Photo description: St Eustatius, stealband.

St Eustatius

Population

On January 1st, 2020, St Eustatius had 3.1 thousand residents, 444 less than early 2010. This decline in population is largely related to clean-ups of the population register, as a result of which, on balance, primarily the number of migrants living in St Eustatius has decreased. In 2019 less immigrants moved to St Eustatius and more residents moved abroad than in 2010.

Native-born North Americans and Europeans more often have Dutch citizenship

People born in the former Netherlands Antilles, Aruba or the European Netherlands nearly all have Dutch citizenship. Of those born in United States and Canada (North America), the proportion with Dutch citizenship has shown a strong increase. Many native-born North Americans have left St Eustatius over the past years. Relatively often this concerned people without Dutch citizenship. Among native-born Europeans, and Central and South Americans, the proportion of people with Dutch citizenship increased as well. Moreover, among native-born Americans and Europeans in St Eustatius, the proportion of people with Dutch citizenship was significantly higher than on Saba and Bonaire.

St Eustatius residents with Dutch citizenship, native region,1 of January (%)
werelddeel 2011 2020
Europe (excl. Netherlands) 30 39
European Netherlands 97 100
Central and South America
(excl. Caribbean Netherlands)
44 49
United States, Canada 10 40
Caribbean Netherlands 99 99
Aruba, Curaçao, St Maarten 98 97

Less single-person households

The proportion of single-person households decreased, from 61 percent in 2020 to 47 percent in 2020. This is still higher than in Bonaire, where this number is 41 percent. The proportion of single-parent households increased by 9 percent to 21 percent. The proportion of couples, both with and without children, increased as well.

Households in St Eustatius, 1 of January (%)
2020 2012
Single-person household 47,35099338 60,58282209
Couple without children 13,77483444 10,99182004
Couple with children 16,42384106 13,90593047
Single-parent household 20,92715232 12,32106339
P o p u l a t i o n d y n a m i cs S t E u s t a t i u s , 2 0 1 5 -201 9 160 Birt h s Em i g r a t i o n Imm i g r a t i o n 79 D e a t h s –676 P o p u l a t i o n g r o wth 1,699 942

Labour

In 2018 the size of the working age population (15 to 74 years) on St Eustatius was 2.6 thousand, with 71.5 percent in employment. This was 70.1 percent in 2012. The male labour force participation was higher in both years. In 2018 74.1 percent of the men were employed and 68.6 percent of the women. In 2012 this was 74.5 percent of the men and 64.7 percent of the women.

The participation was relatively low among young people, although it had increased most among the youngest group: 22.9 percent in 2012 versus 35.4 percent in 2018. Labour force participation also increased with the level of educational attainment. Of the lower educated people 68.3 percent were in employment (67.8 percent in 2012) versus 70.4 percent of those with an intermediate education level (73.2 percent in 2012). Of the highly educated 85.8 percent was employed in 2018, a larger share than the 73.9 percent in 2012.

In 2018, St Eustatius unemployment rate was 4.3 percent, equivalent to 80 unemployed. In 2012 70 were unemployed (3.2 percent).

Of the St Eustatius residents 660 in 2018 and 820 in 2012 did not form part of the local labour force. They were not looking, nor were they available for work. In most cases, it was a combination of both. A large group (35 percent in 2018, 29 percent in 2012) were people who were unwilling or unable to work due to old age or retirement. At 27 percent in 2018 and 29 percent in 2012 education is also an important reason why local – in particular young – residents were unwilling or unavailable for work.

Other smaller groups include people who are unable to work due to a disability (3 percent in 2018, 5 percent in 2012) or because they had to take care of family (6 percent in 2018, 7 percent in 2012).

