The parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew have been amalgamated into the Kinston and St. Andrew Corporation since 1692. In 1950, the population of Kingston and St. Andrew was approximately 278,000.
In the 1950’s the population grew by approximately 4% per year. By 1960, the population was roughly 421,000. Since then, population growth slowed considerably to just over 1% per year for most of the 1960’s. By 1970 the population was about 475,000. From 1971, the population growth rate dropped below 1%. The reduction in the rate of population growth is due in part to the fact that many people moved out of the city and into less crowded suburban areas.
As Kinston developed over time, the built up urban area spread out from the main city into other nearby areas. The spreading of urban developments onto undeveloped land outside the city is known as urban sprawl. The mountainous terrain to the north and east has hindered the further expansion of the city in those directions. Much of the development has been to the west, in areas such as Portmore in the parish of St. Catherine. Portmore was built on reclaimed land across from Kingston in the 1960’s to ease population pressure in the capital.
In 1990 the population was approximately 562,000. In the 1990’s the growth rate dropped further to below 0.5%. By the year 2000, the population was about 578,000. From 2000 to 2021, the rate of growth remained very low. There have been fourteen years which experienced population growth of 0.17% and seven years which experienced population growth of 0% (no growth). The population in 2021 was 592,000. In the satellite image below, which was taken in 2014, you can see Kingston and the surrounding areas. The largest built up area is Kingston and the other built up area along the coast (on the left side of the photograph) is Portmore.