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What is the BOP?

The Balance of Payments (BOP) is a statistical summary of transactions between residents of the Cayman Islands and non-residents during a period.

The BOP shows the surplus or deficit on transactions related to goods, services, income and transfers, as well as trade-in assets and liabilities.

The Cayman Islands depends on trade and transactions with the rest of the world. These transactions are conducted daily between private individuals, companies and governments. The BOP framework provides a structure to group and compare these transactions over time.

What are some of the information revealed by the BOP?

The value of goods sold (exports) and purchased (imports) from the rest of the world.

The value of services (including tourism and financial services) sold and purchased abroad.

The value of remittances received and sent to relatives and friends living abroad

The value of income earned and paid on investments (interest, dividends)

The value of investments made in the Cayman Islands by non-residents and made abroad by residents.

Why are BOP data compiled?

Data from the BOP survey are used for economic policy making and planning, as it shows the Cayman Islands’ international trade performance and ability to attract foreign capital.

To determine how much money flows into and out of the Cayman Islands.

BOP Data are an important indicator of the strength and competitiveness of the Cayman Islands economy.

What is the System of National Accounts (SNA)?

The SNA is the internationally agreed standard set of recommendations on compiling economic activity measures. It is a statistical framework that provides a comprehensive, consistent, systematic and flexible record of the value of all economic activities in a country. Economic activity refers to the production of goods and services by everyone, e.g. businesses, government, non-profit organisations, individuals, etc.

What is the SNA survey about, and why is it important?

The SNA survey is the primary method used to capture the basic data necessary to measure the economic health and performance of the Cayman Islands (i.e. whether the economy is growing or declining).

The data is used to measure the economic contributions of the various industries to the total economy.

The data is necessary for economic planning and forecasting.

The SNA survey is conducted annually and should be completed by all businesses, non-profit institutions, and government entities receiving the survey.

The survey data is CONFIDENTIAL and protected by law.

What is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)?

GDP is defined as "the total monetary value of all goods and services produced in an economy over a given period", typically one year. Internationally, GDP is the most widely used variable to measure the size, health, and performance of the economy. GDP allows for the comparison of economic performance across countries and over time.

What is the Labour Force Survey (LFS)?

LFS (Labour Force Survey) – comprises persons 15 years and over residing in the country who are employed or actively seeking work during the reference period. An estimate of the Cayman Islands labour force is produced whenever a Labour Force Survey is conducted, normally occurring twice a year (spring and fall).

What is the Consumer Price Index (CPI)?

CPI (Consumer Price Index) - measures the changing cost of a fixed basket of goods. Its change (annually or quarterly) is a measure of inflation.

What is Census?

CENSUS - The Cayman Islands Population and Housing Census is held every 10 years. The purposes of the census are to have an official count of the total number of people and provide socio-economic information on the Cayman Islands. This information allows us to measure the development of our society and make decisions about the future needs of our country.

What is Compendium?

COMPENDIUM - The Compendium of Statistics is published annually and consists of information collected from different sectors of the economy and compiled into one publication.

What is Foreign Trade Report?

The Foreign Trade Report presents statistics and analysis on trade in merchandise goods with the rest of the world, with breakdowns available by types of goods and trading partner. These statistics are compiled from a variety of sources, including the Cayman Islands Customs Department, exporters, trade agents and partner country data. Trade data are used to analyse international trade trends and to inform trade policy. The data can determine the economy’s dependence on overseas goods and are useful for reviewing and forecasting Government revenue from imports.

What is Economic Reports?

ECONOMIC REPORTS - The quarterly and annual economic reports are produced by ESO to provide an overview and analysis of the Cayman Islands' economy for the year or quarter in review. It includes a review of developments within the major sectors of the economy, fiscal operations of government, public debt, and an economic outlook for the incoming year.

How is the CPI (Consumer Price Index) estimated?

The CPI for the Cayman Islands measures price changes at the retail level. The index is a Laspeyres-type index, and the scope of this information covers Grand Cayman only (therefore, excluding Cayman Brac and Little Cayman).

A total sample market basket size of approximately 2,227 items is used to calculate the CPI, with the data series dating back to 1974. The current CPI series is based on 2016 (2016=100).

CPI data is not seasonally adjusted. Moreover, except for hotel rates, CPI prices are not seasonally influenced. The total expenditure weights for the CPI are chiefly determined by consumers' preferences and tastes and are derived from the 2015 Household Budget Survey (HBS) as updated between August 2016 and August 2017.

Traditionally, the prices of substitute goods are factored in after four quarters of those regularly surveyed commodities are unavailable. Moreover, changes in certain products generally result in re-basing those items. Varying units of measures are assigned to each product included in the CPI, and prices are gathered from over 200 outlets in the Cayman Islands. The collection of CPI data regularly includes:

1) personal visits to retailers;

2) telephone surveys; and

3) email surveys.

On the whole, personal visits to collect CPI data are mostly geared toward the three major local Supermarket retailers and account for a large share of the total CPI data collection.

What items are represented in the CPI?

Overall, prices are collected on approximately 661 sub-group items. These are further summarised into the following twelve broad categories: Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverage; Alcohol and Tobacco; Clothing and Footwear; Housing and Utilities; Household Equipment; Health, Transport; Communication; Recreation and Culture; Education; Restaurants and Hotels and Miscellaneous Goods and Services.

How frequently is the CPI published?

