Central America :: Cayman Islands
  • Introduction :: Cayman Islands
  • Background:
    The Cayman Islands were colonized from Jamaica by the British during the 18th and 19th centuries and were administered by Jamaica after 1863. In 1959, the islands became a territory within the Federation of the West Indies. When the Federation dissolved in 1962, the Cayman Islands chose to remain a British dependency. The territory has transformed itself into a significant offshore financial center.
  • Geography :: Cayman Islands
  • Location:
    Caribbean, three-island group (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, Little Cayman) in Caribbean Sea, 240 km south of Cuba and 268 km northwest of Jamaica
    Geographic coordinates:
    19 30 N, 80 30 W
    Map references:
    Central America and the Caribbean
    Area:
    total: 264 sq km
    land: 264 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 211
    Area - comparative:
    1.5 times the size of Washington, DC
    Land boundaries:
    0 km
    Coastline:
    160 km
    Maritime claims:
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
    Climate:
    tropical marine; warm, rainy summers (May to October) and cool, relatively dry winters (November to April)
    Terrain:
    low-lying limestone base surrounded by coral reefs
    Elevation:
    0 m lowest point: Caribbean Sea
    50 highest point: 1 km SW of The Bluff on Cayman Brac
    Natural resources:
    fish, climate and beaches that foster tourism
    Land use:
    agricultural land: 11.2% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 0.8% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 2.1% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 8.3% (2011 est.)
    forest: 52.9% (2011 est.)
    other: 35.9% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land:
    NA
    Population distribution:
    majority of the population resides on Grand Cayman
    Natural hazards:
    hurricanes (July to November)
    Environment - current issues:
    no natural freshwater resources; drinking water supplies are met by reverse osmosis desalination plants and rainwater catchment; trash washing up on the beaches or being deposited there by residents; no recycling or waste treatment facilities; deforestation (trees being cut down to create space for commercial use)
    Geography - note:
    important location between Cuba and Central America
  • People and Society :: Cayman Islands
  • Population:
    59,613 (July 2018 est.)

    note: most of the population lives on Grand Cayman

    country comparison to the world: 205
    Nationality:
    noun: Caymanian(s)
    adjective: Caymanian
    Ethnic groups:
    mixed 40%, white 20%, black 20%, expatriates of various ethnic groups 20%
    Languages:
    English (official) 90.9%, Spanish 4%, Filipino 3.3%, other 1.7%, unspecified 0.1% (2010 est.)
    Religions:
    Protestant 67.8% (includes Church of God 22.6%, Seventh Day Adventist 9.4%, Presbyterian/United Church 8.6%, Baptist 8.3%, Pentecostal 7.1%, non-denominational 5.3%, Anglican 4.1%, Wesleyan Holiness 2.4%), Roman Catholic 14.1%, Jehovah's Witness 1.1%, other 7%, none 9.3%, unspecified 0.7% (2010 est.)
    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 17.91% (male 5,376 /female 5,298)
    15-24 years: 12.2% (male 3,609 /female 3,662)
    25-54 years: 42.12% (male 12,256 /female 12,855)
    55-64 years: 14.64% (male 4,169 /female 4,558)
    65 years and over: 13.13% (male 3,627 /female 4,203) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Median age:
    total: 40.2 years
    male: 39.5 years
    female: 40.9 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    Population growth rate:
    1.96% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    Birth rate:
    12 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    Death rate:
    5.9 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    Net migration rate:
    13.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)

    note: major destination for Cubans trying to migrate to the US

    country comparison to the world: 4
    Population distribution:
    majority of the population resides on Grand Cayman
    Urbanization:
    urban population: 100% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 1.27% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population:
    35,000 GEORGE TOWN (capital) (2018)
    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    15-24 years: 0.98 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    25-54 years: 0.95 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    Infant mortality rate:
    total: 5.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    male: 6.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    female: 4.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 81.4 years (2018 est.)
    male: 78.7 years (2018 est.)
    female: 84.2 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    Total fertility rate:
    1.84 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    Drinking water source:
    improved: urban: 97.4% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: NA (2015 est.)
    total: 97.4% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 2.6% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 2.6% of population (2015 est.)
    Sanitation facility access:
    improved: urban: 95.6% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 95.6% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 4.4% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 4.4% of population (2015 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - deaths:
    NA
    Major infectious diseases:

