Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Divorce high, cancer the main killer and traffic spins round the Rock

Gibraltar’s vital statistics

If you are wondering why it is so hard to find a parking place in Gibraltar, look no further than the Government’s recently issued Abstract of Statistics for 2004.

According to official figures from the Department of Transport, the number of vehicles with a current renewable road tax licence stood at a staggering 22,655 at the end of last year. Included in that figure are 13,856 private cars and 6,179 motorbikes, as well 2,620 commercial vehicles.

That represents almost one vehicle per resident in Gibraltar, where the population last year – including children and the elderly – was 28,759. To be precise, it amounts to 78.7 licensed vehicles for every 100 people resident on the Rock. The number of private cars alone, if placed bumper to bumper, would be enough to stretch round the Rock at least five times.

But the total number of locally licensed vehicles is vastly overshadowed by the number of visiting cars and coaches coming into Gibraltar through the land border with Spain.

Last year, according to the government’s Statistics Office, 1.75 million vehicles and 10,810 coaches arrived in Gibraltar by land. Those figures are down slightly on 2003 but, combined with the growing number of vehicles owned by residents, they offer a stark insight into why Gibraltar regularly faces traffic and parking chaos.

The statistical compendium, it must be said, is open to multiple – and potentially erroneous – interpretations. But it nevertheless offers a fascinating, if somewhat dry, snapshot of many facets of life and death in Gibraltar.

It is, for instance, an obvious fact that Gibraltar is a crammed place, but according to the numbers’ book things are getting worse.

Official figures suggest there were an average of 4,793 persons per square kilometre on the Rock last year, up from 4,707 persons in 2001.

Elsewhere, the compendium states that the average wage as of October 2004 was £17,834.25, while water use in 2004 was 39,200 litres per head, the equivalent of 82,320 pints per person.

The 2003 figures show that 56% of the 242 deaths recorded in Gibraltar last year were as a result of heart disease (27%) or cancer (29%).

On a brighter note, there were 421 registered live births in 2004 and 159 marriages, though the number of divorces, while down on previous years, was still relatively high at 119.

These are just a few of the interesting snippets of information buried in this year’s numerical record of Gibraltar.

Anyone interested in picking their way through the raw data in search of any others we may have missed – there are countless more, no doubt - can obtain a free copy of the Abstract of Statistics 2004 from the Statistics Office in New Harbours, or online at Government of Gibraltar - Statistics

For further information please contact the Statistics Office on:

Tel: (+350) 75515 or (+350) 75490
Fax: (+350) 51160

or by post to:

Statistics Office
99 Harbours Walk
The New Harbours


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