and Wales, with a few adopted from Jamaica and The Bahamas
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II; represented by Governor Gordon WETHERELL
head of government: Premier Michael Eugene MISICK (chief minister since 15 August 2003, sworn in as premier on 9 August 2006); note - the office of premier was created in the 2006 constitution
cabinet: Cabinet consists of the governor, the premier, six ministers appointed by the governor from among the members of the House of Assembly, and the attorney general
elections: 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:
unicameral Legislative Council (19 seats of which 13 are popularly elected; members serve four-year terms)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court


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 175,000 visitors that arrived in 2004. Major sources of government revenue also include fees from offshore financial activities and customs receipts.

$216 million (2002 est.)
GDP growth rate:
4.9% (2000 est.)
GDP per capita:
$11,500 (2002 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
about 33% in government and 20% in agriculture and fishing; significant numbers in tourism, financial, and other services
revenues: $47 million
expenditures: $33.6 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997-98 est.)
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0%
tourism, offshore financial services
corn, beans, cassava (tapioca), citrus fruits; fish
lobster, dried and fresh conch, conch shells
Export partners:
food and beverages, tobacco, clothing, manufactures, construction materials
Import partners:
US dollar (USD)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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