Women are at the centre of family life in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. They are responsible for raising children, caring for the elderly, who often live with them, and tending the family garden. Mothers typically work long hours; they do the family washing and cooking and grow and sell produce. Consequently, older children, grandparents, aunts and uncles living in the household often help look after infants and young children. Almost 40% of the country's households are headed by women.

Family arrangements include legal marriage, common-law cohabitation and "visiting unions" or "friending," in which the man and woman live apart and the woman raises their children. Teenage girls often bear children before reaching adulthood and raise them in the family home. Men may father children with various women, and women may raise children who have different fathers. Regardless of the family arrangement, fathers usually maintain strong ties with their children.

Most Vincentians own their homes, which they usually build themselves or inherit. A typical house is a bungalow; some have only two rooms. Until recently, houses in rural areas often had no running water or electricity, and the mother or one of the children had to walk to the community pump to fetch water. Today, almost all homes have water and electricity.

People usually own small plots of land on which they grow produce. They use some crops to feed the family and sell the surplus at market. The soil in St. Vincent is rich, and wild growth is abundant, so maintaining a garden with hand tools can take up much of the family's time. In rural areas, it is common for children to work on the land or care for younger siblings instead of attending school.

   Did you know?
Ferries, supply boats and airplanes run daily between St. Vincent and the larger Grenadine islands. Some of the Grenadines depend on supply boats for almost everything except supplies of fish.
In the Grenadines, centuries of isolation have strongly influenced the culture. Because of the lack of freshwater sources on most islands, every household collects rainwater in barrels and buckets. Most peoples' livelihoods depend on the sea; the men are skilled fishermen, sailors and boat builders. Some men work on merchant ships and yachts and travel around the world.

   Did you know?
Some families operate banana farms. A family can make a living from only a few acres of banana trees. Farmers sell their crops each weekend at the Kingstown market.