Central America :: Montserrat
  • Introduction :: Montserrat
  • Background:
    English and Irish colonists from St. Kitts first settled on Montserrat in 1632; the first African slaves arrived three decades later. The British and French fought for possession of the island for most of the 18th century, but it finally was confirmed as a British possession in 1783. The island's sugar plantation economy was converted to small farm landholdings in the mid-19th century. Much of this island was devastated and two-thirds of the population fled abroad because of the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano that began on 18 July 1995. Montserrat has endured volcanic activity since, with the last eruption occurring in 2013.
  • Geography :: Montserrat
  • Location:
    Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, southeast of Puerto Rico
    Geographic coordinates:
    16 45 N, 62 12 W
    Map references:
    Central America and the Caribbean
    Area:
    total: 102 sq km
    land: 102 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 226
    Area - comparative:
    about 0.6 times the size of Washington, DC
    Land boundaries:
    0 km
    Coastline:
    40 km
    Maritime claims:
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
    Climate:
    tropical; little daily or seasonal temperature variation
    Terrain:
    volcanic island, mostly mountainous, with small coastal lowland
    Elevation:
    0 m lowest point: Caribbean Sea
    highest point: Soufriere Hills volcano pre-eruption height was 915 m; current lava dome is subject to periodic build up and collapse; estimated dome height was 1050 m in 2015
    Natural resources:
    NEGL
    Land use:
    agricultural land: 30% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 20% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 10% (2011 est.)
    forest: 25% (2011 est.)
    other: 45% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land:
    0 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution:
    only the northern half of the island is populated, the southern portion is uninhabitable due to volcanic activity
    Natural hazards:

    volcanic eruptions; severe hurricanes (June to November)

    volcanism: Soufriere Hills volcano (915 m), has erupted continuously since 1995; a massive eruption in 1997 destroyed most of the capital, Plymouth, and resulted in approximately half of the island becoming uninhabitable; the island of Montserrat is part of the volcanic island arc of the Lesser Antilles that extends from Saba in the north to Grenada in the south

    Environment - current issues:
    land erosion occurs on slopes that have been cleared for cultivation
    Geography - note:
    the island is entirely volcanic in origin and comprised of three major volcanic centers of differing ages
  • People and Society :: Montserrat
  • Population:
    5,315 (July 2018 est.)

    note: an estimated 8,000 refugees left the island following the resumption of volcanic activity in July 1995; some have returned

