Column: ‘Secret Of Disappearing Bermudians’

July 22, 2015

[Opinion column written by Larry Burchall]

I have discovered a national secret that is so secret that not even the Government seems to know about it.

So please make sure that no Government person sees you reading this! You just might get hit with a summons or a writ and find yourself being dragged into Supreme Court.

If you choose to read on, close your blinds, lock your doors, and watch your back.

Censuses 2000 and 2010

Census 2000 reports 48,746 Bermudians in Bermuda in 2000. Census 2010 reports 50,565 Bermudians in Bermuda in 2010.

Subtract 48,746 from 50,565. So 1,819 more Bermudians in 2010 than there were in 2000.

However, looking behind those numbers turns up something very interesting. And it reinforces that old adage: “Trust, but verify”.

On verifying that 1,819, I discovered that between Censuses 2000 and 2010, Government granted Bermuda Status to 1,818 persons – mostly spouses of Bermudians.

So 1,819 ‘Bermudians’ were added between Census 2000 [48,746] and Census 2010 [50,565]. However, 1,818 were counted as Bermudians only because they had been given Bermuda Status during that ten year period.

1,819 additional Bermudians minus 1,818 additional Bermudians [through Status grants] equals 1 additional Bermudian who was BORN as a Bermudian.

Only One [1] born Bermudian added in the whole ten years between 2000 and 2010? Wow!!!

Looking deeper.

The Registrar General’s annual reports on births and deaths of Bermudians say that between 2006 and 2010, there were 754 more Bermudians born than died. So by 2010, there should have been at least 754 additional born Bermudians.

But there was only One [1] additional born Bermudian!

So at least 753 born Bermudians had to have disappeared! They had to! They were not there at Census 2010.

The arithmetic.

Between 2000 and 2006, there must have been at least another 1,064 people born as Bermudians. All of these 1,064 must also have disappeared. Could even have been more than 1,064. Might have been as many as 1,250.

Whatever the number of persons born as Bermudians between 2000 and 2006, they all must have disappeared because they were not there – simply not there – to be counted in Census 2010.

The basic facts are that between 2000 and 2010:

  • At least 1,819 persons must have been born as Bermudians = 1,819
  • It is known that 1,818 persons were given Bermuda Status = 1,818
  • So at least this total number of additional Bermudians in Census 2010 = 3,637

However, putting everything together, the arithmetic shows:

  • There were only 1,819 additional Bermudians by Census 2010 = 1,819
  • Between 2000 and 2010, 1,818 persons were given Bermuda Status = [1,818]
  • So just ONE [1] additional born Bermudian recorded/counted in 2010 = 1
  • Between 2000 and 2010, possibly 1,819 persons may have been born as Bermudians = 1,819
  • So at least this number of those born Bermudians must have disappeared = [1,818]
  • Therefore One [1] additional born Bermudian recorded/counted in 2010 = 1

So by the laws of arithmetic, at least 1,818 born Bermudians had to have disappeared between 2000 and 2010. If the 2000 and 2010 Census figures are correct, there is no other explanation.

Even Government now – belatedly – acknowledges that Bermuda has lost Residential Population [ResPop]. Government says that ResPop in 2014 was 61,777 – which makes 2014’s ResPop lower than at Census 2000 when it was 62,059. And remember that since 2008 some 3,391 Guest Workers and their uncounted dependents have left Bermuda.

What has happened?

What happened with 1,818 born Bermudians? Where and why did these Bermudians go?

What? Those 1,818 Bermudians did not die. We’d have noticed and recorded such a huge spike in deaths.

Where? They’ve all gone “Away”!

Why? Hundreds of Bermudians believed that Bermuda offered less, and “Away” offered more. These Bermudians packed up and moved out – emigrated. Supporting this, the Department of Statistics reports that between 2000 and 2010, some 684 Bermudians emigrated.

More hundreds of our Bermudian sons and daughters, have been going overseas for education and have not been returning to Bermuda. These are staying abroad – non-returning students. No one counts or reports on this.

