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Europe :: Guernsey Print
Page last updated on October 09, 2020
  • Introduction :: Guernsey
  • Background field listing
    Guernsey and the other Channel Islands represent the last remnants of the medieval Duchy of Normandy, which held sway in both France and England. The islands were the only British soil occupied by German troops in World War II. The Bailiwick of Guernsey is a self-governing British Crown dependency that is not part of the United Kingdom. However, the UK Government is constitutionally responsible for its defense and international representation. The Bailiwick of Guernsey consists of the main island of Guernsey and a number of smaller islands including Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou, Brecqhou, and Lihou.
  • Geography :: Guernsey
  • Location field listing
    Western Europe, islands in the English Channel, northwest of France
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    49 28 N, 2 35 W
    Map references field listing
    Area field listing
    total: 78 sq km
    land: 78 sq km
    water: 0 sq km

    note: includes Alderney, Guernsey, Herm, Sark, and some other smaller islands

    country comparison to the world: 228
    Area - comparative field listing
    about one-half the size of Washington, DC
    Land boundaries field listing
    0 km
    Coastline field listing
    50 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 3 nm
    exclusive fishing zone: 12 nm
    Climate field listing
    temperate with mild winters and cool summers; about 50% of days are overcast
    Terrain field listing
    mostly flat with low hills in southwest
    Elevation field listing
    lowest point: English Channel 0 m
    highest point: Le Moulin on Sark 114 m
    Natural resources field listing
    Irrigated land field listing
    Natural hazards field listing
    very large tidal variation and fast currents can make local waters dangerous
    Environment - current issues field listing
    coastal erosion, coastal flooding; declining biodiversity due to land abandonment and succession to scrub or woodland
    Geography - note field listing
    large, deepwater harbor at Saint Peter Port
  • People and Society :: Guernsey
  • Population field listing
    67,052 (July 2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 204
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Channel Islander(s)
    adjective: Channel Islander
    Ethnic groups field listing
    Guernsey 52%, UK and Ireland 23.7%, Portugal 2.1%, Latvia 1.5%, other 6.7%, unspecified 14.1%
    note: data represent population by country of birth; the native population is of British and Norman-French descent
    Languages field listing
    English, French, Norman-French dialect spoken in country districts
    Religions field listing
    Protestant (Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, Congregational, Methodist), Roman Catholic
    Age structure field listing
    0-14 years: 14.5% (male 5,008/female 4,712)
    15-24 years: 10.58% (male 3,616/female 3,476)
    25-54 years: 40.73% (male 13,821/female 13,492)
    55-64 years: 13.96% (male 4,635/female 4,728)
    65 years and over: 20.23% (male 6,229/female 7,335) (2020 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios field listing
    total dependency ratio: 49
    youth dependency ratio: 22.3
    elderly dependency ratio: 26.7
    potential support ratio: 3.7 (2020 est.)

    note: data represent the Guernsey and Jersey

    Median age field listing
    total: 44.3 years
    male: 43 years
    female: 45.6 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    Population growth rate field listing
    0.26% (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    Birth rate field listing
    9.8 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 193
    Death rate field listing
    9.2 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    Net migration rate field listing
    1.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 31% of total population (2020)
    rate of urbanization: 0.46% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