    country comparison to the world: 228
    Nationality:
    noun: Montserratian(s)
    adjective: Montserratian
    Ethnic groups:
    African/black 88.4%, mixed 3.7%, hispanic/Spanish 3%, caucasian/white 2.7%, East Indian/Indian 1.5%, other 0.7% (2011 est.)
    Languages:
    English
    Religions:
    Protestant 67.1% (includes Anglican 21.8%, Methodist 17%, Pentecostal 14.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 10.5%, and Church of God 3.7%), Roman Catholic 11.6%, Rastafarian 1.4%, other 6.5%, none 2.6%, unspecified 10.8% (2001 est.)
    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 15.99% (male 436 /female 414)
    15-24 years: 21.39% (male 588 /female 549)
    25-54 years: 47.58% (male 1,224 /female 1,305)
    55-64 years: 8.81% (male 214 /female 254)
    65 years and over: 6.23% (male 191 /female 140) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Median age:
    total: 33.8 years
    male: 33.1 years
    female: 34.4 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    Population growth rate:
    0.43% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 159
    Birth rate:
    10.5 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    Death rate:
    6.2 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    Net migration rate:
    0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    Population distribution:
    only the northern half of the island is populated, the southern portion is uninhabitable due to volcanic activity
    Urbanization:
    urban population: 9.1% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 0.64% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    15-24 years: 1.08 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    25-54 years: 0.92 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    55-64 years: 0.83 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    65 years and over: 1.6 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    total population: 1 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    Infant mortality rate:
    total: 11.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    male: 9.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    female: 14.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 74.8 years (2018 est.)
    male: 76.1 years (2018 est.)
    female: 73.5 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    Total fertility rate:
    1.34 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 216
    Drinking water source:
    improved: urban: 99% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 99% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 99% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 1% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 1% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 1% of population (2015 est.)
    Sanitation facility access:
    improved: urban: 82.9% of population (2007 est.)
    rural: 82.9% of population (2007 est.)
    total: 82.9% of population (2007 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 17.1% of population (2007 est.)
    rural: 17.1% of population (2007 est.)
    total: 17.1% of population (2007 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - deaths:
    NA
    Education expenditures:
    5.1% of GDP (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 69
  • Government :: Montserrat
  • Country name:
    conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Montserrat
    etymology: island named by explorer Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 after the Benedictine abbey Santa Maria de Montserrat, near Barcelona, Spain
    Dependency status:
    overseas territory of the UK
    Government type:
    parliamentary democracy (Legislative Council); self-governing overseas territory of the UK
    Capital:
    name: Plymouth; note - Plymouth was abandoned in 1997 because of volcanic activity; interim government buildings have been built at Brades Estate, the de facto capital, in the Carr's Bay/Little Bay vicinity at the northwest end of Montserrat
    geographic coordinates: 16 42 N, 62 13 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions:
    3 parishes; Saint Anthony, Saint Georges, Saint Peter
    Independence:
    none (overseas territory of the UK)
    National holiday:
    birthday of Queen ELIZABETH II, second Saturday in June (1926)
    Constitution:
    history: previous 1960; latest effective 1 September 2010 (The Montserrat Constitution Order 2010) (2018)
    amendments: amended 2011 (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 Andrew PEARCE (since 1 February 2018)
    head of government: Premier Donaldson ROMERO (since 12 September 2014); note - effective with The Constitution Order 2010, effective October 2010, the office of premier replaced the office of chief minister
    cabinet: Executive Council consists of the governor, the premier, 3 other ministers, the attorney general, and the finance secretary
    elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party usually becomes premier
    Legislative branch:
    description: unicameral Legislative Assembly (11 seats; 9 members directly elected in a single constituency by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds to serve 5-year terms and 2 ex-officio members - the attorney general and financial secretary)
    elections: last held on 11 September 2014 (next to be held by 2019)
    election results: percent of vote by party - PDM 50.0%, MCAP 35.4%, other 14.6%; seats by party - PDM 7, MCAP 2
    Judicial branch:
    highest courts: the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the superior court of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States; the ECSC - headquartered on St. Lucia - consists of the Court of Appeal - headed by the chief justice and 4 judges - and the High Court with 18 judges; the Court of Appeal is itinerant, travelling to member states on a schedule to hear appeals from the High Court and subordinate courts; High Court judges reside at the member states with 1 assigned to Montserrat; Montserrat is also a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice
    judge selection and term of office: chief justice of Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court appointed by the Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, and independent body of judicial officials; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65; High Court judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 62
    subordinate courts: magistrate's court
    Political parties and leaders:
    Movement for Change and Prosperity or MCAP [Easton Taylor FARRELL]
    People's Democratic Movement or PDM [Donaldson ROMERO]
    International organization participation:
    Caricom, CDB, Interpol (subbureau), OECS, UPU
    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 Montserratian coat of arms centered in the outer half of the flag; the arms feature a woman in green dress, Erin, the female personification of Ireland, standing beside a yellow harp and embracing a large dark cross with her right arm; Erin and the harp are symbols of Ireland reflecting the territory's Irish ancestry; blue represents awareness, trustworthiness, determination, and righteousness
    National anthem:

    note: as a territory of the UK, "God Save the Queen" is official (see United Kingdom)

  • Economy :: Montserrat
  • Economy - overview:

    Severe volcanic activity, which began in July 1995, has put a damper on this small, open economy. A catastrophic eruption in June 1997 closed the airport and seaports, causing further economic and social dislocation. Two-thirds of the 12,000 inhabitants fled the island. Some began to return in 1998 but lack of housing limited the number. The agriculture sector continued to be affected by the lack of suitable land for farming and the destruction of crops.

    Prospects for the economy depend largely on developments in relation to the volcanic activity and on public sector construction activity. Half of the island remains uninhabitable. In January 2013, the EU announced the disbursement of a $55.2 million aid package to Montserrat in order to boost the country's economic recovery, with a specific focus on public finance management, public sector reform, and prudent economic management. Montserrat is tied to the EU through the UK. Although the UK is leaving the EU, Montserrat’s aid will not be affected as Montserrat maintains a direct agreement with the EU regarding aid.