The CPI report is published quarterly, specifically during March, June, September, and December.

Where can I get access to all ESO publications?

ESO publications are released free of charge as PDF files on the ESO website, www.eso.ky.

Which ESO publications can I find on the ESO website?

All of ESO’s recent publications, since about 2000, can be found on the website. There are also some older ones. For older publications not found on the website, please contact ESO at [email protected].

What is the difference between population census counts, population estimates and projections?

The Population and Housing Census is a ten-yearly survey providing a wealth of data for small geographic areas, variables such as occupation and country of birth, and households.

In between censuses, population estimates, normally by age groups, sex and status, are prepared to give an indication of change since the last population census.

For those interested in planning, population projections are derived to give an indication of future change. These projections are available on the website homepage (www.eso.ky) .


The most commonly used population census measure is the usually resident population count. This is a count of all people who usually live in the country. This count excludes visitors from overseas and excludes residents who are overseas for a longer period. Residents temporarily away are included. The time limit for temporarily away is usually six months.

The 'census night population count' is a count of all people in the country on a given census night. This count includes visitors from overseas and excludes residents who are temporarily overseas on census night.


Population estimates normally refer to the resident population. Population estimates are prepared bi-annually (mid-year and end-year) to give an indication of population change since the last population census. The estimates are updated for births, deaths and net migration (external) since the last estimate. If reliable net migration figures are not available, population estimates may be done using a household survey, e.g. a Labour Force Survey. A third possibility is to do a head count between censuses.


Population projections use population estimates or a population census as a starting point and are an indication of future demographic change based on assumptions about future demographic behaviour (births, deaths, migration).

Sampling Error

Results from sample surveys are always subject to some uncertainty because only a part of the total has been measured. This is called the sampling error. Sampling errors can be calculated and are normally given as so-called Confidence Intervals. For example, if the population point estimate from a household survey is 83,671, the calculation of the sampling error may give a 95% confidence interval of 78,420 – 88,922.

Are we required to give our names to Census workers?

Names are asked to guide the enumerator and the key informant in responding to the series of questions for a household with more than one member, as we do not want responses for one person mixed up with responses for another person.

Legal names are NOT required in the questionnaire; nicknames may be used such as XX and YY. A household with one member need not provide a name. Names or nicknames are also needed in follow-up interviews to clarify certain responses specific to a person (as needed).

Names will NOT be entered in the Census database nor will they be used for any analysis or publication.

Should we also give our phone numbers?

These are used solely for follow-ups during the process of verification and data editing by ESO staff. Phone numbers will NOT be part of the Census database. This practice is not also new; it has been done in previous surveys.

Will our individual data be given out?

By Law, ESO cannot and will not be providing individual Census data to any agency including government bodies.

ESO also follows international best practices for national statistics offices where data collected from households and businesses are used for statistical purposes only and no individual data are to be released. These best practices also govern the ESO through the Statistics Act (2016 Revision).

The purpose of the health questions is to guide health services policy and planning at the community and society level. Again, individual information cannot be provided to any agency outside of the ESO or to any particular private sector group or industry.

Note that a greater number of health status questions were asked in the Survey of Living Conditions in 2007. No individual SLC data has been provided to or requested by the insurance industry (or any industry for that matter).

ESO places utmost importance on its confidentiality obligations to its respondents, with the penalties for breaches of this confidentiality strengthened in the Statistics Amendment Act (2016 Revision).

ESO's surveys which include the Labour Force Survey, continue to enjoy high response rates

Why do Census Workers need to come to houses for interviews, why not do the interviews on-line or mail the questionnaire?

Household interviews are not new to Cayman. ESO has been conducting household interviews for the Labour Force Surveys annually (and in some years, twice a year). As noted above, the response rates are relatively high.

Most importantly, the United Nations recommends the face-to-face interview as the best method for censuses and surveys to ensure high coverage and good quality.

An online census system is technically complicated and costly, with most countries not adopting this method. For example, in the Caribbean, no country has used this method, and the recent 2010 US Census also did not use this option.

An online system also requires money and time to develop and test. While the ESO initially considered this way back in 2008, it was not pursued for a variety of logistical and financial reasons, some of which are mentioned above. A key reason is that the census field work requires 3 simultaneous activities: canvassing and listing of dwelling units and interview of households. Canvassing means going through an enumeration area to identify all buildings or structures that are used as dwelling units. Identified dwelling units should correspond to household interviews. The matching of canvassing/listing activities with an online interview (and subsequent verification) would make this process complicated and costly.

Conducting the Census by mail requires that all respondents themselves are trained on the Census concepts and definitions or at least read the Census manual for themselves. This option requires more hours from the respondents than the average 20 minutes required in face-to-face interviews (for a household of 2-3 members). Plus, it is very typical that posting would eventually require follow-up face-to-face interviews for those with incomplete or poor-quality returns. This turned out to be the case in the 1999 Census.

How can we be assured that Census workers will keep our data confidentially?

All Census workers are required to take an Oath of Secrecy and are punishable under the Statistics Law for breach of confidentiality.
The Statistics Law stipulates penalties of $5,000.00 and/or one-year imprisonment for non-compliance or breach of confidentiality.

Do we need to answer all questions?

No person will be required to answer all questions. Several questions will be skipped for all respondents, depending on some key characteristics
(Whether respondents are household head or key informant; females with ages 15 to 49; employed or not; etc.)