Other Bermudians have left Bermuda saying they intend to return and live here – out-migrated. No one counts or reports on this.

The Registrar General reports that in 2014, some 478 Bermudians died while only 441 were born. That meant 37 fewer Bermudians in 2014. Our Bermudian birth-rate is now actually a negative birth-rate. With this negative birth-rate, Bermuda is now losing Bermudians faster than the 182 per year being lost between 2000 and 2010. Bermuda could now be losing between 200 and 250 Bermudians every year.

Why is it a secret?

This is a national secret only because Government does not talk about this.  Why not? Ask Government!

The crux? Between 2000 and 2010, Bermuda was losing Bermudians at an average rate of at least 182 per year. It could have been higher. Between 2010 and 2015, the rate of loss increased and has gone materially over 200 a year.

Altogether, between 2000 and 2015, it is possible – indeed it is highly likely – that as many as 3,000 born Bermudians have disappeared from, not returned to, or not been replaced in their Island home. But it is still not talked about.

The Consequences

Born Bermudian population losses at this rate will lead to deep and complex social and political issues and will create identifiable and predictable socio-economic problems. The rumblings and some impacts are here already. Look and listen. See and hear.

Watch this space. More to come….

- Larry Burchall


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Comments (41)

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  1. SMH says:

    You’re my hero! Thanks for always telling it like it is and making sure everyone understands our current economic reality. Good or bad.

    • navin johnson says:

      Certainly the US and UK have political issues and party politics but it does not consume the majority of people…In Bermuda it seems to be the be all and end all and a way of life…we are too small for party politics so that one party or the other has to oppose everything..Bermuda is in a fight for its life in terms of economic survival and do we really want to discourage the young and bright from returning home after getting their education? who wants to come back to this when you can get on with your life without the negativity that overwhelms us….we can no longer export onions and lilies to earn foreign capital and must attract people with currency to come to our island…..shame that is lost on so many people who think it will cost them a job rather than provide jobs…

  2. Alvin Williams says:

    I know where the disappeared Bermudians are; they have become economic refugees in the UK and far from the OBA government not knowing? it’s their dirty little secret the exodus of the accidental Bermudian without a birthright to their country in which they were born; out of sight out of mind.

    • hmmm says:

      From 2000 to 2010….Alvin, so you will be voting OBA.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        He sure likes foot for dinner.

        • Kangoocar says:

          Triangle, Once again alvins comments only proves my nick name for him is correct?????

    • jt says:

      Dear Alvin,
      Mr. Burchall used the time frame 2000-2010.
      See the problem?
      Now sit down.

    • Sven says:

      Alvin ask you friends in Government if they helped and encouraged Bermudians to go to the UK starting in 2008 to keep our unemployment figures low and reduce the amount of financial assistance payments….go to the UK go on the dole…

    • Starting Point says:

      Alvin must have mis heard the article when it was read to him, pretty much no one here believes he can read…

    • GTA says:

      I wonder which Government conducted the census in 2000 and 2010??? The PLP Government perhaps.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Ouch, does it hurt when facts pull the floor out from underneath your delusion and you hit the hard surface of reality? Do you even notice, or do you quickly come up with another piece of misinformation or truth spun to lie to cushion the landing? So quick to lay it all on the OBA that you missed the fact that these statistics where from and hidden during the PLP years

    • Lala says:

      I believe the number of outward “welfare migrants” is dwarfed by the number of students who decide that Bermuda is too politically backward and simply don’t return. That’s called “brain drain”.

    • Sandman says:

      Wow Alvin! – you’ve just blown the lid off the conspiracy.

      So you have just revealed that between 2000 and 2010, Bermudians psychically predicted that a new political party would be formed and win the 2012 election, and they decided they had better become economic refugees in advance so that they would not have to deal with the turmoil that this not-yet-existent party would cause.

      Or maybe they didn’t predict it, but the God you keep banging on about warned them to leave before he turned up in Bermuda to smite the OBA.

