Early 2020 Saba had 1.9 thousand residents. This is 152 more than early 2010. The net migration figure was 18 in 2019 and 48 in 2010.
Native-born North Americans and Europeans more often have Dutch citizenship
Nearly all people born in the former Netherlands Antilles, Aruba or the European Netherlands have Dutch citizenship. In 2020 native-born North Americans and Europeans had Dutch citizenship slightly more often than in 2012. Native-born Central and South Americans, on the contrary, had Dutch citizenship slightly less often than before.
|Europe (excl. Netherlands)||14||16|
|Central and South America
(excl. Caribbean Netherlands)
|United States, Canada||3||5|
|Aruba, Curaçao, St Maarten||95||94|
Less single-person households
The proportion of single-person households declined from 60 percent in 2012 to 55 percent in 2020. This lower percentage of single-person households is related to the clean-ups of the population register. During these clean-ups students from North America who were temporarily living in Saba because of their (medical) studies and who had not been removed from the population register after leaving Saba were removed after all. The proportion of couples, with and without children, and the proportion of single-parent households saw a minor increase.
|Couple without children||15,97289448||15,25911708|
|Couple with children||16,45692159||14,68330134|
The size of the working age population (15 to 74 years) on Saba was slightly under 1.8 thousand in 2018, with 65.8 percent in employment. This was 2.7 percent point more than in 2012. The labour force participation rate in 2018 as well as in in 2012 was slightly higher among men than among women and lower among young people than among middle and older age groups. The labour participation of the youngest group however, increased significantly between 2012 (35.7 percent) and 2018 (44.5 percent).
Participation rates were the lowest among the highly educated. A relatively large group of medical students living on the island did not combine their studies with work. Among people with low educational attainment, 69.7 percent were in employment in 2018 (67.4 percent in 2012) versus 82.5 percent of those with an intermediate education level (83.5 percent in 2012) and 49.0 percent of the highly educated (48.4 percent in 2012). In 2018 Saba’s unemployment rate was low at 2.4 percent in 2018 (3.9 percent in 2012).
In 2018 580 residents did not form part of the local labour force on Saba, 10 more than in 2012. They were not looking, nor were they available for work, in most cases a combination of both. A large group (24 percent in 2018, 17 percent in 2012) were people who were unwilling or unable to work due to old age or retirement. However, education was still the main reason why people on the island were unwilling or unable to work (55 percent in 2018 versus 50 percent in 2012). This is primarily the effect of a relatively large group of young people who are enrolled in the medical university. Other smaller groups included people who were unable to work due to a disability (7 percent in 2018, 5 percent in 2012) or because they had to take care of family (5 percent in 2018, 7 percent in 2012).
|15 to 24 years||35.7||44.5|
|25 to 44 years||73.5||72.3|
|45 to 74 years||66.9||67.0|
|Unavailable or not looking||.||.|
|Available but not looking for work||10.0||4.2|
|Looking but not available for work||1.6||0.9|
|Not available and not looking||.||.|
|Wants to work||4.8||2.2|
|Unable or unwilling to work due to||.||.|
|Retirement or old age||16.5||24.4|
|Illness, disability, poor health||4.9||7.5|
Wages and jobs of employees
Wages vary widely depending on different characteristics and types of work. In 2018, wages for women were 17 percent lower than for men. This gap is becoming smaller. In 2011, the difference was 23 percent.
The average annual wage of employees on Saba was 29.3 thousand US dollars in 2018 and 26.6 thousand in 2011. There was a small increase of 10 percent. The part of groups earning less than 30 thousand US dollars decreased from 71 to 65 percent.
|year||less than 5,000 dollar||5,000 to 10,000 dollar||10,000 to 20,000 dollar||20,000 to 30,000 dollar||30,000 to 40,000 dollar||40,000 to 50,000 dollar||50,000 to 100,000 dollar||100,000 to 500,000 dollar|
The gross domestic product (GDP) of Saba increased from 42 million US dollars in 2012 to 47 million US dollars in 2017. That is an increase of 2.3 percent per year during this period.
In volume terms GDP increased by 0.9 percent on average per year, mainly due to high GDP growth in 2013 of 5.5 percent. GDP volume growth is calculated by adjusting the value growth for inflation on the basis of the consumer price index.
Saba is a small economy that is very dependent on the public sector, the tourism industry and the medical university. In 2017 Saba’s economy was negatively affected by hurricane Irma and Maria.
GDP per capita increased from 21.4 thousand US dollars in 2012 to 22.6 thousand US dollars in 2017. When corrected for inflation, GDP per capita increased by 4.6 percent in 2017 compared to 2012.
In 2019 the electricity production was 9.3 mln kWh, as it was in the past ten years. 2.4 mln kWh (25.7 percent) of this production was renewable energy. In 2018 this was still 1.5 mln kWh (16.7 percent).
Saba now has two solar parks. The first park started production in February 2018, followed exactly one year later by the second park.
