Photo: Francisco Collazo

Though the “By the Numbers” series usually runs on the Notebook, we take a look at St. Thomas’ numbers not as a place we’re passing through, but as locals see and live in it.

Yesterday, I wrote: “[A] tropical island is only paradise for people who come for a short, pleasant visit, not for the people who live there day in and day out.” Read on if you’re wondering why.

Number of years since being bought by the United States: 92

Amount of money paid by the US for St. Thomas (along with St. Croix and St. John): $25 million USD

Current population: Just over 50,000

Current minimum wage (as of late July 2009): $7.25

Average monthly electricity bill (for a family of 2 that runs air conditioning at night): $300.00 + (Yes, you read that correctly)

Average weekly wages for a St. Thomas resident (as of last quarter of 2008): $673.00

Total number of St. Thomas residents employed in the last quarter of 2008: 23,900

Guardsman in Iraq. Photo: National Guard

Number of St. Thomas National Guardsmen who have served in Iraq & Afghanistan since 2001 (total number reflects National Guardsmen from St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John): 500

Number of St. Thomas National Guardsmen who have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan in the line of duty since 2001 (total number reflects National Guardsmen from St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John): at least one dozen

Number of St. Thomas National Guardsmen who have ever been able to vote for President of the country they serve: ZERO. Due to the terms of its status as a US territory, St. Thomas residents are citizens of the United States but do not have the right to vote in federal elections.

Number of people who have told me “Things aren’t what they used to be.” 7

Community Connection:

Want to learn more about the Caribbean? Read “Hope, Change, and Yes, We Can in St. Kitts.”