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Central America and Caribbean :: JAMAICA
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JAMAICA
  • Introduction :: JAMAICA

  • The island - discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino, 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 increased its 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

  • Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba
    18 15 N, 77 30 W
    Central America and the Caribbean
    total: 10,991 sq km
    land: 10,831 sq km
    water: 160 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 167
    about half the size of New Jersey; slightly smaller than Connecticut
    0 km
    1,022 km
    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
    tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior
    mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain
    mean elevation: 18 m
    elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
    highest point: Blue Mountain Peak 2,256 m
    bauxite, gypsum, limestone
    agricultural land: 41.4%
    arable land 11.1%; permanent crops 9.2%; permanent pasture 21.1%
    forest: 31.1%
    other: 27.5% (2011 est.)
    250 sq km (2012)
    population density is high throughout, but increases in and around Kingston, Montego Bay, and Port Esquivel
    hurricanes (especially July to November)
    heavy rates of deforestation; coastal waters polluted by industrial waste, sewage, and oil spills; damage to coral reefs; air pollution in Kingston from vehicle emissions
    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
    third largest island in the Caribbean (after Cuba and Hispaniola); strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for the Panama Canal
  • People and Society :: JAMAICA

  • 2,990,561 (July 2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    noun: Jamaican(s)
    adjective: Jamaican
    black 92.1%, mixed 6.1%, East Indian 0.8%, other 0.4%, unspecified 0.7% (2011 est.)
    English, English patois
    Protestant 64.8% (includes Seventh Day Adventist 12.0%, Pentecostal 11.0%, Other Church of God 9.2%, New Testament Church of God 7.2%, Baptist 6.7%, Church of God in Jamaica 4.8%, Church of God of Prophecy 4.5%, Anglican 2.8%, United Church 2.1%, Methodist 1.6%, Revived 1.4%, Brethren 0.9%, and Moravian 0.7%), Roman Catholic 2.2%, Jehovah's Witness 1.9%, Rastafarian 1.1%, other 6.5%, none 21.3%, unspecified 2.3% (2011 est.)
    0-14 years: 27.17% (male 413,325/female 399,190)
    15-24 years: 20.79% (male 312,400/female 309,477)
    25-54 years: 38.17% (male 564,414/female 577,059)
    55-64 years: 5.85% (male 84,271/female 90,612)
    65 years and over: 8.02% (male 107,310/female 132,503) (2017 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 48.7
    youth dependency ratio: 34.9
    elderly dependency ratio: 13.8
    potential support ratio: 7.2 (2015 est.)
    total: 25.6 years
    male: 25.1 years
    female: 26.1 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    0.7% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    17.9 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    6.8 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    -4.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    population density is high throughout, but increases in and around Kingston, Montego Bay, and Port Esquivel
    urban population: 55.3% of total population (2017)
    rate of urbanization: 0.93% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    KINGSTON (capital) 588,000 (2015)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
    21.2 years
    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2008 est.)
    89 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 65
    total: 13.1 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 13.7 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 12.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 111
    total population: 73.6 years
    male: 72 years
    female: 75.3 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    1.96 children born/woman (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    72.5% (2008/09)
    5.4% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    0.41 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
    1.7 beds/1,000 population (2012)
    improved:
    urban: 97.5% of population
    rural: 89.4% of population
    total: 93.8% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 2.5% of population
    rural: 10.6% of population
    total: 6.2% of population (2015 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 79.9% of population
    rural: 84.1% of population
    total: 81.8% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 20.1% of population
    rural: 15.9% of population
    total: 18.2% of population (2015 est.)
    1.7% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    30,000 (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    1,300 (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)
    26.8% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    2.5% (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    5.4% of GDP (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
    total population: 88.7%
    male: 84%
    female: 93.1% (2015 est.)
    total number: 38,516
    percentage: 6% (2005 est.)
    total: 37.8%
    male: 32.4%
    female: 43.8% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
  • Government :: JAMAICA

  • conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Jamaica
    etymology: from the native Taino word "haymaca" meaning "Land of Wood and Water" or possibly "Land of Springs"
    parliamentary democracy (Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
    name: Kingston
    geographic coordinates: 18 00 N, 76 48 W
    time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    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
    6 August 1962 (from the UK)
    Independence Day, 6 August (1962)
    several previous (preindependence); latest drafted 1961-62, submitted to British Parliament 24 July 1962, entered into force 6 August 1962 (at independence); amended many times, last in 2015 (2016)
    common law system based on the English model
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    citizenship by birth: yes
    citizenship by descent: yes
    dual citizenship recognized: yes
    residency requirement for naturalization: 4 out of the previous 5 years
    18 years of age; universal
    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 Andrew HOLNESS (since 3 March 2016)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
    elections/appointments: the monarchy 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 majority coalition in the House of Representatives is appointed prime minister by the governor general
    description: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (21 seats; members appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister and the minority party leader, 13 seats allocated to the ruling party, and 8 seats allocated to the minority party; members serve 5-year terms) and the House of Representatives (63 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)
    elections: last held on 25 February 2016 (next to be held no later than February 2021)
    election results: percent of vote by party - JLP 50.1%, PNP 49.7%, other 0.2%; seats by party - JLP 32, PNP 31
    highest resident court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of president of the court and a minimum of 4 judges; Supreme Court (40 judges organized in specialized divisions); note - appeals beyond Jamaica's highest courts are referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) rather than to the Caribbean Court of Justice (the appellate court implemented for member states of the Caribbean Community)
    judge selection and term of office: chief justice of the Supreme Court and president of the Court of Appeal appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the prime minister; other judges of both courts appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission; judges of both courts serve till age 70
    subordinate courts: resident magistrate courts, district courts, and petty sessions courts
    Jamaica Labor Party or JLP [Andrew HOLNESS]
    People's National Party or PNP [Dr. Peter David PHILLIPS]
    National Democratic Movement or NDM [Peter TOWNSEND]
    New Beginnings Movement or NBM
    Rastafarians
    ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-15, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Audrey Patrice MARKS (since 12 September 2016)
    chancery: 1520 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
    telephone: [1] (202) 452-0660
    FAX: [1] (202) 452-0036
    consulate(s) general: Miami, New York
    consulate(s): Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Concord (MA), Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia (PA), Richmond (VA), San Francisco, Seattle
    chief of mission: Ambassador Luis G. MORENO (since 13 January 2015)
    embassy: 142 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6
    mailing address: P.O. Box 541, Kingston 5
    telephone: [1] (876) 702-6000
    FAX: [1] (876) 702-6348
    diagonal yellow cross divides the flag into four triangles - green (top and bottom) and black (hoist side and fly 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
    green-and-black streamertail (bird), Guaiacum officinale (Guaiacwood); national colors: green, yellow, black
    name: "Jamaica, Land We Love"
    lyrics/music: Hugh Braham SHERLOCK/Robert Charles LIGHTBOURNE
    note: adopted 1962
  • Economy :: JAMAICA

  • The Jamaican economy is heavily dependent on services, which accounts for more than 70% of GDP. The country continues to derive most of its foreign exchange from tourism, remittances, and bauxite/alumina. Earnings from remittances and tourism each account for about 15% of GDP, while bauxite/alumina exports have declined to less than 5% of GDP.
    Jamaica's economy has grown on average less than 1% a year for the last three decades and many impediments remain to growth: a bloated public sector which crowds out spending on important projects; high crime and corruption; red-tape; and a high debt-to-GDP ratio. Jamaica, however, has made steady progress in reducing its debt-to-GDP ratio from a high of almost 150% in 2012 to about 115% in 2017, in close collaboration with the International Monetary Fund. The existing Stand By Agreement requires Jamaica to produce an annual primary surplus of 7%, in an attempt to reduce its debt burden below 60% by 2025.
    Economic growth reached 1.6% in 2016. The HOLNESS administration faces the difficult prospect of maintaining fiscal discipline to make debt payments while simultaneously attacking a serious crime problem. High unemployment exacerbates the crime problem, including gang violence fueled by the drug trade.
    $25.39 billion (2016 est.)
    $25.01 billion (2015 est.)
    $24.77 billion (2014 est.)
    note: data are in 2016 dollars
    country comparison to the world: 139
    $13.95 billion (2016 est.)
    1.5% (2016 est.)
    1% (2015 est.)
    0.5% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    $9,000 (2016 est.)
    $8,900 (2015 est.)
    $8,900 (2014 est.)
    note: data are in 2016 dollars
    country comparison to the world: 142
    20.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
    17.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
    14.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    household consumption: 81.3%
    government consumption: 13.7%
    investment in fixed capital: 21.1%
    investment in inventories: 0.1%
    exports of goods and services: 29.3%
    imports of goods and services: -45.5% (2016 est.)
    agriculture: 7.2%
    industry: 21.3%
    services: 71.4% (2016 est.)
    sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, yams, ackees, vegetables; poultry, goats, milk; shellfish
    tourism, bauxite/alumina, agricultural-processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products, telecommunications
    1.7% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 119
    1.321 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    agriculture: 17%
    industry: 19%
    services: 64% (2006)
    13.4% (2016 est.)
    13.5% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    16.5% (2009 est.)
    lowest 10%: 2.1%
    highest 10%: 35.8% (2004)
    45.5 (2004)
    37.9 (2000)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    revenues: $3.995 billion
    expenditures: $3.922 billion (2016 est.)
    28.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    0.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    127.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
    122.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    1 April - 31 March
    2.3% (2016 est.)
    3.7% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    2% (31 December 2010)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    16.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
    16.98% (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    $3.409 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    $3.542 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    $8.429 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    $8.182 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    $7.343 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    $6.881 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 114
    $6.39 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    $7.223 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $6.626 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    -$103 million (2016 est.)
    -$430 million (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 76
    $1.195 billion (2016 est.)
    $1.255 billion (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    alumina, bauxite, sugar, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals, apparel, mineral fuels
    US 40.8%, Canada 11.9%, Netherlands 10.2%, Russia 5.8%, UK 4.1% (2016)
    $4.169 billion (2016 est.)
    $4.449 billion (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    food and other consumer goods, industrial supplies, fuel, parts and accessories of capital goods, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials
    US 39%, Trinidad and Tobago 7.2%, China 6.4%, Japan 6.2%, Mexico 4.1% (2016)
    $3.291 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    $2.914 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 102
    $15.17 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    $14.27 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    Jamaican dollars (JMD) per US dollar -
    125.126 (2016 est.)
    125.126 (2015 est.)
    116.898 (2014 est.)
    110.935 (2013 est.)
    88.75 (2012 est.)
  • Energy :: JAMAICA

