Caribbean Stats

Jamaica

Flag Location Map
Introduction - Jamaica
Background
The island - discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino Indians, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated and replaced by African slaves. England seized the island in 1655 and established a plantation economy based on sugar, cocoa, and coffee. The abolition of slavery in 1834 freed a quarter million slaves, many of whom became small farmers. Jamaica gradually obtained increasing independence from Britain. In 1958 it joined other British Caribbean colonies in forming the Federation of the West Indies. Jamaica gained full independence when it withdrew from the Federation in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence as rival gangs affiliated with the major political parties evolved into powerful organized crime networks involved in international drug smuggling and money laundering. Violent crime, drug trafficking, and poverty pose significant challenges to the government today. Nonetheless, many rural and resort areas remain relatively safe and contribute substantially to the economy.
Geography - Jamaica
Location
Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba
Geographic coordinates
18 15 N, 77 30 W
Map references
Central America and the Caribbean
Area
total: 10,991 sq km country comparison to the world: 167 land: 10,831 sq km water: 160 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Connecticut
Land boundaries
0 km
Coastline
1,022 km
Maritime claims
measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines territorial sea: 12 nm contiguous zone: 24 nm exclusive economic zone: 200 nm continental shelf: 200 nm or to edge of the continental margin
Climate
tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior
Terrain
mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain
Elevation extremes
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m highest point: Blue Mountain Peak 2,256 m
Natural resources
bauxite, gypsum, limestone
Land use
arable land: 15.83% permanent crops: 10.01% other: 74.16% (2005)
Irrigated land
250 sq km (2002)
Total renewable water resources
9.4 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total: 0.41 cu km/yr (34%/17%/49%) per capita: 155 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
hurricanes (especially July to November)
Environment - current issues
heavy rates of deforestation; coastal waters polluted by industrial waste, sewage, and oil spills; damage to coral reefs; air pollution in Kingston results from vehicle emissions
Environment - international agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for the Panama Canal
People - Jamaica
Population
2,825,928 (July 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 138
Age structure
0-14 years: 31.4% (male 451,310/female 436,466) 15-64 years: 61.1% (male 851,372/female 875,132) 65 years and over: 7.5% (male 94,833/female 116,815) (2009 est.)
Median age
total: 23.7 years male: 23.1 years female: 24.2 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate
0.755% (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 144
Birth rate
19.68 births/1,000 population (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 106
Death rate
6.43 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 149
Net migration rate
-5.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 166
Urbanization
urban population: 53% of total population (2008) rate of urbanization: 0.9% 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: 0.97 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 15.22 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 125 male: 15.81 deaths/1,000 live births female: 14.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 73.53 years country comparison to the world: 107 male: 71.83 years female: 75.3 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate
2.25 children born/woman (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 111
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
1.6% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 41
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
27,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 72
HIV/AIDS - deaths
1,500 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 67
Nationality
noun: Jamaican(s) adjective: Jamaican
Ethnic groups
black 91.2%, mixed 6.2%, other or unknown 2.6% (2001 census)
Religions
Protestant 62.5% (Seventh-Day Adventist 10.8%, Pentecostal 9.5%, Other Church of God 8.3%, Baptist 7.2%, New Testament Church of God 6.3%, Church of God in Jamaica 4.8%, Church of God of Prophecy 4.3%, Anglican 3.6%, other Christian 7.7%), Roman Catholic 2.6%, other or unspecified 14.2%, none 20.9%, (2001 census)
Languages
English, English patois
Literacy
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school total population: 87.9% male: 84.1% female: 91.6% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
total: 12 years male: 11 years female: 12 years (2003)
Education expenditures
5.3% of GDP (2005) country comparison to the world: 56
Government - Jamaica
Country name
conventional long form: none conventional short form: Jamaica
Government type
constitutional parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
Capital
name: Kingston geographic coordinates: 18 00 N, 76 48 W time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
14 parishes; Clarendon, Hanover, Kingston, Manchester, Portland, Saint Andrew, Saint Ann, Saint Catherine, Saint Elizabeth, Saint James, Saint Mary, Saint Thomas, Trelawny, Westmoreland note: for local government purposes, Kingston and Saint Andrew were amalgamated in 1923 into the present single corporate body known as the Kingston and Saint Andrew Corporation