In 2018 the median disposable income of households in Saba was 27.7 thousand US dollars. This was over 3 thousand US dollars more than in 2011 when people had 24.5 thousand US dollars to spend. Since 2013, when the income was 25 thousand US dollars, there was a gradual year-on-year increase. For households with primarily income from work the disposable income fluctuated more. However, in the longer run it grew from 28.7 thousand US dollars in 2011 to 30.8 thousand US dollars in 2018.
|year||All households||Main income from work|
On Saba, the purchasing power increased between 2012 and 2017. However, the 6.1 percent peak in 2016 dropped to a minor 0.6 percent increase in 2017. In 2018 the population lost purchasing power for the first time since 2012: the median decrease as compared to 2017 amounted to 0.3 percent. Exactly half of the population than experienced a negative buying power. In contrast, among the working people the median buying power in 2018 improved with 1 percent.
|year||All households||Main income from work|
Since 2012, Saba has the lowest income inequality on the islands of the Caribbean Netherlands. The value of the Gini coefficient was 0.37 in 2017 and 2018. In terms of the Gini coefficient 0 means total equality: everyone has the same income, and 1 means total inequality: one person has all the income, the rest has none. In 2011 the Gini coefficient was 0.41. In the period from 2012 to 2018 the Gini value balanced between 0.36 and 0.38.
Over the last three decades seabed cover by living coral has decreased rapidly. In comparison with the coral cover in the mid 1990’s less than one-fifth is left.
Sharks and rays
Shark and ray populations are in sharp decline worldwide. They are top predators that control the natural balance in fish populations and are thus important for fisheries. Sharks and rays are also a key attractor for dive tourism.
|Year||Number of turtles sighted per dive|
Saba has two government-funded schools, one primary school and a secondary school that offers both general and vocational education. There is no government-funded higher education. Between 2013 and 2017, 21 young adults born in the former Netherlands Antilles or Aruba traded Saba for the European Netherlands. More than half did so for educational purposes.
The enrolment of pupils in primary education slightly increased from 155 in 2010/’11 to 158 in 2019/’20, about in line with the population curve of the relevant ages.
|year||Population on january 1st||5 to 14 years||Enrolment in primary education on 1 October|
|**revised provisional figures|
The enrolment of students in secondary education increased from 99 in 2010/’11 to 113 in 2019/’20. Most of these students followed general education. Secondary general education on Saba follows a Caribbean education system, with English as the language of instruction. As of 2019/’20 Saba has switched to a – different Caribbean – system for both secondary general and vocational education. In that way education is more in line with regional further education and the regional labour market. In the next years the courses of the Dutch MBO (vocational education) will therefore be replaced by the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ).
|year||Total secondary general education (VO***)||Vocational programmes (MBO)|
|*** Total secondary general education (VO) includes CVQ in 2019/’20*|
|** revised provisional figures|
|* provisional figures|
On Saba MBO started in 2012/’13. MBO-students can choose from two levels of education: the entrance training and the second level. Together with the Council of Education and Labour Market Caribbean Netherlands (ROA CN), the school determines which courses should be offered in order to meet demand on the labour market. With the introduction of CVQ in 2019/’20 the MBO-courses will gradually fade out. On the other hand, in 2019/’20 a level 2 course for pedagogical staff members in the childcare was started, for employees who already work in childcare as well.
|year||Economics||Technology||Health and welfare 1)|
|1)In 2019/'20 a level 2 course for pedagogical staff members in the childcare was started, for employees who already work in childcare as well.|
|* provisional data|
|year||Entrance training||MBO 2 1)|
|1) In 2019/'20 a level 2 course for pedagogical staff members in the childcare was started, for employees who already work in childcare as well.|
|* provisional data|
Between 2010 and 2019 the general price level on Saba rose by 17.9 percent. This is 1.8 percent per year. In the first half of 2020 prices have decreased mainly due to allowances for electricity and internet provided by the government to support the population during the corona crisis.
During 2011 and 2012 prices rose sharply and then more gradually until 2014. From 2014 onwards the overall price levels remained relatively stable until 2017 after which the general price level increased.
|Saba||Year-on-year change CPI|
Prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by more than 8 percent per year in 2011 and 2012. The increases in the period after 2012 were more limited, on average 1.6 percent. The exception was 2017 when prices dropped by 2.5 percent. Prices for housing and energy changed in 2011 by 6 percent, in 2015 by 7,6 percent and in 2018 by 7.7 percent. These changes were mainly due to increases in prices for electricity.
|year||Food and non-alcoholic beverages||Housing, water and energy||Transport|
The price development for transport is mainly influenced by the prices for petrol and flights. In 2011 prices for transport increased by 10 percent due to price increases for both petrol and flights. The gradual decrease in prices between 2015 and 2018 was due mainly to petrol prices.
In the period 2013–2019 the number of visitor arrivals by air in Saba remained virtually unchanged. In 2013 the number of visitor arrivals was 9.7 thousand and in 2019 8.9 thousand. After several years of minor decline, the upward trend seems to have resumed in 2019. Saba has an airport where only small airplanes can land. Like St Eustatius, the island has to depend on St Maarten for international connections. Here too hurricane Irma caused a considerable amount of damage in 2017 and it took some time before flight connections with St Maarten were restored.
Most visitor arrivals originated from the Caribbean islands Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten, the United States and the Netherlands. No major shifts occurred in the Saba tourism market in the period 2013–2019. Only the proportion of Canadians seems to have declined slightly.
|* preliminary data|
|Dutch (Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten)||23||23||28|
|Other European citizenships||11||12||12|
|* preliminary data|
The two ferries in operation between Saba and St Maarten annually carried approximately 7 thousand passengers. In 2018 this number was lower, in 2019 it was higher. Saba residents also use these ferries.
|* preliminary data|