The total population of the British Virgin Islands was
estimated in 1986 to be 12,000. Annual population growth averaged
1.6 percent over the 1982-85 period. About 500 expatriates from
Western Europe and North America also reportedly resided on the
islands. Eighty-five percent of the total population lived on
Tortola, 9 percent on Virgin Gorda, and about 3 percent each on the
islands of Anegada and Jost Van Dyke. In general, the islands were
underpopulated in comparison with most of the West Indies, having
a population density of only 78.4 per square kilometer. Despite the
relatively uncrowded conditions on the islands, the government
applied very strict immigration controls against other Caribbean
nationals attracted by the islands' relatively prosperous economy.
The people of the British Virgin Islands are primarily black.
Life expectancy at birth among the islanders in 1982 was 70.2
years. In 1982 the birth rate was 20.7, and the infant mortality
rate was 42.6 per 1,000 live births. The overall population of the
British Virgin Islands was young; 34 percent were under age 15, and
only 8.6 percent were over age 60.
Anguilla's population stood at 6,800 as of 1987; in addition,
a small number of expatriates from North America and Western Europe
lived on the island. Annual population growth averaged 0.7 percent
between 1982 and 1985. About 10 percent of the population lived in
the capital, The Valley, in the central part of the island. Like
the British Virgin Islands, the island of Anguilla had a low
population density for the Caribbean--76.9 people per square
The people of Anguilla are mainly black, but there are some
whites, descended from a party of Irishmen who landed on the island
in 1698. Life expectancy at birth on Anguilla in 1982 was the same
as on the British Virgin Islands (70.2). The birth rate in 1982 was
26.2 live births per 1,000 of the population. At the same time, the
infant mortality rate was 13.6 per 1,000 births. Approximately 28
percent of the population was under 15 years of age, and only 13
percent was over 60 years of age.
Montserrat's population in 1986 was estimated at 12,000. The
population grew at an average annual rate of 0.6 percent during
1982-85. About 10 percent of the population resided in Plymouth,
the capital. Montserrat's population has risen since 1970,
following thirty years of emigration resulting from poor economic
conditions and prospects on the island. The population density of
the island in 1982 stood at 117.6 per square kilometer.
Montserrat's population is 90 percent black and mulatto, with
some whites of Irish ancestry. Shortly after the initial English
settlement of the island in the first half of the seventeenth
century, a large group of Irishmen arrived on Montserrat. Whether
they were exiled from Ireland or came voluntarily from other
Caribbean islands remains unknown, but their legacy on Montserrat
can be seen in a number of red-haired islanders.
Life expectancy at birth among Montserratians in 1982 was 70.2
years. The birth rate in 1982 was 22.3 live births per 1,000. In
comparison with the rate on the British Virgin Islands and
Anguilla, the infant mortality rate on Montserrat in 1982 was
low--7.7 per 1,000 live births. The age distribution on Montserrat
varied slightly from the pattern of the other two island groups;
only 31.5 percent of the population was under 15 years of age,
while close to 17 percent was over 60.
In all three territories, the predominant religion was
Christianity. Approximately 42 percent of the population in the
British Virgin Islands was Methodist, and 25 percent, Anglican. The
remaining 33 percent of the population included Roman Catholics,
Baptists, Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and members
of the Church of God.
Anguillians belonged mostly to Anglican or Methodist
congregations; each denomination claimed 43 percent of the
population. Baptists, Roman Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses,
Seventh-Day Adventists, and members of Apostolic Faith and Second
Bethany Gospel Hall congregations accounted for the remaining 14
percent of the population. Anguillians were highly religious, which
accounted for the great opposition to casino gambling proposals in
Like the other two island groups, Montserrat was primarily
Anglican and Methodist. Approximately 33 percent of Montserratians
were Anglican, and 25 percent were Methodist. The remaining 42
percent of the population belonged to Baptist, Seventh-Day
Adventist, Pentecostal, or Roman Catholic congregations.
Data as of November 1987