Central America :: Belize
  • Introduction :: Belize
  • Background:
    Belize was the site of several Mayan city states until their decline at the end of the first millennium A.D. The British and Spanish disputed the region in the 17th and 18th centuries; it formally became the colony of British Honduras in 1862. Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize until 1981. Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1992 and the two countries are involved in an ongoing border dispute. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. Current concerns include the country's heavy foreign debt burden, high unemployment, growing involvement in the Mexican and South American drug trade, high crime rates, and one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in Central America.
    BELIZE SUMMARY: PDF
  • Geography :: Belize
  • Location:
    Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico
    Geographic coordinates:
    17 15 N, 88 45 W
    Map references:
    Central America and the Caribbean
    Area:
    total: 22,966 sq km
    land: 22,806 sq km
    water: 160 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 152
    Area - comparative:
    slightly smaller than Massachusetts
    Land boundaries:
    total: 542 km
    border countries (2): Guatemala 266 km, Mexico 276 km
    Coastline:
    386 km
    Maritime claims:
    territorial sea: 12 nm in the north, 3 nm in the south; note - from the mouth of the Sarstoon River to Ranguana Cay, Belize's territorial sea is 3 nm; according to Belize's Maritime Areas Act, 1992, the purpose of this limitation is to provide a framework for negotiating a definitive agreement on territorial differences with Guatemala
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    Climate:
    tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to November); dry season (February to May)
    Terrain:
    flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south
    Elevation:
    mean elevation: 173 m
    elevation extremes: 0 m lowest point: Caribbean Sea
    1124 highest point: Doyle's Delight
    Natural resources:
    arable land potential, timber, fish, hydropower
    Land use:
    agricultural land: 6.9% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 3.3% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 1.4% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 2.2% (2011 est.)
    forest: 60.6% (2011 est.)
    other: 32.5% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land:
    35 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution:
    approximately 25% to 30% of the population lives in the former capital, Belize City; over half of the overall population is rural; population density is slightly higher in the north and east
    Natural hazards:
    frequent, devastating hurricanes (June to November) and coastal flooding (especially in south)
    Environment - current issues:
    deforestation; water pollution, including pollution of Belize's Barrier Reef System, from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff; inability to properly dispose of solid waste
    Environment - international agreements:
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    Geography - note:
    only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean
  • People and Society :: Belize
  • Population:
    385,854 (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    Nationality:
    noun: Belizean(s)
    adjective: Belizean
    Ethnic groups:
    mestizo 52.9%, Creole 25.9%, Maya 11.3%, Garifuna 6.1%, East Indian 3.9%, Mennonite 3.6%, white 1.2%, Asian 1%, other 1.2%, unknown 0.3% (2010 est.)

    note: percentages add up to more than 100% because respondents were able to identify more than one ethnic origin

    Languages:
    English 62.9% (official), Spanish 56.6%, Creole 44.6%, Maya 10.5%, German 3.2%, Garifuna 2.9%, other 1.8%, unknown 0.3%, none 0.2% (cannot speak) (2010 est.)

    note: shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census

    Religions:
    Roman Catholic 40.1%, Protestant 31.5% (includes Pentecostal 8.4%, Seventh Day Adventist 5.4%, Anglican 4.7%, Mennonite 3.7%, Baptist 3.6%, Methodist 2.9%, Nazarene 2.8%), Jehovah's Witness 1.7%, other 10.5% (includes Baha'i, Buddhist, Hindu, Mormon, Muslim, Rastafarian, Salvation Army), unspecified 0.6%, none 15.5% (2010 est.)
    Demographic profile:

    Migration continues to transform Belize's population. About 16% of Belizeans live abroad, while immigrants constitute approximately 15% of Belize's population. Belizeans seeking job and educational opportunities have preferred to emigrate to the United States rather than former colonizer Great Britain because of the United States' closer proximity and stronger trade ties with Belize. Belizeans also emigrate to Canada, Mexico, and English-speaking Caribbean countries. The emigration of a large share of Creoles (Afro-Belizeans) and the influx of Central American immigrants, mainly Guatemalans, Salvadorans, and Hondurans, has changed Belize's ethnic composition. Mestizos have become the largest ethnic group, and Belize now has more native Spanish speakers than English or Creole speakers, despite English being the official language. In addition, Central American immigrants are establishing new communities in rural areas, which contrasts with the urbanization trend seen in neighboring countries. Recently, Chinese, European, and North American immigrants have become more frequent.

    Immigration accounts for an increasing share of Belize's population growth rate, which is steadily falling due to fertility decline. Belize's declining birth rate and its increased life expectancy are creating an aging population. As the elderly population grows and nuclear families replace extended households, Belize's government will be challenged to balance a rising demand for pensions, social services, and healthcare for its senior citizens with the need to reduce poverty and social inequality and to improve sanitation.

