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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: 168
    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
    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.)
    252.2 sq km (2003)
    9.4 cu km (2011)
    total: 0.93 cu km/yr (32%/16%/52%)
    per capita: 369.9 cu m/yr (2009)
    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
    strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for the Panama Canal
  • People and Society :: JAMAICA

  • 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 .9%, and Moravian .7%), Roman Catholic 2.2%, Jehovah's Witness 1.9%, Rastafarian 1.1%, other 6.5%, none 21.3%, unspecified 2.3% (2011 est.)
    2,950,210 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    0-14 years: 27.97% (male 419,725/female 405,573)
    15-24 years: 21.46% (male 317,873/female 315,163)
    25-54 years: 37% (male 538,173/female 553,486)
    55-64 years: 5.69% (male 81,281/female 86,713)
    65 years and over: 7.87% (male 103,958/female 128,265) (2015 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 48.6%
    youth dependency ratio: 35%
    elderly dependency ratio: 13.6%
    potential support ratio: 7.4% (2015 est.)
    total: 24.9 years
    male: 24.4 years
    female: 25.4 years (2014 est.)
    0.68% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    18.16 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    6.7 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    -4.66 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 193
    urban population: 54.8% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 0.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    KINGSTON (capital) 588,000 (2015)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
    total: 13.37 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 13.93 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 12.78 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    total population: 73.55 years
    male: 71.93 years
    female: 75.24 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    2.01 children born/woman (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 118
    72.5% (2008/09)
    5.9% of GDP (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 114
    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.)
    1.75% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    30,300 (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 71
    1,300 (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    26.8% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    3.2% (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    6.3% of GDP (2013)
    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: 12 years
    male: 12 years
    female: 13 years (2013)
    total number: 38,516
    percentage: 6% (2005 est.)
    total: 34%
    male: 27.1%
    female: 42.6% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
  • Government :: JAMAICA

  • conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Jamaica
    constitutional parliamentary democracy and 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 2011 (2011)
    common law system based on the English model
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Michaelle JEAN (since 5 January 2015)
    head of government: Prime Minister Portia SIMPSON-MILLER (since 5 January 2012)
    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 29 December 2011 (next to be held no later than December 2016)
    election results: percent of vote by party - PNP 53.3%, JLP 46.6%; seats by party - PNP 41, JLP 22
    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 submitted 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 [Portia SIMPSON-MILLER]
    National Democratic Movement or NDM [Michael WILLIAMS]
    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 Stephen C. VASCIANNIE (since 20 July 2012)
    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. Remittances and tourism each account for 30% of GDP, while bauxite/alumina exports make up roughly 5% of GDP. The bauxite/alumina sector was most affected by the global downturn while the tourism industry and remittance flow remained resilient. Jamaica's economy faces many challenges to growth: high crime and corruption, large-scale unemployment and underemployment, and a debt-to-GDP ratio of about 130%. The attendant debt servicing cost consumes a large portion of the government's budget, limiting its ability to fund the critical infrastructure and social programs required to drive growth. Jamaica's economic growth rate in the recent past has been stagnant, averaging less than 1% per year for over 20 years. Jamaica's onerous public debt burden is largely the result of government bailouts to ailing sectors of the economy, most notably to the financial sector. In early 2010, the Jamaican Government initiated the Jamaica Debt Exchange to retire high-priced domestic bonds and reduce annual debt servicing. Despite these efforts, debt continued to be a serious concern, forcing the government to negotiate and sign a new IMF agreement in May 2013 to gain access to approximately $1 billion additional funds. As a precursor, the government instigated a second National Debt Exchange in 2012. The IMF deal requires the government to reform its tax system, eliminate discretionary tax exemptions and waivers, and achieve an annual surplus of 7.5%, excluding debt payments, to reduce its debt below 100% of GDP by 2020. The SIMPSON-MILLER administration now faces the difficult prospect of having to achieve fiscal discipline to maintain debt payments while simultaneously attacking a serious crime problem that is hampering economic growth. High unemployment exacerbates the crime problem, including gang violence that is fueled by the drug trade.
    $24.1 billion (2014 est.)
    $23.97 billion (2013 est.)
    $23.92 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 135
    $13.79 billion (2014 est.)
    0.5% (2014 est.)
    0.2% (2013 est.)
    -0.5% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    $8,600 (2014 est.)
    $8,600 (2013 est.)
    $8,500 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 136
    13% of GDP (2014 est.)
    12% of GDP (2013 est.)
    10.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    household consumption: 85.6%
    government consumption: 15.3%
    investment in fixed capital: 20.9%
    investment in inventories: 0.3%
    exports of goods and services: 29.2%
    imports of goods and services: -51.4%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 6.9%
    industry: 21.1%
    services: 72% (2014 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
    1.2% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 149
    1.311 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    agriculture: 17%
    industry: 19%
    services: 64% (2006)
    15.3% (2014 est.)
    15.2% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    16.5% (2009 est.)
    lowest 10%: 2.1%
    highest 10%: 35.8% (2004)
    45.5 (2004)
    37.9 (2000)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    revenues: $3.834 billion
    expenditures: $3.956 billion (2014 est.)
    27.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    -0.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    132% of GDP (2014 est.)
    132.2% of GDP (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    1 April - 31 March
    7.1% (2014 est.)
    9.3% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 196
    2% (31 December 2010)
    country comparison to the world: 119
    17.3% (31 December 2014 est.)
    17.72% (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    $1.994 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $1.905 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    $6.646 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $6.432 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 117
    $7.113 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $6.984 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    $6.39 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    $7.223 billion (31 December 2011)
    $6.626 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 84
    -$879 million (2014 est.)
    -$1.551 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    $1.497 billion (2014 est.)
    $1.597 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    alumina, bauxite, sugar, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals, apparel, mineral fuels
    US 29.4%, Canada 14.8%, Netherlands 7.7%, UK 6%, UAE 5.8%, Slovenia 4.9%, Russia 4.3% (2013)
    $5.153 billion (2014 est.)
    $5.573 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    food and other consumer goods, industrial supplies, fuel, parts and accessories of capital goods, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials
    US 33.7%, Venezuela 15.7%, Trinidad and Tobago 11.4%, China 10.6% (2013)
    $2.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $1.818 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    $15.99 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $15.24 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    Jamaican dollars (JMD) per US dollar -
    111 (2014 est.)
    100.241 (2013 est.)
    88.75 (2012 est.)
    85.893 (2011 est.)
    87.196 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: JAMAICA

  • 4.745 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    3.797 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 156
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    922,700 kW (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    91.7% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    2.5% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    5.8% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    3,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 134
    22,940 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    0 bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 148
    23,120 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    69,310 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    32,920 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 88
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 157
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    12.75 million Mt (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 96
  • Communications :: JAMAICA

  • total subscriptions: 250,000
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 9 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    total: 2.9 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 98 (2014 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 mobile-cellular teledensity exceeded 110 per 100 persons in 2011
    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) (2010)
    3 free-to-air TV stations, subscription cable services, and roughly 30 radio stations (2013)
    AM 4, FM 24, shortwave 0 (2008)
    7 (1997)
    .jm
    total: 1.5 million
    percent of population: 49.8% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
  • Transportation :: JAMAICA

  • 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 (2013)
    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 :: JAMAICA

  • 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)
    males age 16-49: 726,263
    females age 16-49: 742,958 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 590,673
    females age 16-49: 596,414 (2010 est.)
    male: 33,369
    female: 32,702 (2010 est.)
    0.86% of GDP (2012)
    0.92% of GDP (2011)
    0.86% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 111
  • Transnational Issues :: JAMAICA

  • none
    current situation: Jamaica is a source, transit, and destination country for children and adults subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; the exploitation of local children in the sex trade is a serious problem; sex trafficking of children and adults occurs on the street, in night clubs, bars, and private homes; 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; an alarmingly 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 2013, the government implemented amendments to strengthen the anti-trafficking law; for the fifth consecutive year, no trafficking offenders or officials complicit in human trafficking were convicted; the lack of victims identified raised concerns that the government did not employ standard operating procedures to guide front-line responders; a government-operated hotline continued to provide specialized assistance to human trafficking victims (2014)
    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
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