Undercurrents: Census Data Sketches V.I. Profile

A regular Source feature, Undercurrents explores issues, ideas and events as they develop beneath the surface in the Virgin Islands community.

Looking for something?

Try the 2010 census data, much of it available online.

The Eastern Caribbean Center at the University of the Virgin Islands is expecting another in a series of reports from the U.S. Census Bureau in July, according to Ayishih Bellew, a research analyst. Combined, the reports contain a databank of figures about virtually every aspect of living in the Virgin Islands, all culled from the 2010 census.

Some of the information has been publicized but much of it has been little noticed.

Some of the more jarring information involves education, or the lack of it. Nearly one-third of Virgin Islands residents do not have a high school education. Of the 70,813 people in the territory who are 25 or older, 11,543 of them – or 16.3 percent, didn’t make it into high school. Another 10,479, or 14.7 percent, started high school but left sometime before graduating.

Of the roughly two-thirds of residents who did finish high school, some 14.8 percent took some college courses, 4.4 percent earned an associate’s degree, 11.8 percent earned a bachelor’s degree and another 7.38 percent received a graduate or professional degree.

The 2010 population figures are: 51,634 on St. Thomas, 50,601 on St. Croix and 4,170 on St. John, for a total of 106,405.

Much of the data touches on economic matters, and substantiates the general belief of disparities among the three main islands.

The median family income reported in the 2010 census was $41,959 in St. Croix, $50,592 in St. John and $47,122 in St. Thomas.

Differences in housing values are more pronounced. The median value of homes on St. John is $661,017. That compares to $293,563 on St. Thomas and $208,132 on St. Croix. With a volatile housing market, those numbers may have changed significantly in the past three years.

Mortgage and rental costs reflect the same sort of disparities. On the John the median mortgage payment was $2,289; on St. Thomas, $1,750 and on St. Croix, $1,326.

As for rents, the median monthly cost on St. John was $1,012; on St. Thomas $813 and on St. Croix, $657.

The Census questionnaire showed that throughout the territory, the median number of vehicles per housing unit was one. While some households had no vehicle, others had two, three or more.

According to the census, there were 55,901 housing units in the territory – 27,173 on them on St. Thomas, 25,275 on St. Croix and 3,453 on St. John. On St. Croix, 10.7 percent of those units were without complete plumbing. The figure was 6.9 percent for St. Thomas and 4.6 percent for St. John.

One figure that is likely to have changed in the past three years is the number of households without a home computer: 61.5 percent of them territory-wide.

Figures on the age of the population and on residents’ place of birth have been reported previously.

The census found that 46.7 percent of V.I. residents were born in the U.S. Virgin Islands, 30.3 percent were born in other Caribbean countries and 15.8 percent were born on the U.S. mainland or other U.S. territories. The rest are from other areas including Europe and Asia.

A little less than 60 percent of the population is what is considered the normal working age, which might be interpreted as supporting the other approximate 40 percent.

Of the total 106,405, 29,697 (or 27.9 percent) are under age 19. At the other end of spectrum, 14,388 people, or 13.5 percent of the population, is over 65. Some of those figures vary widely among the islands, however. For instance, on St. John, just 21.7 percent of the population is under 19; on St. Croix, the percentage for youth is 30.36.

For more information, go to http://factfinder2.census.gov

Click on “Advanced Search” and then on “Show Me All.” Enter: 2010 U.S. Virgin Islands Demographic Profile. Or call (340) 693-1020.

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