    note: data represent Guernsey and Jersey

    Major urban areas - population field listing
    16,000 SAINT PETER PORT (capital) (2018)
    Sex ratio field listing
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
    Infant mortality rate field listing
    total: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 3.6 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 3 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 207
    Life expectancy at birth field listing
    total population: 82.8 years
    male: 80.1 years
    female: 85.7 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    Total fertility rate field listing
    1.57 children born/woman (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
    Drinking water source field listing
    improved: total: 94.2% of population
    unimproved: total: 5.9% of population (2017 est.)
    note: includes data for Jersey
    Sanitation facility access field listing
    improved: total: 98% of population
    unimproved: total: 1.2% of population (2017 est.)
    note: data represent Guernsey and Jersey
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    Education expenditures field listing
  • Government :: Guernsey
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: Bailiwick of Guernsey
    conventional short form: Guernsey
    former: Norman Isles
    etymology: the name is of Old Norse origin, but the meaning of the root "Guern(s)" is uncertain; the "-ey" ending means "island"
    Dependency status field listing
    British crown dependency
    Government type field listing
    parliamentary democracy (States of Deliberation)
    Capital field listing
    name: Saint Peter Port
    geographic coordinates: 49 27 N, 2 32 W
    time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
    etymology: Saint Peter Port is the name of the town and its surrounding parish; the "port" distinguishes this parish from that of Saint Peter on the other side of the island
    Administrative divisions field listing
    none (British Crown dependency); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 10 parishes: Castel, Forest, Saint Andrew, Saint Martin, Saint Peter Port, Saint Pierre du Bois, Saint Sampson, Saint Saviour, Torteval, Vale

    note: two additional parishes for Guernsey are sometimes listed - Saint Anne on the island of Alderney and Saint Peter on the island of Sark - but they are generally not included in the enumeration of parishes

    Independence field listing
    none (British Crown dependency)
    National holiday field listing
    Liberation Day, 9 May (1945)
    Constitution field listing
    history: unwritten; includes royal charters, statutes, and common law and practice
    amendments: new laws or changes to existing laws are initiated by the States of Deliberation; passage requires majority vote
    Citizenship field listing
    see United Kingdom
    Suffrage field listing
    16 years of age; universal
    Executive branch field listing
    chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Lieutenant-Governor Vice Admiral Ian CORDER (since 14 March 2016)
    head of government: Chief Minister Gavin ST PIER (since 6 May 2016); Bailiff Sir Richard COLLAS (since 23 March 2012); note - the chief minister is the president of the Policy and Resources Committee and is the de facto head of government; the Policy and Resources Committee, elected by the States of Deliberation, functions as the executive; the 5 members all have equal voting rights
    cabinet: none
    elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; lieutenant governor and bailiff appointed by the monarch; chief minister, who is the president of the Policy and Resources Committee indirectly elected by the States of Deliberation for a 4-year term; last held on 6 May 2016 (next to be held in June 2020)
    election results: Gavin ST PIER (independent) elected president of the Policy and Resources Committee and chief minister
    Legislative branch field listing
    description: unicameral States of Deliberation (40 seats; 38 People's Deputies and 2 representatives of the States of Alderney; members directly elected by majority vote to serve 4-year terms); note - non-voting members include the bailiff (presiding officer), attorney-general, and solicitor-general
    elections: last held on 27 April 2016 (next to be held in June 2020)
    election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independent 38; composition - men 27, women 13, percent of women 32.5%
    Judicial branch field listing
    highest courts: Guernsey Court of Appeal (consists of the Bailiff of Guernsey, who is the ex-officio president of the Guernsey Court of Appeal, and at least 12 judges); Royal Court (organized into 3 divisions - Full Court sits with 1 judge and 7 to 12 jurats acting as judges of fact, Ordinary Court sits with 1 judge and normally 3 jurats, and Matrimonial Causes Division sits with 1 judge and 4 jurats); note - appeals beyond Guernsey courts are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
    judge selection and term of office: Royal Court Bailiff, Deputy Bailiff, and Court of Appeal justices appointed by the British Crown and hold office at Her Majesty's pleasure; jurats elected by the States of Election, a body chaired by the Bailiff and a number of jurats
    subordinate courts: Court of Alderney; Court of the Seneschal of Sark; Magistrates' Court (includes Juvenile Court); Contracts Court; Ecclesiastical Court; Court of Chief Pleas
    Political parties and leaders field listing
    none; all independents
    International organization participation field listing
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    none (British crown dependency)
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    none (British crown dependency)
    Flag description field listing
    white with the red cross of Saint George (patron saint of England) extending to the edges of the flag and a yellow equal-armed cross of William the Conqueror superimposed on the Saint George cross; the red cross represents the old ties with England and the fact that Guernsey is a British Crown dependency; the gold cross is a replica of the one used by Duke William of Normandy at the Battle of Hastings in 1066
    National symbol(s) field listing
    Guernsey cow, donkey; national colors: red, white, yellow
    National anthem field listing
    name: "Sarnia Cherie" (Guernsey Dear)
    lyrics/music: George DEIGHTON/Domencio SANTANGELO

    note: adopted 1911; serves as a local anthem; as a British crown dependency, "God Save the Queen" is official (see United Kingdom)

