Caribbean Stats

British Virgin Islands

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Introduction - British Virgin Islands
Background
First inhabited by Arawak and later by Carib Indians, the Virgin Islands were settled by the Dutch in 1648 and then annexed by the English in 1672. The islands were part of the British colony of the Leeward Islands from 1872-1960; they were granted autonomy in 1967. The economy is closely tied to the larger and more populous US Virgin Islands to the west; the US dollar is the legal currency.
Geography - British Virgin Islands
Location
Caribbean, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico
Geographic coordinates
18 30 N, 64 30 W
Map references
Central America and the Caribbean
Area
total: 151 sq km country comparison to the world: 219 land: 151 sq km water: 0 sq km note: comprised of 16 inhabited and more than 20 uninhabited islands; includes the islands of Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Jost van Dyke
Area - comparative
about 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries
0 km
Coastline
80 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea: 3 nm exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate
subtropical; humid; temperatures moderated by trade winds
Terrain
coral islands relatively flat; volcanic islands steep, hilly
Elevation extremes
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m highest point: Mount Sage 521 m
Natural resources
NEGL
Land use
arable land: 20% permanent crops: 6.67% other: 73.33% (2005)
Irrigated land
NA
Natural hazards
hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October)
Environment - current issues
limited natural fresh water resources (except for a few seasonal streams and springs on Tortola, most of the islands' water supply comes from wells and rainwater catchments)
Geography - note
strong ties to nearby US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico
People - British Virgin Islands
Population
24,491 (July 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 215
Age structure
0-14 years: 19.8% (male 2,454/female 2,387) 15-64 years: 74.4% (male 9,346/female 8,881) 65 years and over: 5.8% (male 734/female 689) (2009 est.)
Median age
total: 32.3 years male: 32.4 years female: 32.2 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate
1.837% (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 70
Birth rate
14.62 births/1,000 population (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 144
Death rate
4.37 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 201
Net migration rate
8.13 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 11
Urbanization
urban population: 40% of total population (2008) rate of urbanization: 1.7% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 1.06 male(s)/female total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 14.65 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 129 male: 16.61 deaths/1,000 live births female: 12.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 77.26 years country comparison to the world: 58 male: 76.03 years female: 78.55 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate
1.71 children born/woman (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 171
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths
NA
Nationality
noun: British Virgin Islander(s) adjective: British Virgin Islander
Ethnic groups
black 83.4%, white 7%, other 9.6% (includes Indian and mixed) (2004 Census)
Religions
Protestant 86% (Methodist 33%, Anglican 17%, Church of God 9%, Seventh-Day Adventist 6%, Baptist 4%, Jehovah's Witnesses 2%, other 15%), Roman Catholic 10%, other 2%, none 2% (1991)
Languages
English (official)
Literacy
definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 97.8% (1991 est.) male: NA female: NA
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
total: 17 years male: 15 years female: 19 years (2005)
Education expenditures
3.7% of GDP (2006) country comparison to the world: 123
Government - British Virgin Islands
Country name
conventional long form: none conventional short form: British Virgin Islands abbreviation: BVI
Dependency status
overseas territory of the UK; internal self-governing
Government type
NA
Capital
name: Road Town geographic coordinates: 18 27 N, 64 37 W time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
none (overseas territory of the UK)
Independence
none (overseas territory of the UK)
National holiday
Territory Day, 1 July (1956)
Constitution
13 June 2007
Legal system
English law
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor David PEAREY (since 18 April 2006) head of government: Premier Ralph T. O'NEAL (since 23 August 2007) cabinet: Executive Council appointed by the governor from members of the House of Assembly (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed premier by the governor
Legislative branch
unicameral House of Assembly (13 elected seats and 1 non-voting ex officio member in the attorney general; members are elected by direct popular vote, 1 member from each of nine electoral districts, 4 at-large members; members serve four-year terms) elections: last held 20 August 2007 (next to be held in 2011) election results: percent of vote by party - VIP 45.2%, NDP 39.6%, independent 15.2%; seats by party - VIP 10, NDP 2, independent 1
Judicial branch
Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, consisting of the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal (one judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of the islands and presides over the High Court); Magistrate's Court; Juvenile Court; Court of Summary Jurisdiction
Political parties and leaders
Concerned Citizens Movement or CCM [Ethlyn SMITH]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Orlando SMITH]; United Party or UP [Gregory MADURO]; Virgin Islands Party or VIP [Ralph T. O'NEAL]
Political pressure groups and leaders
The Family Support Network; The Women's Desk other: environmentalists
International organization participation
Caricom (associate), CDB, Interpol (subbureau), IOC, OECS, UNESCO (associate), UPU, WFTU
Diplomatic representation in the US
none (overseas territory of the UK)
Diplomatic representation from the US
none (overseas territory of the UK)
Flag description
blue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Virgin Islander coat of arms centered in the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms depicts a woman flanked on either side by a vertical column of six oil lamps above a scroll bearing the Latin word VIGILATE (Be Watchful)
Economy - British Virgin Islands
Economy - overview
The economy, one of the most stable and prosperous in the Caribbean, is highly dependent on tourism generating an estimated 45% of the national income. More than 934,000 tourists, mainly from the US, visited the islands in 2008. In the mid-1980s, the government began offering offshore registration to companies wishing to incorporate in the islands, and incorporation fees now generate substantial revenues. Roughly 400,000 companies were on the offshore registry by yearend 2000. The adoption of a comprehensive insurance law in late 1994, which provides a blanket of confidentiality with regulated statutory gateways for investigation of criminal offenses, made the British Virgin Islands even more attractive to international business. Livestock raising is the most important agricultural activity; poor soils limit the islands' ability to meet domestic food requirements. Because of traditionally close links with the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands has used the US dollar as its currency since 1959.
