In the countryside of Saint Christopher, the big estate still dominates. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of SKN and acronym for St. Kitts and Nevis. Slavery was abolished in 1838, but the farm workers have largely remained dependent on the sugar plantation owners for work and housing. The state has bought some goods and leased them to small farmers. Small farms have been more common in Nevis, but these have often struggled with profitability problems. Many landless and poor small farmers have moved to the cities or emigrated. During the period 1990-2006, unemployment fell from about 15 to just over 5 percent.
The state’s relatively good finances as a result of very rapid economic development during the 1980s and 1990s made it possible to expand the welfare system for all citizens. There are compulsory insurance for old age pension, illness and accidents. The state is responsible for health care, which is fairly well developed. Health conditions have improved; tropical diseases are no longer present and serious infectious diseases are uncommon.