Net labour participation (% of population)
2012 2018
Total 70.1 71.5
Male 74.5 74.1
Female 64.7 68.6
15 to 24 years 22.9 35.4
25 to 44 years 83.5 85.5
45 to 74 years 71.3 70.3
Education level . .
Low 67.8 68.3
Intermediate 73.2 70.4
High 73.9 85.8
Population not in labour force (15 to 74 years) (% of population not in labour force)
2012 2018
Unavailable or not looking . .
Available but not looking for work 12.8 19.2
Looking but not available for work 3.4 2.0
Not available and not looking . .
Wants to work 4.7 4.3
Unwilling or unable to work due to . .
Care 6.8 6.0
Education 29.3 27.1
Retirement or old age 29.3 35.4
Illness, disability, poor health 4.6 3.2
Other reason 9.0 2.8

Wages and jobs of employees

Wages vary widely depending on different characteristics and types of work. In 2018, women earned 29 percent less than men. This is almost the same wage gap as in 2011 (33 percent).

Average annual wage of employee jobs by gender (USD)
year Male Female
2011 36130 24050
2012 39820 26230
2013 39440 26700
2014 41880 29620
2015 43630 30630
2016 43190 30750
2017 46740 31040
2018* 42930 30640
*provisional figures

The average annual wage of employees on St Eustatius was 36.3 thousand US dollars in 2018 and 29.6 thousand in 2011. This is an increase of 23 percent. The part of groups earning less than 30 thousand US dollars decreased from 62 to 50 percent.

Employee jobs by earning group (%)
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
2011 8 11 24 19 11 10 15 2
2018* 7 7 21 15 13 10 24 3
*provisional data

Macroeconomics

The gross domestic product (GDP) of St Eustatius increased from 101 million US dollars in 2012 to 108 million US dollars in 2017. That is an average increase of 1.3 percent per year during this period.

Gross domestic product (mln USD)
year GDP
2012 101
2013 104
2014 100
2015 102
2016 100
2017 108

In volume terms GDP increased by 0.6 percent on average per year. GDP volume growth is calculated by adjusting the value growth for inflation on the basis of the consumer price index. The economy of St Eustatius is very dependent on just a few companies on the island which explains the relative volatile nature of the economy. It also explains the high growth rate of GDP in 2017, the year that the island was hit by hurricane Irma and Maria. The negative contribution to GDP of the tourism industry in 2017 was more than compensated by the high growth rate of value added of just a few large companies outside the tourism industry.

GDP volume growth (year-on-year % change)
year % change
2013 0.8
2014 -6.8
2015 3.2
2016 -1.0
2017 6.6

GDP per capita increased from 26.3 thousand US dollars in 2012 to 27.8 thousand US dollars in 2017. When corrected for inflation, GDP per capita increased by 2.9 percent in 2017 compared to 2012.

GDP per capita (volume index 2012=100)
year (2012=100)
2012 100.0
2013 97.9
2014 91.4
2015 97.1
2016 96.5
2017 102.9

Energy

Electricity production (mln kWh)
years Fossil Renewable
2009 11.4 .
2010 12.8 .
2011 12.6 .
2012 13.7 .
2013 13.5 .
2014 13.4 .
2015 13.9 .
2016 11.6 2.3
2017 10.2 3.8
2018* 7.8 6.5
2019* 8.7 6.3
*provisional figures

The electricity production of St Eustatius increased by 30 percent from 11.4 mln kWh in 2009 to 15 mln kWh in 2019 in ten years’ time. Of this 15 mln kWh of electricity produced in 2019, 6.3 mln kWh (41.9 percent) was renewable energy.

This latter proportion was produced by solar panels. The generation of sustainable energy started in 2016 with the construction of the first solar panel park. In November 2017 this park was expanded, doubling the electricity production from solar energy.

Income

Households on St Eustatius have the highest disposable income of the Caribbean Netherlands. In 2018, they had in median 27.7 thousand US dollars to spend. Since 2015 the income is fluctuating, peaking at 29.8 thousand US dollars in 2017. Households with income mainly from work show the same pattern. In 2017 their highest median income of 34.9 thousand US dollars dropped to 33 thousand US dollars in 2018. The income for social benefit receiving households yearly balances around 8 thousand US dollars.