  • population without electricity: 200,000
    electrification - total population: 93%
    electrification - urban areas: 98%
    electrification - rural areas: 87% (2013)
    3.9 billion kWh (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    2.8 billion kWh (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 200
    1 million kW (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    91.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    2.5% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    5.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    23,360 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    23,630 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    53,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    4,526 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 96
    33,970 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 148
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 195
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
    country comparison to the world: 195
    13 million Mt (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 96
  • Communications :: JAMAICA

  • total subscriptions: 310,213
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 10 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    total: 3,267,344
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 110 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    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 fixed-line and mobile cellular teledensity exceeds 120 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; the ALBA-1 fiber-optic submarine cable links Jamaica, Cuba, and Venezuela; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2016)
    3 free-to-air TV stations, subscription cable services, and roughly 30 radio stations (2013)
    .jm
    total: 1,336,653
    percent of population: 45.0% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
  • Transportation :: JAMAICA

  • number of registered air carriers: 2
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 5
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 92,836
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 0 mt-km (2015)
    6Y (2016)
    28 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    total: 11
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
    914 to 1,523 m: 4
    under 914 m: 5 (2017)
    total: 17
    914 to 1,523 m: 1
    under 914 m: 16 (2013)
    total: 22,121 km (includes 44 km of expressways)
    paved: 16,148 km
    unpaved: 5,973 km (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    total: 14
    by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 5, container 4, roll on/roll off 1
    foreign-owned: 14 (Denmark 1, Germany 10, Greece 3) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    major seaport(s): Discovery Bay (Port Rhoades), Kingston, Montego Bay, Port Antonio, Port Esquivel, Port Kaiser, Rocky Point
    container port(s) (TEUs): Kingston (1,724,928)
  • Military and Security :: JAMAICA

  • 0.82% of GDP (2016)
    0.83% of GDP (2015)
    0.87% of GDP (2014)
    0.9% of GDP (2013)
    0.93% of GDP (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 111
    Jamaica Defense Force: Ground Forces, Coast Guard, Air Wing (2010)
    17 1/2 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
  • Transnational Issues :: JAMAICA

  • none
    current situation: Jamaica is a source and destination country for children and adults subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; sex trafficking of children and adults occurs on the street, in night clubs, bars, massage parlors, and private homes; child sex tourism is a problem in resort areas; Jamaicans have been subjected to sexual exploitation or forced labor in the Caribbean, Canada, the US, and the UK, while foreigners have endured conditions of forced labor in Jamaica or aboard foreign-flagged fishing vessels operating in Jamaican waters; a high number of Jamaican children are reported missing
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Jamaica does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; in 2014, the government made significant efforts to raise public awareness of human trafficking, and named a national trafficking-in-persons rapporteur – the first in the region; authorities initiated more new trafficking investigations than in 2013 and concluded a trafficking case in the Supreme Court, but chronic delays impeded prosecutions and no offenders were convicted for the sixth consecutive year; more adult trafficking victims were identified than in previous years, but only one child victim was identified, which was exceptionally low relative to the number of vulnerable children (2015)
    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