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Caribbean-On-Line / St. Barts / Local Stuff / Census Taking - January 18 to February 17

Census Taking - January 18 to February 17

Census takers have been busy visiting every house on the island, except
those used strictly as rental villas, asking all residents to complete two
forms. The first form consists of 25 questions to obtain such information as
the age, birthplace, nationality, place of residence five years earlier, and
career. The second form contains 15 questions about the characteristics of
each home. Residents who live on boats were asked to pass by the office of
the Harbor Master on January 18 and 19, where a temporary census-taking
office was set up. The last census was held in 1999, at which time 6852
people resided on St Barth. For comparison, in 1990 there were 5038
residents and 3059 residents in 1982.

Before the census started, the number of dwellings was counted in order to
determine how many census takers would be needed. In 1999, there were 3465
dwellings on the island; at the end of 2006, there were 4400. An increase of
fewer than 1000 dwellings in seven to eight years doesn't seem like a lot.
However, on an island this small, an average of 125 news dwellings per year
is quite substantial. But, still not enough to satisfy the ever-growing
demand for housing. The shortage of housing has been painfully felt by the
five professional firemen of St Barth who come from France. They met with
Mayor Bruno Magras to discuss this problem. At times, housing cannot be
found and they are forced to stay at the firehouse. When they do find a
place, they often pay more that 50% of their salary for rent, leaving little
for daily needs and not allowing them to visit their families in France or
bring them to St Barth. Another point that was addressed with the Mayor is
the fact that other government employees, such as the Police of the
Frontier, receive lodging subsidized by the municipality.

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