Britain and the United States in the Caribbean: A Comparative Study in Methods of Development

By Mary Proudfoot | Go to book overview

Chapter XII
POPULATION PROBLEMS

1. THE BACKGROUND

(a) THE PRESENT SIZE OF POPULATION

It is generally agreed that one of the main reasons for the poverty and backwardness characteristic of both groups of dependencies is that the population, in this predominantly agricultural area, is high in relation to its natural resources, and to the existing state of economic development. The population figure for the British Caribbean has now reached and passed the 3,000,000 mark,1 and it is estimated that, at its present rate of growth, it will be doubled in thirty-three years time. The final estimate of the 1950 census for Puerto Rico was 2,210,703, and, if the figures for the United States Virgin Islands are added to those of Puerto Rico, this brings the total for the United States dependencies to approximately two and a half million. Puerto Rico, with a density of 645 persons to the square mile, is now more heavily populated than any state in the United States except Rhode Island;2 and Barbados, with virtually no industry of any kind, has 1,159 persons per square mile as compared with the figure of 525 to the square mile for the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.3


(b) THE RATE OF INCREASE

It is generally agreed that the danger of the situation today lies in the rates of increase of the population rather than in its present size,4 and that the indefinite continuance of these rates under existing conditions might well endanger the maintenance of even the present living standards, and would certainly render nugatory any attempt to improve them. This is no new problem in the area. The Moyne Report of 1939 drew attention to the consequences of population increase in the B.W.I. in no uncertain terms: 'Behind the various economic and social defects that have been described

____________________
1
At the close of 1948, the official estimate was 3,023,o63. Crown Colonist, May 1950.
2
Census Puerto Rico 1950, vol. I, chs. 53-56.
3
See Table 22.
4
See Table 23.

-307-

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Britain and the United States in the Caribbean: A Comparative Study in Methods of Development
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Editor's Introduction vii
  • Author's Preface x
  • Contents xiv
  • List of Tables xx
  • Chapter I - Introductory 1
  • Chapter II - The Constitutional Relationship 10
  • Chapter III - The Economic Relationship 38
  • Chapter IV - The Structure of Society 65
  • Chapter V - The Central Government 97
  • Chapter VI - The Local Government 134
  • 3. Conclusions 151
  • Chapter VII - Political Life 153
  • Chapter VIII - Economic Life 178
  • Chapter IX - Labour 222
  • Chapter X - Social Life 243
  • Chapter XI - Education 281
  • 7. Conclusions 305
  • Chapter XII - Population Problems 307
  • Chapter XIII - The Possibilities of Federation For The British West Indies 330
  • Chapter XIV - The Alternatives for the American Dependencies 350
  • Chapter XV - General Conclusions 359
  • Abbreviations 362
  • Abbreviated References 363
  • Index 419
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