      Ladies and gentleman, you are entering: the Alvin Williams Twilight Zone

  3. navin johnson says:

    Mr Burchall if the 2010 census is used as a guide let me give you an example of how wrong it could be……the census takers came to my home 4 times! 4 times they asked for information and after the first time I told each successive person that I have already completed it and 2 asked if I would mind doing it again in case it was misplaced……..I always thought the streets of Bermuda particularly Front street and Bermudiana road where you could never parking space now there are always spaces available….I would think the moving companies would be a good place to find out how many people they ship out but of course some just leave with a few suitcases….

  4. Young Professional says:

    Great article. I’ve recently returned home and am trying earnestly to return abroad, I am not alone. After obtaining a health and a science degrees it was very hard finding a job in Bermuda. My former employees in the US made me feel valued and they invested in me. Once I returned home, my employer of choice has been stifling. Changes are needed and individuals who are less qualified (but been with the organization donkeys years) are being promoted or are in leadership posts where they often disregard what younger professionals bring to the table. Other local institutions in my field have similar challenges. Value the young professional, Bermuda and you will be amazed what this island could become.

    • SMH says:

      Well said. I couldn’t agree with you more. Hang in there and good luck with your job search. We need you! If possible consider being an apprentice in order to gain experience for your resume.

    • pabear says:

      how is it some fresh out of school student is got more to offer than someone who been doing a job for donkeys years

      • JustAskin2 says:

        New and fresh ideas perhaps which will help a stagnant company grow.

        • hmmm says:

          Ideas are just that, ideas. Nothing more, nothing less.

          Actions and putting in the effort to transition those ideas into viable business is what is required.

  5. K9 says:

    What is really on this island for us young people. We would go away, get the education, come back they would say we still need experience. Even the cost to live in Bermuda is higher than most places

    • Dude says:

      Stay away as long as you can and get AS MUCH international experience as you can. Then, when you do return home, live with your parents or share a rental to cut costs. Why does every Bermudian think they are entitled to their own place as soon as they finish school? In my day, sharing a one bedroom rental with a friend was the norm… no overnight guests… but I saved enough money to get me started on the property ladder when the time came.

      • Legalgal says:

        Well said. Ditch the sense of entitlement and get experience. You are indeed fortunate to be able to work/purchase property elsewhere.

      • Housing Ladder says:

        In your day the house price to wage ratio probably meant it was actually realistic to buy a home, unfortunately for large parts of the workforce they could live in shared accommodation indefinitely and never be able to afford their own place at today’s prices. I know quite a few young Bermudians who chose not to return home due to the cost of housing here :(

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Talk to the local IB companies, find out what they have in overseas offices, try to get placed overseas for experience and make connections. Then eventually come back if don’t find yourself elsewhere. You always have to start at the bottom, and there is no better experience for the local IB employment market than overseas will also position you better that should you come back, you will be better positioned for a salary that could better get you in the entry level real estate market

  6. um um says:

    An interesting article, but there is one thing that should be taken into consideration. The census records only persons resident or temporarily absent on the island on one day. Another interpretation could be that more Bermudians are employed overseas, gaining valuable experience, or moving overseas to retire/travel etc.

  7. Starting Point says:

    Real problem is that in may countries, currently the grass actually is greener on the other side.

    The majority of young Bermudians, especially those educated at university are growing up in an inclusive world where thinking is encouraged, creativity promoted. Returning to Bermuda and its stifling, conservative, negative political environment with polarizing parties is not attractive in any way to the vast majority of university educated Bermudians. The reality is, they can visit at cup match, soak up the sun for two weeks, get everything they love about Bermuda in that time, then return to a real community with diverse cultures in other countries that offers what they need.

    sad reality, but to deny its existence prevents us from making changes on the island to improve the circumstances.

    • Jonah says:

      Really and the US and the UK don’t have polarizng parties..or negative political environments?


