The trade wind blows more or less along the length of the island. The hills of the western part of the island receive a good deal more rain than the east end; annual rainfall is on the whole extremely variable, averaging perhaps forty inches (1,000 mm) a year. The east end of the island is a dry desert range with a substantial amount of cactus, while the west end has lush vegetation and palm trees. The island has multiple ecosystems in a small geographic area. Fairly severe and extended drought has always been a problem, particularly considering the lack of fresh ground water and lack of freshwater streams or rivers on the island. The island has a desalination plant, but most residential homes and businesses have built-in cisterns used to collect rainwater.
Inhabitants are called Crucians.
The total population of the island as per the 2010 U.S. Census is 50,601.
English is the most common language. Danish was once the official language of the island during its days as a Danish colony, but was never widely spoken. Spanish is spoken by Puerto Rican and Dominican (Dominican Republic) immigrants and their St. Croix-born offspring, and various French creoles are spoken by the large St. Lucian and Dominican (Dominica) communities, as well as the smaller Haitian one. A native English-based creole known on the island as Crucian is also spoken by the majority of the population in informal situations. Arabic is common among the large Palestinian community on St. Croix.
Christianity is the predominant religion; the island has been called the "Land of Churches" for the approximately 150 churches that serve its 50,000 residents.
Island roads tend to be poorly surfaced and may take sharp turns due to the terrain. Cars drive on the left hand side of the road, but nearly all the automobiles on the island have left side steering columns.
The island's largest festival, termed "Crucian Christmas Carnival," is celebrated on St. Croix throughout late December and early January. Another significant festival is the Agricultural and Food Fair held in mid-February.
Several times a year, there is a nighttime festival in Christiansted called "Jump-Up" and a monthly event called "Sunset Jazz" in Frederiksted, where local jazz musicians play on Frederiksted Beach. Every year on the Saturday before Mardi Gras, there is a local Mardi Croix parade and a dog parade through the North Shore.
The St. Croix Half Ironman Triathlon is held in the first week of May. The Triathlon includes a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run. Because the bicycle route includes a ride up an extremely steep hill known as "The Beast", this triathlon is often nicknamed "Beauty and the Beast".