HC Deb 04 March 1942 vol 378 cc631-2
22. Dr. Morgan

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, when was the last census taken in the island of St. Kitts; when it is proposed to take the next; and, having regard to the importance of vital statistics in tropical colonies and the need for correct figures instead of estimates, particularly when considering the labour problem of the island, whether early steps will be taken to facilitate the taking of such a census?

Mr. Harold Macmillan

The last census in the Island of St. Kitts was taken in 1921. The decennial census due in 1931 was postponed because of financial stringency. The importance of vital statistics in the Colonies is fully recognised; but it was decided last year that, in view of war conditions, the holding of a census in the Colonies generally would have to be postponed. My Noble Friend does not feel able to reconsider that decision at the present time, and he is not aware of any grounds for making a special exception in the case of St. Kitts.

Dr. Morgan

Seeing that these Colonies are far away from the war centres and are protected by America, surely a census can take place there in peaceful conditions?

Mr. Macmillan

The services of a considerable staff would be required for a census in this tiny place.

Mr. Leach

What kind of staff would be required for a census in this tiny place?

Mr. Macmillan

This decision affects the Colonies as a whole, and I see no reason to make a particular exception.