    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

    Education expenditures:
    NA
    Literacy:
    definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school (2007 est.)
    total population: 98.9% (2007 est.)
    male: 98.7% (2007 est.)
    female: 99% (2007 est.)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
    total: 13.8% (2015 est.)
    male: 16.4% (2015 est.)
    female: 11.4% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
  • Government :: Cayman Islands
  • Country name:
    conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Cayman Islands
    etymology: the islands' name comes from the native Carib word "caiman," describing the marine crocodiles living there
    Dependency status:
    overseas territory of the UK
    Government type:
    parliamentary democracy (Legislative Assembly); self-governing overseas territory of the UK
    Capital:
    name: George Town (on Grand Cayman)
    geographic coordinates: 19 18 N, 81 23 W
    time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions:
    6 districts; Bodden Town, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, East End, George Town, North Side, West Bay
    Independence:
    none (overseas territory of the UK)
    National holiday:
    Constitution Day, first Monday in July (1959)
    Constitution:
    history: several previous; latest approved 10 June 2009, entered into force 6 November 2009 (The Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009) (2018)
    amendments: amended several times, last in 2016 (2018)
    Citizenship:
    see United Kingdom
    Suffrage:
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch:
    chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Martyn ROPER (since 29 October 2018)
    head of government: Premier Alden MCLAUGHLIN (since 29 May 2013)
    cabinet: Cabinet selected from the Legislative Assembly and appointed by the governor on the advice of the premier
    elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition appointed premier by the governor
    Legislative branch:
    description: unicameral Legislative Assembly (21 seats; 19 members directly elected by majority vote and 2 ex officio members - the deputy governor and attorney general - appointed by the governor; members serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held on 24 May 2017 (next to be held in 2021)
    election results: percent of vote by party - independent 44.7%, PPM 31.2%, CDP 24.1%; seats by party - independent 9, PPM 7, CDP 3
    Judicial branch:
    highest courts: Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and at least 2 judges); Grand Court (consists of the court president and at least 2 judges); note - appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
    judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal and Grand Court judges appointed by the governor on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, an 8-member independent body consisting of governor appointees, Court of Appeal president, and attorneys; Court of Appeal judges' tenure based on their individual instruments of appointment; Grand Court judges normally appointed until retirement at age 65 but can be extended until age 70
    subordinate courts: Summary Court
    Political parties and leaders:
    People's Progressive Movement or PPM [Alden MCLAUGHLIN]
    Cayman Democratic Party or CDP [McKeeva BUSH]
    International organization participation:
    Caricom (associate), CDB, Interpol (subbureau), IOC, UNESCO (associate), UPU
    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    none (overseas territory of the UK)
    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    none (overseas territory of the UK); consular services provided through the US Embassy in Jamaica
    Flag description:
    a blue field with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Caymanian coat of arms centered on the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms includes a crest with a pineapple, representing the connection with Jamaica, and a turtle, representing Cayman's seafaring tradition, above a shield bearing a golden lion, symbolizing Great Britain, below which are three green stars (representing the three islands) surmounting white and blue wavy lines representing the sea; a scroll below the shield bears the motto HE HATH FOUNDED IT UPON THE SEAS
    National symbol(s):
    green sea turtle
    National anthem:
    name: Beloved Isle Cayman
    lyrics/music: Leila E. ROSS

    note: adopted 1993; served as an unofficial anthem since 1930; as a territory of the United Kingdom, in addition to the local anthem, "God Save the Queen" is official (see United Kingdom)

  • Economy :: Cayman Islands
  • Economy - overview:

    With no direct taxation, the islands are a thriving offshore financial center. More than 65,000 companies were registered in the Cayman Islands as of 2017, including more than 280 banks, 700 insurers, and 10,500 mutual funds. A stock exchange was opened in 1997. Nearly 90% of the islands' food and consumer goods must be imported. The Caymanians enjoy a standard of living comparable to that of Switzerland.

    Tourism is also a mainstay, accounting for about 70% of GDP and 75% of foreign currency earnings. The tourist industry is aimed at the luxury market and caters mainly to visitors from North America. Total tourist arrivals exceeded 2.1 million in 2016, with more than three-quarters from the US.

    GDP (purchasing power parity):
    $2.507 billion (2014 est.)
    $2.465 billion (2013 est.)
    $2.435 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
    GDP (official exchange rate):
    $2.25 billion (2008 est.) (2008 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate:
    1.7% (2014 est.)
    1.2% (2013 est.)
    1.6% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    GDP - per capita (PPP):
    $43,800 (2004 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    GDP - composition, by end use:
    household consumption: 62.3% (2017 est.)
    government consumption: 14.5% (2017 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 22.1% (2017 est.)
    investment in inventories: 0.1% (2017 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 65.4% (2017 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -64.2% (2017 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
    agriculture: 0.3% (2017 est.)
    industry: 7.4% (2017 est.)
    services: 92.3% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products:
    vegetables, fruit; livestock; turtle farming
    Industries:
    tourism, banking, insurance and finance, construction, construction materials, furniture
    Industrial production growth rate:
    2.2% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Labor force:
    39,000 (2007 est.)