  8. bluebird says:

    Execellent articule Larry as usual.
    Manny young people with a profession or a trade have left Bermuda because they have all travelled.
    Manny did not find the RACISM and they dont look like us attitude in other locations,they did not find a hassel comming through IMMIGRATION if they were the wrong color under the previous admininstration.
    After relocating they then revisit Bermuda look around and say you know what there is nothing here for me.
    So the happly make there life elsewhere because they are mobil and they can.
    suggest you blame it on the internet as you can look and find manny places in the world on your computor and get all the information you want even before you visit.
    And manny of the young and up and comming are in contact with those who are making a GOOD LIFE else where on facebook etc.
    GET USED TO IT BERMUDA,we are not the centre of the world anymore,and if you have an education or a skill you can pretty much go anywhere in the big wide world.
    And dont forget that there are about 3Billion people in the Aisa Pacific region the are educated and/or have skills.Have you not noticed some in Bermuda..??

    • impressive. says:

      Everyone has different experiences in life, and those experiences shape their minds.. So for that reason, I will not say what you wrote above is pure garbage, but giving you the benefit of the doubt, I will hold steady.. However,, your implication that the RACIST mindset is something that is only found in Bermuda and because of that mindset, many students dont want to return home, In addition, apparently they don’t want to come home and deal with bad attitudes and arrogant attitudes at the Airport.. Do you honestly believe what you have written.. For my perspective, it seems you have a chip on your shoulder because of an unfortunate experience that you may have had to endure and then assume that everyone that looks like you gets the same treatment.. First of all, by the way, I am assuming your white. Point 1. The college students who are not returning home and not all the same race, so I am confused as to which race of people are being subjected to this to the point they don’t want to return home.. Me thinks your being overly dramatic..

  9. St. D says:

    Thank you Mr. Burchall. Simple and to the point. We all know this has been happening as how many families do you know have moved to the UK because the mother is furthering her education or the child has a leaning disability so they want extra support or the son has been accepted into a UK football program …

    Looking forward to the next instalment.

  10. Concerned says:

    Had a lady visit me from the Voters Registry – my entire family 6) was not on the voters list and yet we voted – hmmmmm perhaps that is why many are missing Thanks PLP

  11. smh says:

    Why do the OBA want to bring in so many foreign persons when we have Bermudians OUT THERE who are fleeing the country due to a lack of work????

    • hmmm says:

      They want to encourage business here to the island, to provide opportunities to Bermudians directly and indirectly.

    • serengeti says:

      You do realise that these statistics all relate to a period when the PLP was in control, don’t you?

  12. westender says:

    I have said this all along. Bright students go abroad to further their education and find the prospects better in their temporary place of residence so it becomes permanent. They visit for a holiday and have their Bermuda ‘fix’ and that is enough. As someone else said on this thread, it is the brain drain. We can’t afford it but as long as the prospects for progress – social as well as professional – are so limited, it will happen. Bermuda needs to wake up and move to the 21st century.

  13. Bermudian Abroad says:

    Mr. Burchall, Thank You for the clarity of your information and your knack at putting together statistical insights that actually mean something!

    To me, I think there are a few hard truths we need to accept – many Bermudians, especially younger ones, are Global citizens and will find opportunities elsewhere – this population loss is inevitable. Just as inevitably, other Global folks will look at finding a home here. Unless we have some deep rooted desire to become an impoverished backwater because of a diminishing and aging population, we had better embrace this change. One of the ironies here is that the more intolerant Bermudians become to those who want to immigrate and make a future here, the more likely it is that our young (especially those with college degrees) will leave. This strikes me as indeed one of those times that the truth is not what a lot of people want to hear.

  14. Cow Polly says:

    My daughter is dyslexic, gay and smokes weed to control her essential tremor. She’s also an extremely gifted graphic artist. Guess where her Bermudian *ss is and will be until we become more tolerant of other people’s lifestyles.

  15. Cal Blankendal says:

    Dear Mr. Burchall,

    I appreciate your research on various matters concerning the future of Bermuda and her people. Your articles/opinions are very timely, thought provoking and unbiased.

    Please continue to stimulate the much needed dialogue in our communities.

  16. Lucy says:

    I am a bermudian leaving the island. My employer hired 1 expat that does 3 people’s positions but hey she is the highest payed with not contribution.

  17. Coffee says:

    The face of Bermudas population will soon mimic Hawaii’s .