Independence
6 August 1962 (from the UK)
National holiday
Independence Day, 6 August (1962)
Constitution
6 August 1962
Legal system
based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Dr. Patrick L. ALLEN (since 26 February 2009) head of government: Prime Minister Bruce GOLDING (since 11 September 2007) cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition in the House of Representatives is appointed prime minister by the governor general; the deputy prime minister is recommended by the prime minister
Legislative branch
bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (a 21-member body appointed by the governor general on the recommendations of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition; ruling party is allocated 13 seats, and the opposition is allocated 8 seats) and the House of Representatives (60 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) elections: last held 3 September 2007 (next to be held no later than October 2012) election results: percent of vote by party - JLP 50.1%, PNP 49.8%; seats by party - JLP 33, PNP 27
Judicial branch
Supreme Court (judges appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister); Court of Appeal; Privy Council in UK; member of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)
Political parties and leaders
Jamaica Labor Party or JLP [Bruce GOLDING]; People's National Party or PNP [Portia SIMPSON-MILLER]; National Democratic Movement or NDM [Michael WILLIAMS]
Political pressure groups and leaders
New Beginnings Movement or NBM; Rastafarians (black religious/racial cultists, pan-Africanists)
International organization participation
ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-15, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PetroCaribe, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission: Ambassador Anthony JOHNSON chancery: 1520 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036 telephone: [1] (202) 452-0660 FAX: [1] (202) 452-0081 consulate(s) general: Miami, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission: Ambassador Brenda LaGrange JOHNSON embassy: 142 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6 mailing address: P.O. Box 541, Kingston 5 telephone: [1] (876) 702-6000 FAX: [1] (876) 702-6001
Flag description
diagonal yellow cross divides the flag into four triangles - green (top and bottom) and black (hoist side and outer side); green represents hope, vegetation, and agriculture, black reflects hardships overcome and to be faced, and yellow recalls golden sunshine and the island's natural resources
Economy - Jamaica
Economy - overview
The Jamaican economy is heavily dependent on services, which now account for more than 60% of GDP. The country continues to derive most of its foreign exchange from tourism, remittances, and bauxite/alumina. Remittances account for nearly 20% of GDP - roughly equivalent to tourism revenues. The economy faces serious long-term problems: a sizable merchandise trade deficit, large-scale unemployment and underemployment, and a debt-to-GDP ratio of almost 130%. Jamaica's onerous debt burden - the fourth highest per capita - is the result of government bailouts to ailing sectors of the economy, most notably to the financial sector in the mid-to-late 1990s. It hinders government spending on infrastructure and social programs as debt servicing accounts for nearly half of government expenditures. High unemployment exacerbates the serious crime problem, including gang violence that is fueled by the drug trade. The GOLDING administration faces the difficult prospect of having to achieve fiscal discipline in order to maintain debt payments while simultaneously attacking a serious and growing crime problem that is hampering economic growth. Inflation rose sharply in 2008 as a result of high prices for imported food and oil, but slowed in 2009 because of the global recession. Jamaica spent the latter half of 2009 negotiating with the IMF for economic assistance and will need to introduce major fiscal reforms in 2010 in order to secure a deal.
GDP (purchasing power parity)
$23.36 billion (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 113 $24.33 billion (2008 est.) $24.48 billion (2007 est.) note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)
$11.92 billion (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
-4% (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 173 -0.6% (2008 est.) 1.4% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$8,300 (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 116 $8,700 (2008 est.) $8,800 (2007 est.) note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 5.7% industry: 29.7% services: 64.7% (2009 est.)
Labor force
1.311 million (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 136
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 17% industry: 19% services: 64% (2006)
Unemployment rate
14.5% (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 144 11% (2008 est.)
Population below poverty line
14.8% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 2.1% highest 10%: 35.8% (2004)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
45.5 (2004) country comparison to the world: 41 37.9 (2000)
Investment (gross fixed)
22.2% of GDP (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 66
Budget
revenues: $2.898 billion expenditures: $4.332 billion (2009 est.)