  • Economy :: Guernsey
  • Economy - overview field listing
    Financial services accounted for about 21% of employment and about 32% of total income in 2016 in this tiny, prosperous Channel Island economy. Construction, manufacturing, and horticulture, mainly tomatoes and cut flowers, have been declining. Financial services, professional services, tourism, retail, and the public sector have been growing. Light tax and death duties make Guernsey a popular offshore financial center.
    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
    $3.465 billion (2015 est.)
    $3.451 billion (2014 est.)
    $3.42 billion (2013 est.)

    note: data are in 2015 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 184
    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
    $2.742 billion (2005 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    0.4% (2015 est.)
    1.2% (2014 est.)
    4.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 193
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $52,500 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
    agriculture: 3% (2000)
    industry: 10% (2000)
    services: 87% (2000)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    tomatoes, greenhouse flowers, sweet peppers, eggplant, fruit; Guernsey cattle
    Industries field listing
    tourism, banking
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    Labor force field listing
    31,470 (March 2006)
    country comparison to the world: 203
    Unemployment rate field listing
    1.2% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    Population below poverty line field listing
    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: NA
    highest 10%: NA
    Budget field listing
    revenues: 563.6 million (2005)
    expenditures: 530.9 million (2005 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    20.6% (of GDP) (2005)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    1.2% (of GDP) (2005)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    Fiscal year field listing
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    3.4% (June 2006 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    Exports field listing


    Exports - commodities field listing
    tomatoes, flowers and ferns, sweet peppers, eggplant, other vegetables
    Imports field listing


    Imports - commodities field listing
    coal, gasoline, oil, machinery, and equipment
    Debt - external field listing


    Exchange rates field listing
    Guernsey pound per US dollar
    0.7836 (2017 est.)
    0.738 (2016 est.)
    0.738 (2015)
    0.6542 (2014)
    0.607 (2013)
  • Energy :: Guernsey
  • Electricity access field listing
    electrification - total population: 100% (2016)
  • Communications :: Guernsey
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 36,547
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 60 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 71,249
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 113 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 199
    Telecommunication systems field listing
    general assessment: high performance global connections with quality service; connections to major cities around the world to rival and attract future investment and future needs of islanders and businesses (2018)
    domestic: fixed-line 60 per 100 and mobile-cellular 113 per 100 persons (2018)
    international: country code - 44; landing points for Guernsey-Jersey, HUGO, INGRID, Channel Islands -9 Liberty and UK-Channel Islands-7 submarine cable to UK and France (2019)
    note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
    Broadcast media field listing
    multiple UK terrestrial TV broadcasts are received via a transmitter in Jersey with relays in Jersey, Guernsey, and Alderney; satellite packages are available; BBC Radio Guernsey and 1 other radio station operating
    Internet country code field listing
    Internet users field listing
    total: 55,050
    percent of population: 83.3% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 195
  • Military and Security :: Guernsey
  • Military - note field listing
    defense is the responsibility of the UK
  • Transportation :: Guernsey
  • National air transport system field listing
    number of registered air carriers: 1 (registered in UK) (2020)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 9 (registered in UK)
    Airports field listing
    2 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 199
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    total: 2 (2019)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    under 914 m: 1
    Roadways field listing
    total: 260 km (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 204
    Ports and terminals field listing
    major seaport(s): Braye Bay, Saint Peter Port
  • Transnational Issues :: Guernsey
  • Disputes - international field listing