THE Falklands population is double the size it was in 1980 according to the full report on the October 10 2021 census released this week.
The report notes that population is driven by births, deaths and net migration (net migration is immigration less emigration). This flux in growth has led to the Falklands population being double the size it was in 1980. The 110 births and 111 deaths between 2017 and 2021 has accounted for a very slight decrease in population, but is a continuing downward trend when compared to previous census periods.
Net migration was also lower than previous census periods, by 20 per cent. This, according to the report, reflects the unusually low natural population increase between 2017 and 2021.
However, this could be as a result of the pandemic and country-specific immigration policy changes. The ‘usually resident’ population increased by an estimated 264 people over the census period, reaching a total of 3662 people in October 2021. The average age being 40.1 years old.
Falklands born
In 2021, there are 1530 residents who were born in the islands and 1898 who are classed as ‘foreign born’ in the census report. Of those, 749 (21.8%) were born in the UK, 369 (11%) in St Helena, 178 (approx. 5%) in Philippines, 168 in Chile, and 434 from other countries. 234 recorded ‘not known’ in this section.
130 individuals were born outside the Falkland Islands for medical reasons and returned to the Islands within 6 months of birth. For the purposes of the census, these individuals are considered Falkland Islands-born.
Overall, Falkland Islanders (including those with status) comprise 61% of the population, followed by Work Permit holders at 23% and Permanent Residence Permit holders at 10%.
Mortgage/rent
For mortgage or rent outgoings, just under half of all households (49%) reported their accommodation costs ranged from £401 to £700 per month. Overall this is an increase since the last census period. The report has calculated the average rent as £602 per month; it was £534 in 2016.
Work
There was a 10% increase in the number of people in work compared to 2016. The unemployment rate is still very low in the Falklands, less than 1%, and effectively creating full employment. The Falkland Islands Government remains the largest employer on the islands with 663 employees, which has increased by 138 since 2016. Second largest employment sector was construction (217), followed by Agriculture (204).
15% of those working were self-employed, a similar figure to that of the previous census.
Income
The average reported income was approximately £29,900, a 13% increase from 2016. The proportion of people who earned £15,000 or less per annum has decreased to 21% (25% in 2016), and only 17% of those employed earned more than £40,000. One in six people reported that they had more than one job. The difference between Stanley and Camp income is still closing with an average income of £30,400 in Stanley compared to £25,700 in Camp, although obviously the types of employment available in Camp are not the same as in Stanley.
The gender pay gap is beginning to close, males earning an average of £32,300 per annum compared to £27,000 for females.
Health
This is the second census to ask for people to rate their own health. 85% of the population rated their health as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. The statistics on this particular part of the census is interesting because it reports that “MPC residents were overwhelmingly more likely to report their health as being ‘good’ or ‘very good’ compared to other locations.” It is unclear as to why that might be as a number of factors could be at work to contribute to this particular figure.
The 2021 also included a question about life satisfaction for the first time and, according to the report, provides a useful snapshot of the life experiences of Falkland Islands residents. 99% of those questioned responded and rated their life satisfaction as 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. It was slightly higher at MPC (8.4).
Alcohol
Alcohol consumption in many countries continues to decline despite spikes recorded as a result of the pandemic. Here in the Falklands 69% of those over 16 reported to have consumed alcohol in the last 12 months, an increase of 3%. The largest increases were found in people aged 16 to 24 and also those aged 35 to 44 years old.
Late report – reasons
Asked why the report has taken so long to release FIG Head of Policy explained that The FIG Statistician is responsible for carrying out the census and producing the reports once they have analysed the data “However, the Policy Department has struggled to recruit into its key analytical roles since the time of the last census – the Statistician post has essentially remained vacant since December 2021, and we were without an Economist for a year from February 2022.”
She said as a result, “the resources available to us were extremely stretched – we published the key findings and a summary of the 2021 census results in October 2022 along with a core data set,