    note: nearly 55% are non-nationals

    country comparison to the world: 197
    Labor force - by occupation:
    agriculture: 79% (2008 est.)
    industry: 19.1% (2008 est.)
    services: 79% (2008 est.)
    Unemployment rate:
    4% (2008)
    4.4% (2004)
    country comparison to the world: 51
    Population below poverty line:
    NA
    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA
    highest 10%: NA
    Budget:
    revenues: 874.5 million (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 766.6 million (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues:
    38.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 51
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
    4.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    Fiscal year:
    1 April - 31 March
    Inflation rate (consumer prices):
    2% (2017 est.)
    -0.6% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    Commercial bank prime lending rate:
    14.9% (31 December 2017 est.)
    14.9% (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    Stock of narrow money:
    $334.3 million (31 December 2008)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    Stock of broad money:
    $5.564 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

    country comparison to the world: 100
    Market value of publicly traded shares:
    $315.6 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    $183.5 million (31 December 2007)
    $188.4 million (31 December 2006)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    Current account balance:
    -$492.6 million (2017 est.)
    -$493.5 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 118
    Exports:
    $421.9 million (2017 est.)
    $47.6 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 182
    Exports - commodities:
    turtle products, manufactured consumer goods
    Imports:
    $787.3 million (2017 est.)
    $585.2 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    Imports - commodities:
    foodstuffs, manufactured goods, fuels
    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

    NA

    Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

    NA

    Exchange rates:
    Caymanian dollars (KYD) per US dollar -
    0.82 (2017 est.)
    0.82 (2016 est.)
    0.82 (2015 est.)
    0.82 (2014 est.)
    0.83 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Cayman Islands
  • Electricity access:
    population without electricity: 5,726 (2012)
    electrification - total population: 91% (2012)
    electrification - urban areas: 91% (2012)
    electrification - rural areas: 80% (2012)
    Electricity - production:
    624 million kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    Electricity - consumption:
    587 million kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    Electricity - exports:
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 117
    Electricity - imports:
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    Electricity - installed generating capacity:
    132,000 kW (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
    Electricity - from fossil fuels:
    100% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
    0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
    0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    Electricity - from other renewable sources:
    0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    Crude oil - production:
    0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 117
    Crude oil - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    Crude oil - imports:
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 106
    Crude oil - proved reserves:
    0 bbl (1 January 2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 119
    Refined petroleum products - production:
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    Refined petroleum products - consumption:
    4,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    Refined petroleum products - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    Refined petroleum products - imports:
    3,984 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 169
    Natural gas - production:
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 118
    Natural gas - consumption:
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 132
    Natural gas - exports:
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 80
    Natural gas - imports:
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    Natural gas - proved reserves:
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
    500,000 Mt (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
  • Communications :: Cayman Islands
  • Telephones - fixed lines:
    total subscriptions: 34,116 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 60 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    Telephones - mobile cellular:
    total subscriptions: 95,656 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 164 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
    Telephone system:
    general assessment: reasonably good overall telephone system with a high fixed-line teledensity; with a high dependence on tourism and activities such as fisheries and offshore financial services, the telecom sector provides a relatively high contribution to overall GDP; effective competion in all sectors promotes growth in mobile telephony and data segments (2018)
    domestic: liberalization of telecom market in 2003; introduction of competition in the mobile-cellular market in 2004 boosted subscriptions dramatically; 60 per 100 fixed-line, 164 per 100 mobile-cellular (2018)
    international: country code - 1-345; landing points for the Maya-1, Eastern Caribbean Fiber System (ECFS), and the Cayman-Jamaica Fiber System submarine cables that provide links to the US and parts of Central and South America; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2015)
    Broadcast media:
    4 TV stations; cable and satellite subscription services offer a variety of international programming; government-owned Radio Cayman operates 2 networks broadcasting on 5 stations; 10 privately owned radio stations operate alongside Radio Cayman (2007)
    Internet country code:
    .ky
    Internet users:
    total: 45,242 (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 79% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 197
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions:
    total: 24,535 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 42 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
  • Transportation :: Cayman Islands
  • National air transport system:
    number of registered air carriers: 1 (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 6 (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
    VP-C (2016)
    Airports:
    3 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 194
    Airports - with paved runways:
    total: 3 (2017)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2017)
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways:
    total: 1 (2012)
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2012)
    Roadways:
    total: 785 km (2007)
    paved: 785 km (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    Merchant marine:
    total: 161 (2017)
    by type: bulk carrier 29, general cargo 4, oil tanker 16, other 112 (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    Ports and terminals:
    major seaport(s): Cayman Brac, George Town
  • Military and Security :: Cayman Islands
  • Military branches:
    no regular military forces; Royal Cayman Islands Police Force (2012)
    Military - note:
    defense is the responsibility of the UK
  • Transnational Issues :: Cayman Islands
  • Disputes - international:
    none
    Illicit drugs:
    major offshore financial center; vulnerable to drug transshipment to the US and Europe