GDP (purchasing power parity)
$853.4 million (2004 est.) country comparison to the world: 204
GDP (official exchange rate)
$1.095 billion (2008)
GDP - real growth rate
-0.6% (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 116
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$38,500 (2004 est.) country comparison to the world: 24
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 0.9% industry: 10.7% services: 88.3% (1996 est.)
Labor force
12,770 (2004) country comparison to the world: 212
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 0.6% industry: 40% services: 59.4% (2005)
Unemployment rate
3.6% (1997) country comparison to the world: 31
Population below poverty line
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: NA% highest 10%: NA%
Budget
revenues: $204.7 million expenditures: $180.4 million (2004)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
7.1% (2008) 2% (2005) country comparison to the world: 167
Agriculture - products
fruits, vegetables; livestock, poultry; fish
Industries
tourism, light industry, construction, rum, concrete block, offshore financial center
Industrial production growth rate
NA%
Electricity - production
45 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 198
Electricity - consumption
41.85 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 198
Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production
0 bbl/day (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 125
Oil - consumption
1,000 bbl/day (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 199
Oil - exports
0 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 162
Oil - imports
691.4 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 194
Oil - proved reserves
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 118
Natural gas - production
0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 117
Natural gas - consumption
0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 125
Natural gas - exports
0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 93
Natural gas - imports
0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 119
Natural gas - proved reserves
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 123
Current account balance
$134.3 million (1999 est.) country comparison to the world: 51
Exports
$25.3 million (2002) country comparison to the world: 202 $25.3 million (2002)
Exports - commodities
rum, fresh fish, fruits, animals; gravel, sand
Imports
$187 million f.o.b.
Imports - commodities
building materials, automobiles, foodstuffs, machinery
Debt - external
$36.1 million (1997) country comparison to the world: 186
Exchange rates
the US dollar is used
Communications - British Virgin Islands
Telephones - main lines in use
18,900 (2008) country comparison to the world: 196
Telephones - mobile cellular
23,000 (2008) country comparison to the world: 204
Telephone system
general assessment: worldwide telephone service domestic: fixed line connections exceed 75 per 100 persons and mobile cellular subscribership is approaching 100 per 100 persons international: country code - 1-284; connected via submarine cable to Bermuda; the East Caribbean Fiber System (ECFS) submarine cable provides connectivity to 13 other islands in the eastern Caribbean (2008)
Radio broadcast stations
AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 0 (2004)
Television broadcast stations
1 (plus 1 cable company) (1997)
Internet country code
.vg
Internet hosts
581 (2009) country comparison to the world: 169
Internet users
4,000 (2002) country comparison to the world: 206
Transportation - British Virgin Islands
Airports
4 (2009) country comparison to the world: 185
Airports - with paved runways
total: 2 914 to 1,523 m: 1 under 914 m: 1 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways
total: 2 914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2009)
Roadways
total: 200 km country comparison to the world: 206 paved: 200 km (2007)
Merchant marine
registered in other countries: 1 (Panama 1) (2008) country comparison to the world: 153
Ports and terminals
Road Town
Military - British Virgin Islands
Manpower available for military service
males age 16-49: 7,101 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service
males age 16-49: 5,979 females age 16-49: 5,738 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually
male: 178 female: 173 (2009 est.)
Military - note
defense is the responsibility of the UK
Transnational Issues - British Virgin Islands
Disputes - international
none
Illicit drugs
transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for the US and Europe; large offshore financial center makes it vulnerable to money laundering