There has been a 13 per cent increase in the number of people living on the nation's streets.
And Trinidad and Tobago's population has increased from 1,262,366 in 2002 to 1,324,699 as at January 2011. This is an increase of 62,333 persons.
Minister of Planning and the Economy Dr Bhoe Tewarie yesterday revealed these statistics from the Central Statistical Office's (CSO) 2011 preliminary report of this country's Population and Housing Census.
Speaking at a media conference at his Ministry's office at the Eric Williams Financial Complex in Port of Spain yesterday, where the preliminary report was revealed , Tewarie said his Ministry was moving to fix the long-standing problem of street dwellers.
"There is a Ministerial Sub-Committee in which the Ministry of Planning is involved and in which the Ministry of the People and Social Development is a key partner, in which we are looking at this business of street dwelling and what might be an initial set of solutions and finally a complete solution," Tewarie said.
Tewarie said what the census also showed was that most of the street dwellers were concentrated in Port of Spain.
"But within the last few years, that is to say, between 2006 and 2010, there was some spread in areas like Arima and so on but there has been a reduction in Chaguanas and San Fernando," he added.
The preliminary statistics from the CSO showed that the number of street dwellers increased from 471 in 2000 to 534 persons in January 2011, when the count was conducted. The largest number of the street dwellers, 307, were found in Port of Spain, followed by San Fernando with a total of 45 men and women.
The figures which were broken down by sex also showed that men remained in the majority when compared with the number of women — 494 males and 40 females.
Director of the CSO Dave Clement said as of January 2011 there were 1,324,699 persons living in Trinidad and Tobago with 1,267,889 in Trinidad and 56,810 in Tobago.
"This figure included all persons who were members of private households and institutions, street dwellers and persons on board ships in harbour, at hotels/ guest houses or found at some other type of collective living quarters," he said.
He said the 2011 population count showed a slightly stronger growth than that of the 2000 census, an increase that was evident on both islands.
"However a geographical distribution of the population showed that there were shrinkages in four of the 14 regions in Trinidad. The largest decreases occurred in the cities of Port of Spain, 22.5 per cent; and San Fernando, 9.2 per cent; Diego Martin 2.7 per cent and San Juan / Laventille 1.6 per cent," he added.
He said it was interesting to note that no decreases were observed in the Tobago parishes where growth was evident in all parishes.
Another interesting observation in the report, Clement said, was the increase in the number of vacant buildings across the country.
"The number of vacant dwellings more than doubled over the 2000 figure. Increases were observed in every region including Tobago," he said.