    GDP (purchasing power parity):
    $167.4 million (2011 est.)
    $155.9 million (2010 est.)
    $162.7 million (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 223
    GDP (official exchange rate):
    $167.4 million (2011 est.) (2011 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate:
    7.4% (2011 est.)
    -4.2% (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    GDP - per capita (PPP):
    $34,000 (2011 est.)
    $31,100 (2010 est.)
    $32,300 (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    GDP - composition, by end use:
    household consumption: 90.8% (2017 est.)
    government consumption: 50.4% (2017 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 17.9% (2017 est.)
    investment in inventories: -0.1% (2017 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 29.5% (2017 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -88.6% (2017 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
    agriculture: 1.9% (2017 est.)
    industry: 7.8% (2017 est.)
    services: 90.3% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products:
    cabbages, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers; livestock products
    Industries:
    tourism, rum, textiles, electronic appliances
    Industrial production growth rate:
    -21% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 200
    Labor force:
    4,521 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 222
    Labor force - by occupation:
    agriculture: 85.9% (2017 est.)
    industry: 12.7% (2017 est.)
    services: 85.9% (2017 est.)
    Unemployment rate:
    5.6% (2017 est.)
    6% (1998 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    Population below poverty line:
    NA
    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA
    highest 10%: NA
    Budget:
    revenues: 66.67 million (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 47.04 million (2017 est.)
    Fiscal year:
    1 April - 31 March
    Inflation rate (consumer prices):
    1.2% (2017 est.)
    -0.2% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    Central bank discount rate:
    10.99% (31 December 2010)
    6.5% (31 December 2009)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    Commercial bank prime lending rate:
    6.95% (31 December 2017 est.)
    7.21% (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    Stock of narrow money:
    $28.33 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $23.04 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
    Stock of broad money:
    $28.33 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $23.04 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 195
    Stock of domestic credit:
    $5.185 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $1.481 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    Current account balance:
    -$15.4 million (2017 est.)
    -$12.2 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 71
    Exports:
    $4.4 million (2017 est.)
    $5.2 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 218
    Exports - commodities:
    electronic components, plastic bags, apparel; hot peppers, limes, live plants; cattle
    Exports - partners:
    US 29%, France 23%, Saint Kitts and Nevis 22.2% (2017)
    Imports:
    $39.44 million (2017 est.)
    $31.02 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 218
    Imports - commodities:
    machinery and transportation equipment, foodstuffs, manufactured goods, fuels, lubricants
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
    $47.58 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $51.47 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    Imports - partners:
    US 72.8%, Trinidad and Tobago 6%, UK 4.1% (2017)
    Debt - external:
    $8.9 million (1997)
    country comparison to the world: 200
    Exchange rates:
    East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar -
    2.7 (2017 est.)
    2.7 (2016 est.)
    2.7 (2015 est.)
    2.7 (2014 est.)
    2.7 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Montserrat
  • Electricity - production:
    24 million kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    Electricity - consumption:
    22.32 million kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    Electricity - exports:
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
    Electricity - imports:
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Electricity - installed generating capacity:
    5,000 kW (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 212
    Electricity - from fossil fuels:
    100% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
    0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
    0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 188
    Electricity - from other renewable sources:
    0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 199
    Crude oil - production:
    0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Crude oil - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    Crude oil - imports:
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 169
    Crude oil - proved reserves:
    0 bbl (1 January 2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    Refined petroleum products - production:
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    Refined petroleum products - consumption:
    570 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    Refined petroleum products - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    Refined petroleum products - imports:
    416 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 206
    Natural gas - production:
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Natural gas - consumption:
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    Natural gas - exports:
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    Natural gas - imports:
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    Natural gas - proved reserves:
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
    88,010 Mt (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
  • Communications :: Montserrat
  • Telephones - fixed lines:
    total subscriptions: 3,000 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 57 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    Telephones - mobile cellular:
    total subscriptions: 5,000 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 95 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 214
    Telephone system:
    general assessment: modern and fully digitalized (2016)
    domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity exceeds 150 per 100 persons (2016)
    international: country code - 1-664; landing point for the East Caribbean Fiber System (ECFS) optic submarine cable with links to 13 other islands in the eastern Caribbean extending from the British Virgin Islands to Trinidad (2016)
    Broadcast media:
    Radio Montserrat, a public radio broadcaster, transmits on 1 station and has a repeater transmission to a second station; repeater transmissions from the GEM Radio Network of Trinidad and Tobago provide another 2 radio stations; cable and satellite TV available (2007)
    Internet country code:
    .ms
    Internet users:
    total: 2,860 (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 54.6% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 220
  • Transportation :: Montserrat
  • National air transport system:
    number of registered air carriers: 1 (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 3 (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
    VP-M (2016)
    Airports:
    1 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 229
    Airports - with paved runways:
    total: 1 (2017)
    under 914 m: 1 (2017)
    Roadways:

    note: volcanic eruptions that began in 1995 destroyed most of the 227 km road system; a new road infrastructure has been built on the north end of the island

    Ports and terminals:
    major seaport(s): Little Bay, Plymouth
  • Military and Security :: Montserrat
  • Military branches:
    no regular military forces; Royal Montserrat Police Force (2011)
    Military - note:
    defense is the responsibility of the UK
  • Transnational Issues :: Montserrat
  • Disputes - international:
    none
    Illicit drugs:
    transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for the US and Europe