Demographics of the Pitcairn Islands
This article is about the demographic features of the population of the Pitcairn Islands, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.
Estimates of the population of the Pitcairn Islands range from 46 to 48, and beyond this point it is difficult to keep accurate statistics on such points as age structure due to the remoteness of the settlement. The annual growth rate of Pitcairn Islands is 0.00%.
All native Pitcairn residents are descended from the mutineers on the Bounty, a fact reflected in the surnames of many of the families - Christian being an obvious descendant from Fletcher Christian. Islanders are of mixed Caucasian and Polynesian stock, as the mutineers took wives and lovers from the Tahitian natives they had previously encountered. There is a high degree of inter-relation among the population.
Many islanders are also members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and tend to a somewhat puritanical attitude. Officially, public displays of affection and public consumption of alcohol are forbidden. In practice, consumption of alcohol is sanctioned by the administration of the island, especially when cruise ships anchor offshore.
Due to a lack of educational facilities on the island, children of school age are sent to boarding schools either in New Zealand or Australia. As a result of this, many elect not to return to the island, with a memorable description of the island from an ex-resident being "A rural slum". This drain on the population has resulted in the labour force of the island being estimated (by the CIA World Factbook) at 15 able-bodied men in 2004.
Pitcairn residents derive their income from barter with passing ships and a form of welfare payment for manual labour on the island. An important lifeline to the rest of the world is the long-boat, sailed from Bounty Bay to meet any liners or cargo ships nearby. These boats are operated by the Christian family, the family of the ex-mayor of the island.
Islanders have considerable links to the Norfolk Island community, with many having families there. This is due to the historical attempts to re-settle the islanders on Norfolk, attempts which were successful in the most part. There is also a small community of Pitcairn expatriates in both New Zealand and Australia. Remittances from these communities constitute another aspect of Pitcairn's income.
See also