Taking a fun, brief and fresh glance at the Caribbean, ACU|BIEN presents the Caribbean In Numbers. Steering clear of the banal figures about tourism arrivals up and down, GDP, and the like, we present some well-known and some less obvious details in digestible snippets to inform, provoke and get us all thinking of the Caribbean from a different position.
7,000+ = Caribbean comprised of islands, islets, reefs and cays
|| 2,754,000 km2 (1,063,000 sq mi)
|| 239,681 km2 (92,541 sq mi)
|Population (est Jul 2012)
Cuba has LARGEST POPULATION of 11,249,000 (27%) …
British Virgin Islands (UK): 24,000 people Fastest ave. Annual Growth ↑4.35%
197,385,196 pop. and CENTRAL AMERICA added → 569’493’711 incl. Latin America
6000↓ = last estimates (2009) Monserrat (UK) has SMALLEST POPULATION
Caribbean Sea is the world’s 2nd Largest. The Mediterranean, the largest is just 9% larger
Remarkably, only about 2% of the landmass is inhabited and only about 150 islands are inhabited … YET some countries are among the MOST DENSELY POPULATED, GLOBALLY
GLOBAL RANKING OF TOP 10 CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES BY POP. DENSITY
|| Bermuda [UK]
|| Sin Maarten [The Netherlands]
|| Saint Martin [France]
|| Aruba [The Netherlands]
|| Saint Barthélemy [France]
|| Puerto Rico [US]
|| Martinique [France]
|| Curaçao [The Netherlands]
5 Facts on Caribbean Coral Reefs
1. Caribbean has an estimated 26,000 km2 of coral reef surface, possessing an estimated 7% of the world’s shallow coral reefs
2. Human activities threaten 2/3 of the Caribbean’s reefs, placing 1/3 at high risk
3. Sewage pollution problem exists in almost 1/4 of the coral reefs
4. Daily water consumption per tourist is an estimated 300 liters/day, which is about 3 times the per capita demand for domestic consumers which contributes to reef damage and erosion
5. Cruise and cargo ships contribute 77% and 20% of all ship type waste respectively
7 Olympic Superpowers | Medals per capita Ranking
In CBC News’ alternative 2012 Olympic Medal table, based on each country’s population, size of Olympic squad, and GDP (US$) the Caribbean lead the Top 50 medal winning countries with 7 nations achieving Olympic Superpower success.
1st | Grenada
2nd | Jamaica
4th | Bahamas
14th | Trinidad & Tobago
17th | Cuba
37th | Puerto Rico
source: CBC News
→ 6 main religions predominate (there are others) | Hinduism, Islam, Rastafari, Santería, Voodoo, Christianity
→ 6 predominant languages (numerous creole dialects) | Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Haitian Creole, Papiamento
ONE | ‘The Number’ that is Truly Elusive
Caribbean people past and present, far and near burn with an innate desire and longing for a genuinely unified region. They talked about it; allude to it in their discourse with fellow island people; it is a reoccurring theme in social commentary year on year in Carnivals’ calypso and soca monarch festivities; many define themselves as the quintessential Caribbean man or woman. While national identity, and self determination must be celebrated and encouraged, the simplistic logic and obvious benefits of a united, pan-Caribbean in the global arena (to quote the late Bob Marley, who popularised a speech by Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia) remains a fleeting illusion to be pursued, but never attained.
Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s (CTO)’s official website is OneCaribbean.org.
David Rudder’s Rally Around the West Indies is a widely adopted anthem in this vein.
The short-lived Federation of the West Indian (January 1958 to May 1962) was a catastrophic failure of political will at creating one country called ‘The Caribbean’.
The talk-shop that is Caribbean Common Market and Community (CARICOM), and the more recent and seeming demise and attempts at “Regionalism” through the establishment of a Caribbean Single Market & Economy (CSME) adds further to the elusiveness of 1.
There are many, many examples of this cri de coeur from Caribbean peoples, at home and abroad. The erratic, often painful, sometimes sweet, but always unpredictable emotional journey the West Indies Cricket Team has taken its fans over the last decade or so, is one obvious validation of the congenital aspiration and ambition for oneness. ACU|BIEN proudly wears this number on its chest.
17 of 61 Miss World Winners from Latin America & Caribbean
Jamaica [1963, 1976, 1993] | Trinidad & Tobago  | Puerto Rico [1975 ] | Bermuda  | Venezuela [1955, 1981, 1984, 1991, 1995, 2011]
23/59 Miss Universe Title Holders from Latin America & Caribbean
Puerto Rico [1970, 1985, 1993, 2001, 2006] | Trinidad & Tobago [1977, 1998] | Venezuela [1979. 1981, 1986, 1996, 2008] | Mexico [1991, 2010]
1751|| U.S. President George Washington visited Barbados, the only overseas country he made
1959|| Cayman Islands ceased to be a Jamaican dependency
What number best reflects your personal Caribbean?