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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, July 18, 2024


The University of the Virgin Islands’ Eastern Caribbean Center released the results Wednesday of the first Consumer Expenditure Survey ever conducted in the Virgin Islands.
The survey, which was conducted using data collected from a random sample of about 2,000 Virgin Islands households in 1997, contains information about the buying habits and spending patterns of U.S. Virgin Islanders. It will be used as the basis for what will become a Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the U.S. Virgin Islands. A Consumer Price Index measures the change in prices for a fixed market basket of goods and services, according to a release from UVI.
CPIs are widely used to measure inflation and to guide the effectiveness of economic decision-making. Some areas commonly affected by the CPI are collective bargaining agreements, social security, retiree/survivor, food stamp and unemployment benefits, school lunches, child support, alimony and royalties, the release said.
Although significant differences exist between the cost of living in the U.S. Virgin Islands and the U.S. mainland, those differences had not been reflected in consumer indicators.
The V.I. CPI is expected to be released within the next six months.
The local survey data collected by the ECC reveals the average amount spent, by island, on items ranging from orange juice, lumber and cars to religious contributions.
The Consumer Expenditure Survey was funded by the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior.
While data collection was conducted by UVI’s Eastern Caribbean
Center, changes in the CPI over time will be monitored by the Virgin Islands Bureau of Economic Research in collaboration with the ECC.
Present at the press conference Wednesday were UVI President Orville Kean, UVI Provost LaVerne Ragster, Frank Mills, director of the Eastern Caribbean Center, Richard Miller, economic advisor in the Office of Insular Affairs – US Department of the Interior, Michael Levin, a demographer in the Bureau of the Census, UVI Research Assistant Professor of Statistics Rameshwar Srivastava and Roy Frett, special assistant to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull.
Copies of the 1997 U.S. Virgin Islands Consumer Expenditure Survey will be available next week at both UVI campus libraries on St. Thomas and St. Croix as well as public libraries on St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. For further information call the Eastern Caribbean Center at 693-1020.

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