Public debt
131.7% of GDP (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 5 116.3% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
8.6% (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 185 22% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate
NA% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
16.83% (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 28 17.2% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money
$1.253 billion (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 89 $1.369 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money
$4.244 billion (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 79 $4.54 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit
$7.175 billion (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 83 $6.609 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$7.513 billion (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 72 $12.33 billion (31 December 2007) $12.28 billion (31 December 2006)
Agriculture - products
sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, yams, ackees, vegetables; poultry, goats, milk; crustaceans, mollusks
Industries
tourism, bauxite/alumina, agro processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products, telecommunications
Industrial production growth rate
-13.5% (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 152
Electricity - production
7.324 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 100
Electricity - consumption
6.345 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 101
Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production
0 bbl/day (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 172
Oil - consumption
78,000 bbl/day (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 84
Oil - exports
0 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 181
Oil - imports
77,720 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 76
Oil - proved reserves
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 194
Natural gas - production
0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 176
Natural gas - consumption
0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 172
Natural gas - exports
0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 166
Natural gas - imports
0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 164
Natural gas - proved reserves
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 165
Current account balance
-$1.349 billion (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 138 -$2.745 billion (2008 est.)
Exports
$1.422 billion (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 135 $2.602 billion (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities
alumina, bauxite, sugar, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals, wearing apparel, mineral fuels
Exports - partners
US 40.6%, Canada 10.7%, UK 9.3%, Netherlands 7.9%, France 5.4%, Russia 5.3% (2008)
Imports
$4.625 billion (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 111 $7.185 billion (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities
food and other consumer goods, industrial supplies, fuel, parts and accessories of capital goods, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials
Imports - partners
US 39.7%, Trinidad and Tobago 17.6%, Venezuela 11.7% (2008)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$2.11 billion (31 December 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 93 $1.767 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external
$11.55 billion (31 December 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 80 $10.65 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Exchange rates
Jamaican dollars (JMD) per US dollar - 88.674 (2009), 72.236 (2008), 69.034 (2007), 65.768 (2006), 62.51 (2005)
Communications - Jamaica
Telephones - main lines in use
316,600 (2008) country comparison to the world: 112
Telephones - mobile cellular
2.723 million (2008) country comparison to the world: 112
Telephone system
general assessment: fully automatic domestic telephone network domestic: the 1999 agreement to open the market for telecommunications services resulted in rapid growth in mobile-cellular telephone usage while the number of fixed-lines in use has declined; combined mobile-cellular teledensity now roughly 100 per 100 persons international: country code - 1-876; the Fibralink submarine cable network provides enhanced delivery of business and broadband traffic and is linked to the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) submarine cable in the Dominican Republic; the link to ARCOS-1 provides seamless connectivity to US, parts of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)
Radio broadcast stations
AM 10, FM 13, shortwave 0 (1998)
Television broadcast stations
7 (1997)
Internet country code
.jm
Internet hosts
3,961 (2009) country comparison to the world: 137
Internet users
1.54 million (2008) country comparison to the world: 73
Transportation - Jamaica
Airports
27 (2009) country comparison to the world: 123
Airports - with paved runways
total: 12 2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 914 to 1,523 m: 3 under 914 m: 7 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways
total: 15 under 914 m: 15 (2009)
Roadways
total: 21,552 km country comparison to the world: 108 paved: 15,937 km (includes 33 km of expressways) unpaved: 5,615 km (2005)
Merchant marine
total: 20 country comparison to the world: 99 by type: bulk carrier 6, cargo 6, carrier 1, container 4, roll on/roll off 3 foreign-owned: 17 (Denmark 2, Germany 4, Greece 6, Hong Kong 1, Latvia 1, Russia 3) (2008)
Ports and terminals
Kingston, Port Esquivel, Port Kaiser, Port Rhoades, Rocky Point
Military - Jamaica
Military branches
Jamaica Defense Force: Ground Forces, Coast Guard, Air Wing (2009)
Military service age and obligation
18 years of age for voluntary military service; younger recruits may be conscripted with parental consent (2001)
Manpower available for military service
males age 16-49: 688,480 females age 16-49: 709,548 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service
males age 16-49: 573,520 females age 16-49: 586,426 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually
male: 31,833 female: 31,257 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures
0.6% of GDP (2006 est.) country comparison to the world: 155
Transnational Issues - Jamaica
Disputes - international
none
Illicit drugs
transshipment point for cocaine from South America to North America and Europe; illicit cultivation and consumption of cannabis; government has an active manual cannabis eradication program; corruption is a major concern; substantial money-laundering activity; Colombian narcotics traffickers favor Jamaica for illicit financial transactions