The future of the Galapagos Islands depends on its people. The first census, in November 1998, put the
population of the Galapagos at 16,000 inhabitants. This may not seem many, but consider the islands had
existed for millions of years with no human contact at all until about 450 years ago. These people live
mostly in the towns of four islands, although some are engaged in small-scale farming. The main source of
employment is tourism whereas fishing provides some jobs. Today the number of local people is dwarfed by
the number of tourists visiting the islands, which averages about 100,000 per year.