The islands were part of the UK's Jamaican colony until 1962, when they assumed the status of a separate crown colony upon Jamaica's independence. The governor of The Bahamas oversaw affairs from 1965 to 1973. With Bahamian independence, the islands received a separate governor in 1973. Although independence was agreed upon for 1982, the policy was reversed and the islands remain a British overseas territory.



two island groups in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of The Bahamas, north of Haiti

Geographic coordinates

21 45 N, 71 35 W

Map references

Central America and the Caribbean


total: 948 sq km
land: 948 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km


389 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


tropical; marine; moderated by trade winds; sunny and relatively dry


low, flat limestone; extensive marshes and mangrove swamps


mean elevation: NA
elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Flamingo Hill 48 m

Natural resources

spiny lobster, conch

Land use

agricultural land: 1.1%
arable land 1.1%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 0%
forest: 36.2%
other: 62.7% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

frequent hurricanes

Environment - current issues

limited natural freshwater resources, private cisterns collect rainwater

Geography - note

about 40 islands (eight inhabited)

People and Society


51,430 (July 2016 est.)


noun: none
adjective: none

Ethnic groups

black 87.6%, white 7.9%, mixed 2.5%, East Indian 1.3%, other 0.7% (2006)


English (official)


Protestant 72.8% (Baptist 35.8%, Church of God 11.7%, Anglican 10%, Methodist 9.3%, Seventh-Day Adventist 6%), Roman Catholic 11.4%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.8%, other 14%

Age structure

0-14 years: 21.87% (male 5,732/female 5,517)
15-24 years: 14.31% (male 3,628/female 3,730)
25-54 years: 53.31% (male 13,861/female 13,558)
55-64 years: 6.1% (male 1,696/female 1,443)
65 years and over: 4.4% (male 1,018/female 1,247) (2016 est.)

Median age

total: 32.9 years
male: 33.2 years
female: 32.5 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

2.23% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

15.7 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

3.2 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

9.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Population distribution

eight of the thirty islands are inhabited; the island of Providenciales is the most populated, but the most densely populated is Grand Turk


urban population: 92.2% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.48% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

GRAND TURK (capital) 5,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.18 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 10.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 12.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 79.8 years
male: 77.1 years
female: 82.7 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.7 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 81.4% of population
rural: 81.4% of population
total: 81.4% of population
urban: 18.6% of population
rural: 18.6% of population
total: 18.6% of population (2007 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Major infectious diseases

note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)

Education expenditures

3.3% of GDP (2015)

People - note

destination and transit point for illegal Haitian immigrants bound for the Turks and Caicos Islands, The Bahamas, and the US


Country name

conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Turks and Caicos Islands
abbreviation: TCI
etymology: the Turks Islands are named after the Turk's cap cactus (native to the islands and appearing on the flag and coat of arms), while the Caicos Islands derive from the native term "caya hico" meaning "string of islands"

Dependency status

overseas territory of the UK

Government type

parliamentary democracy (House of Assembly); self-governing overseas territory of the UK


name: Grand Turk (Cockburn Town)
geographic coordinates: 21 28 N, 71 08 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November

Administrative divisions

none (overseas territory of the UK)


none (overseas territory of the UK)

National holiday

Constitution Day, 30 August (1976)


several previous; latest signed 7 August 2012, effective 15 October 2012 (Turks and Caicos Constitution Order 2011) (2016)

Legal system

mixed legal system of English common law and civil law


see United Kingdom


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor John FREEMAN (since 17 October 2016)
head of government: Premier Rufus EWING (since 13 November 2012)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor from among members of the House of Assembly
elections/appointments: the monarch is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party is appointed premier by the governor

Legislative branch

description: unicameral House of Assembly (19 seats; 15 members in multi-seat constituencies and a single all-islands constituency directly elected by simple majority vote, 1 member nominated by the premier and appointed by the governor, 1 nominated by the opposition party leader and appointed by the governor, and 2 from the Turks and Caicos Islands Civic Society directly appointed by the governor; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 9 November 2012 (next to be held in 2016)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats by party - PNP 8, PDM 7

Judicial branch

highest resident court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and such number of other judges as determined by the governor); Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and 2 justices); note - appeals beyond the Supreme Court are referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court and Appeals Court judges appointed by the governor in accordance with the Judicial Service Commission, a 3-member body of high level judicial officials; Supreme Court judges appointed until mandatory retirement at age 65, but can be extended to age 70; Appeals Court judge tenure determined by individual terms of appointment
subordinate courts: magistrates' courts

Political parties and leaders

People's Democratic Movement or PDM [Oswald SKIPPINGS]
People's Progressive Party
Progressive National Party or PNP [Rufus EWING]

Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation

Caricom (associate), CDB, Interpol (subbureau), UPU

Diplomatic representation in the US

none (overseas territory of the UK)

Diplomatic representation from the US

none (overseas territory of the UK)

Flag description

blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the colonial shield centered on the outer half of the flag; the shield is yellow and displays a conch shell, a spiny lobster, and Turk's cap cactus - three common elements of the islands' biota

National symbol(s)

conch shell, Turk's cap cactus

National anthem

name: "This Land of Ours"
lyrics/music: Conrad HOWELL
note: serves as a local anthem; as a territory of the UK, "God Save the Queen" is the official anthem (see United Kingdom)


Unemployment rate

10% (1997 est.)

Economy - overview

The Turks and Caicos economy is based on tourism, offshore financial services, and fishing. Most capital goods and food for domestic consumption are imported. The US is the leading source of tourists, accounting for more than three-quarters of the more th

GDP (official exchange rate)


GDP (purchasing power parity)

$632 million (2007 est.)
$568.3 million (2006 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

11.2% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$29,100 (2007 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 49.2%
government consumption: 20.4%
investment in fixed capital: 26.7%
investment in inventories: -0.1%
exports of goods and services: 47.7%
imports of goods and services: -44% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.5%
industry: 9.7%
services: 89.8% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

corn, beans, cassava (manioc, tapioca), citrus fruits; fish


tourism, offshore financial services

Industrial production growth rate

3% (2016 est.)

Labor force

4,848 (1990 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

note: about 33% in government and 20% in agriculture and fishing; significant numbers in tourism, financial, and other services

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%


revenues: $225.6 million
expenditures: $187.2 million (2016 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.2% (2016 est.)
1% (2015 est.)


$24.77 million (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities

lobster, dried and fresh conch, conch shells


$591.3 million (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities

food and beverages, tobacco, clothing, manufactures, construction materials

Debt - external


Exchange rates

the US dollar is used


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 5,143
electrification - total population: 91%
electrification - urban areas: 92%
electrification - rural areas: 80% (2012)

Electricity - production

200 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

200 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

76,000 kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

1,340 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

1,328 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

200,000 Mt (2013 est.)


Telephone system

general assessment: fully digital system with international direct dialing
domestic: full range of services available; GSM wireless service available
international: country code - 1-649; the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) fiber-optic telecommunications submarine cable provides connectivity to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic (2015)

Broadcast media

no local terrestrial TV stations, broadcasts from the Bahamas can be received and multi-channel cable and satellite TV services are available; government-run radio network operates alongside private broadcasters with a total of about 15 stations (2007)

Internet country code



National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 16 (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

VQ-T (2016)


8 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2013)


total: 121 km
paved: 24 km
unpaved: 97 km (2003)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Cockburn Harbour, Grand Turk, Providenciales


Military - note

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

have received Haitians fleeing economic and civil disorder

Illicit drugs

transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for the US and Europe