Median disposable household income (1,000 USD (in prices of 2018))
year All households Main income from work Main income from social benefits
2011 27.7 31.2 7.8
2012 28.3 32.2 8.3
2013 27.6 31.4 8.3
2014 27.8 31.7 6.9
2015 29.4 33.9 7.7
2016 26.3 31.2 8.3
2017* 29.8 34.9 8.0
2018* 27.7 33.0 8.3
*provisional figures

Purchasing power

The purchasing power on St Eustatius has been growing each year since 2012. In 2018 the median growth was 2 percent as compared to 2017. For working people the purchasing power increased by 1.5 percent in 2018. Households on social benefits benefited most. In 2018 their median buying power rose by 3.4 percent, mainly as a result of the extra indexation of social benefits. Only 21 percent of this group was negatively affected. In 2014, the purchasing power of this group declined 0.9 percent. Since then, the purchasing power increased each year, peaking at 8.7 percent in 2016.

Purchasing power development (year-on-year % change)
All households Main income from work Main income from social benefits
2012 4.5 3.9 5.7
2013 2.3 3.1 2.2
2014 1.1 1.6 -0.9
2015 4.6 5.4 4.5
2016 2 1.2 8.7
2017* 2.6 1.5 6.3
2018* 2 1.5 3.4
*provisional figures

Income inequality

St Eustatius has the largest income inequality of the three Caribbean islands. In 2018 the Gini coefficient had a value of 0.42. 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 both 2015 and 2016 the Gini peaked by a value of 0.43, indicating more income inequality than in other years.

Gini coefficient
year Gini coefficient
2011 0.42
2012 0.41
2013 0.41
2014 0.41
2015 0.43
2016 0.43
2017* 0.41
2018* 0.42
*provisional figures

Nature

Coral cover

Over the last two decades coral cover (amount of coral on the seabed) on St Eustatius shallow coastal reefs has decreased rapidly. In comparison with the coral cover in 2000 less than one-fifth is left.

Sea turtle nests

Sea turtles have existed for around 150 million years and are vitally important for healthy beaches, seagrass beds and coral reefs. While globally threatened with extinction, sea turtles are protected on St Eustatius. The total number of turtle nests have been fluctuating over the past two decades. The leatherback has become an infrequent visitor in the last 5 years.

Turtle nests
Year nests
2010 64
2011 13
2012 64
2013 46
2014 40
2015 56
2016 39
2017 45
2018 32
2019 27

Education

St Eustatius has five government-funded schools, four primary school and a secondary school that offers both general and vocational education. There is no government-funded higher education.

Between 2013 and 2017, 65 young adults born in the former Netherlands Antilles or Aruba traded St Eustatius for the European Netherlands. More than two thirds did so for educational purposes.

The enrolment of pupils in primary education slightly decreased from 345 in 2010/’11 to 333 in 2019/’20, about in line with the population curve of the relevant ages.

Enrolment in primary education
year Population on January 1st 5 to 14 years Enrolment in primary education on 1 October
2010/'11 477 345
2011/'12 486 350
2012/'13 480 363
2013/'14 455 336
2014/'15 451 337
2015/'16 456 331
2016/'17 439 325
2017/'18 433 364
2018/'19** 419 337
2019/'20* 430 333
**revised provisional figures
*provisional figures

The enrolment of students in secondary education decreased from 265 in 2010/’11 to 238 in 2019/’20. Most of these students followed general education. Secondary general education on St Eustatius used to be in line with the system in the European part of the Netherlands. As of 2015/’16 a Caribbean system was gradually adapted. St Eustatius switched in 2019/’20 to yet another Caribbean system for both secondary general and vocational education. Education is now 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).

Enrolment in secondary education
year Total secondary general education (VO***) Vocational programmes (MBO)
2010/'11 265 .
2011/'12 251 .
2012/'13 244 31
2013/'14 253 39
2014/'15 236 43
2015/'16 233 35
2016/'17 244 11
2017/'18 256 23
2018/'19** 216 10
2019/'20* 227 11
*** Total secondary general education (VO) includes CVQ in 2019/’20*
** revised provisional figures
* provisional figures

On St Eustatius 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 future demand on the labour market. With the introduction of CVQ in 2019/’20 the MBO-courses will gradually fade out.

