On the night of 30 November/1 December, 2006 a snapshot of the Cook Islands and its people was taken through the once-every-five-years census.  It's not an easy task because of the wide geographical spread of the Islands, but it gives a unique insight into life.  These are results published by the Government Statistics Office.   Comparisons are with 2001.  The population figures on each page of this website are taken from the census statistics.

LATEST UPDATE:   POPULATION DECLINE IS GATHERING PACE
The 2011 census on 1st December is showing an 8.1% drop in the total population of the Islands.  Preliminary results reveal there were 17,791 people in the country, including tourists on census day.

POPULATION: GOING UP
Total population: +8.6%
Southern Group: +0.5%*
Rarotonga: +16.1%
Aitutaki: +12.7%
Palmerston: +31.3%
*Excluding Rarotonga

POPULATION: GOING DOWN
Northern Group: -24.2%
Manihiki: -31.8%
Penrhyn: -29.7%
Pukapuka: -23.6%
Mangaia: -12.1%
Atiu: - 8.2%
Mauke: -16.4%
Mitiaro: -4.8%
Rakahanga: -16.6%
Nassau: -1.4%

19,569 people live in the Islands and their distribution is largely unchanged since 1991.   The 2006 results show 72.3% of people live on Rarotonga, and 20.6% in the rest of the Southern Group of islands.  Just 7.1% live on the six Northern Group islands.
Young Palmerston islanders
YOUNG AT HEART
Palmerston has the highest proportion of young people.  Nearly half (49.2%) are under 15.  Surprisingly perhaps, Rarotonga has the lowest with just 23%.  Mangaia has the highest proportion of those aged 60 and over.  They account for 18.2% of the island's population.  Nassau has the lowest with just over 4%.


Home on Penrhyn
LIVING ROOM
There are 4,308 occupied private homes in the Islands, nearly three quarters of them on Rarotonga.  Nassau has the fewest with just 15, closely followed by Palmerston with 18.  The total number of occupied homes across the Islands is up 11% on 2001.
FIGURING OUT THE FAMILY
The size of the average household in the Islands dropped slightly from 3.9 to 3.7 people.  But in Pukapuka, the extended family is alive and well. The average household there has 5.3 people.  Government statistician, Taggy Tangimetua (pictured left) says: "The assumption is that Cook Islanders are moving away from living with extended family and towards the nuclear type family dwelling".
Government statistician
WOMAN POWER!
Aitutaki, Mangaia and Rakahanga seem to be the best places for a woman to find a husband.  They're the only islands where females outnumber males.  There are 9,932 men in the Cook Islands and 9,367 women.
Cook Islands census 2006 header
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LIFE IN THE MOST NORTHERLY ISLANDS
A report on the results from the Northern Group of islands provides a further insight into life in some of the most isolated and remote places on the planet.   It looks in detail at Penrhyn, Pukapuka, Nassau, Rakahanga. Manihiki and Suwarrow, and also Palmerston which is the most northerly island in the Southern group.  
IN SUMMARY
1,367 people are resident on the seven most northerly islands, which is just under 7% of the total Cook Islands population
They live in 323 private homes
Pukapuka is the most densely populated (390 people per square kilometre)
Penrhyn is the least densely populated (26 people per square kilometre)
36% of those living in the Northern Group are on Pukapuka
There are 113 men for every 100 women
Gross average income is NZ$8,000 (UKĀ£3,604, US$5,712, 3,929 Euros)
1% of households have no electricity
1 in 5 homes have their own phone
93% of all homes are involved in fishing, mainly for subsistence
62% of employed people work for the government
Households have an average of 7 pigs and 12 chickens each



Cigarettes
UP IN SMOKE
Islanders were asked for the first time in a census about their smoking habits.  More than a third (35%) of over 15s smoke.  Fifty per cent of smokers are between 23 and 54. 
WAKE UP...AND DON'T SMELL THE COFFEE!
Freezers and gas cookers are seen as "must haves", closely followed by electric drills
Gas Stoves and freezers are in 98% of all homes
92% own an electric frying pan
84% have an electric drill
Less than half (48%) have a washing machine and only 1 in 5 has a microwave
The only coffee percolators are on Palmerston (1), Manihiki (6) and Penrhyn (4)





Motorycles are everywhere
LIFE WITHOUT CARS
There are no cars or vans on any of the islands
Motor cycles are the most common form of transport (397) and Pukapuka has the most (126)
Bicycles are nearly as ubiquitous (214)
There are 16 trucks and 8 utes (utility vehicles)
Suwarrow (population 2 from April to October) has no form of transport, not even a bicycle!



Fishing at Palmerston
Very free range livestock
EVEN THE PIGS AND CHICKENS WERE COUNTED!
Fishing and farming are key to life on the Northern Group islands.  87% of homes are involved in agriculture, mainly for their own use; only 2% are involved in commercial farming. 
 
At least 87% owned pets or livestock, and even they were counted for the census.   There are 2,404 pigs and 3,938 chickens - the equivalent of 7 pigs and 12 chickens per household. 

93% are involved in fishing, but again for subsistence.  Just 1.8% said they were involved in commercial fishing.  
THE MARCH OF TECHNOLOGY
A radio and/or cassette player is the most common entertainment appliance (313)
There are 294 televisions and Manihiki has the most (107)
14 homes have their own TV dish
Video recorders are also popular (217), but the DVD player is catching up fast (215)
iPods are making inroads.  There are 9...four each on Manihiki and Penrhyn
There are only 40 computers and half of those are on Manihiki.  Nassau has none
Only 5% of homes, mosty on Manihiki and Penrhyn, have internet access
Playstations are the only games consoles....there are 71, including two on Nassau


iPods
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