Enrolment in MBO by field of education
year Economics Health and welfare Combination of sectors 1)
2012/'13 24 . 7
2013/'14 20 7 12
2014/'15 17 5 21
2015/'16 14 7 14
2016/'17 2 5 4
2017/'18 . 10 13
2018/'19 . 10 .
2019/'20* . 11 .
1)The courses in ‘Combination of sectors’ are all on the level of entrance training.
* provisional figures
Enrolment in MBO by level of education
year Entrance training MBO 2
2012/'13 7 24
2013/'14 12 27
2014/'15 21 22
2015/'16 14 21
2016/'17 4 7
2017/'18 13 10
2018/'19 . 10
2019/'20* . 11
* provisional figures

Consumer prices

Between 2010 and 2019 prices on St Eustatius increased by 25.1 percent. On average the increase was 2.5 percent per year. In the first half of 2020 prices have decreased mainly due to allowances for electricity, drinking water and internet provided by the government to support the population during the corona crisis.

During 2011 and 2012 prices rose sharply, on average by 7.6 percent per year. In 2013 and 2014 the increases were more gradually, 2.5 percent per year. From 2014 onwards the overall price levels remained relatively stable until 2017 after which the general price level increased.

CPI (year-on-year % change )
Year-on-year change CPI
2011 9.9
2012 5.3
2013 2.3
2014 2.6
2015 -1.0
2016 -0.1
2017 1.9
2018 1.3
2019 0.7

The prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages increased in 2011 and 2012 by 6 percent per year, after which the increases were more gradual, roughly 2 percent per year. In 2016 prices decreased slightly. The rise in prices for housing, water, and energy in 2011 and 2012 was on average 8.5 percent per year and is mainly due to increases in the prices for electricity. This is also the case for the drop in prices during 2015.

CPI Food, Housing and Transport (2017=100)
year Food and non-alcoholic beverages Housing, water and energy Transport
2010 81.4 86.8 68.9
2011 86.8 97.8 85.7
2012 91.4 102.1 89.6
2013 92.4 101.0 95.7
2014 95.1 101.7 102.5
2015 97.1 96.6 94.8
2016 95.7 100.1 94.0
2017 100.0 100.0 100.0
2018 103.0 100.5 102.9
2019 102.0 101.0 105.1

Prices for transport increased sharply until 2014 by almost 50 percent. This was mainly due to increases in the prices for petrol and air travel. The drop in prices in 2015 and 2016 is due to the drop in prices for petrol.

Tourism

In 2019 the number of visitor arrivals by air in St Eustatius was slightly over 10 thousand. This is comparable with the number in 2013. St Eustatius did not benefit from the worldwide growth in tourism and the growth in the Caribbean region in particular.

An important factor is that St Eustatius has a relative small airport with F.D. Roosevelt Airport. For international connections St Eustatius depends on St Maarten. Moreover, the harbour of St Eustatius is not suitable for large cruise ships. As a result, only a small number of cruise passengers visit St Eustatius. Additionally, St Eustatius does not have a regular ferry connection with for instance St Maarten. The relatively low number of visitors in 2017 is also related to the consequences of hurricane Irma.

The main markets of origin of the visitors of St Eustatius are Aruba, Curaçao, St Maarten, the Netherlands and the United States. Only minor shifts have occurred herein since 2013.

Number of visitor arrivals by air (x 1 000)
Jaar Totaal
2013 11.2
2014 11.3
2015 10.7
2016 11.0
2017 10.3
2018 10.5
2019* 10.4
* preliminary data
Visitor arrivals by air, by citizenship (%)
Nationaliteit 2013 2016 2019*
Dutch (Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten) 35 30 31
Dutch (Europe) 21 20 22
Other European citizenships 11 12 12
American 13 13 11
Dominican 4 5 6
Other citizenships 17 19 18
* preliminary data

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Explanation of symbols

. Data not available
* Provisional figure
** Revised provisional figure
x Publication prohibited (confidential figure)
Nil
(Between two figures) inclusive
0 (0.0) Less than half of unit concerned
empty cell Not applicable
2019–2020 2018 to 2019 inclusive
2019/2020 Average for 2018 to 2019 inclusive
2019/’20 Crop year, financial year, school year, etc., beginning in 2019 and ending in 2020
2017/’18–2019/’20 Crop year, financial year, school year, etc., 2017/’18 to 2019/’20 inclusive

Due to rounding, some totals may not correspond to the sum of the separate figures.

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