    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 33.61% (male 66,207 /female 63,466)
    15-24 years: 18.74% (male 37,184 /female 35,127)
    25-54 years: 37.43% (male 70,222 /female 74,187)
    55-64 years: 5.88% (male 11,397 /female 11,284)
    65 years and over: 4.35% (male 8,293 /female 8,487) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios:
    total dependency ratio: 56.8 (2015 est.)
    youth dependency ratio: 50.9 (2015 est.)
    elderly dependency ratio: 5.9 (2015 est.)
    potential support ratio: 17 (2015 est.)
    Median age:
    total: 23.7 years
    male: 23.2 years
    female: 24.4 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    Population growth rate:
    1.8% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    Birth rate:
    22.9 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    Death rate:
    4.2 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 206
    Net migration rate:
    0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    Population distribution:
    approximately 25% to 30% of the population lives in the former capital, Belize City; over half of the overall population is rural; population density is slightly higher in the north and east
    Urbanization:
    urban population: 45.7% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 2.32% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population:
    23,000 BELMOPAN (capital) (2018)
    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    Maternal mortality rate:
    28 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    Infant mortality rate:
    total: 12 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    male: 13.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    female: 10.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 114
    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 74.7 years (2018 est.)
    male: 73.1 years (2018 est.)
    female: 76.3 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    Total fertility rate:
    2.8 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    Contraceptive prevalence rate:
    51.4% (2015/16)
    Health expenditures:
    5.8% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    Physicians density:
    0.77 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
    Hospital bed density:
    1.3 beds/1,000 population (2014)
    Drinking water source:
    improved: urban: 98.9% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 100% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 99.5% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 1.1% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 0% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 0.5% of population (2015 est.)
    Sanitation facility access:
    improved: urban: 93.5% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 88.2% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 90.5% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 6.5% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 11.8% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 9.5% of population (2015 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
    1.9% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
    4,500 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 118
    HIV/AIDS - deaths:
    <200 (2017 est.)
    Major infectious diseases:
    degree of risk: high (2016)
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever (2016)
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria (2016)

    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

    Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
    24.1% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
    4.6% (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 84
    Education expenditures:
    7.4% of GDP (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
    total: 13 years (2015)
    male: 13 years (2015)
    female: 13 years (2015)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
    total: 17.7% (2016 est.)
    male: 11% (2016 est.)
    female: 28.4% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
  • Government :: Belize
  • Country name:
    conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Belize
    former: British Honduras
    etymology: may be named for the Belize River, whose name possibly derives from the Maya word "belix," meaning "muddy-watered"
    Government type:
    parliamentary democracy (National Assembly) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
    Capital:
    name: Belmopan
    geographic coordinates: 17 15 N, 88 46 W
    time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions:
    6 districts; Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, Toledo
    Independence:
    21 September 1981 (from the UK)
    National holiday:
    Battle of St. George's Caye Day (National Day), 10 September (1798); Independence Day, 21 September (1981)
    Constitution:
    history: previous 1954, 1963 (preindependence); latest signed and entered into force 21 September 1981 (2018)
    amendments: proposed and adopted by two-thirds majority vote by the National Assembly House of Representatives except for amendments relating to rights and freedoms, changes to the Assembly, and to elections and judiciary matters, which require at least three-quarters majority vote by the House; both types of amendments require assent by the governor general; amended several times, last in 2018 (2018)
    International law organization participation:
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    Citizenship:
    citizenship by birth: yes
    citizenship by descent only: yes
    dual citizenship recognized: yes
    residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
    Suffrage:
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch:
    chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Colville Norbert YOUNG, Sr. (since 17 November 1993)
    head of government: Prime Minister Dean Oliver BARROW (since 8 February 2008); Deputy Prime Minister Patrick FABER (since 7 June 2016)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister from among members of the National Assembly
    elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister
    Legislative branch:
    description: bicameral National Assembly consists of:
    elections:
    Senate (12 seats; members appointed by the governor general - 6 on the advice of the prime minister, 3 on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and 1 each on the advice of the Belize Council of Churches and Evangelical Association of Churches, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Belize Better Business Bureau, and the National Trade Union Congress
    House of Representatives (31 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)
    election results:
    percent of vote by party - UDP 50%, PUP 47.3%, other 2.7%; seats by party - UDP 19, PUP 12
    note: House of Representatives - last held on 4 November 2015 (next to be held in November 2020)
    Judicial branch:
    highest courts: Supreme Court of Judicature (consists of the Court of Appeal with the court president and 3 justices, and the Supreme Court with the chief justice and 2 judges); note - in 2010, Belize acceded to the Caribbean Court of Justice as the final court of appeal, replacing that of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London
    judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal president and justices appointed by the governor general upon advice of the prime minister after consultation with the National Assembly opposition leader; justices' tenures vary by terms of appointment; Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the governor-general upon the advice of the prime minister and the National Assembly opposition leader; other judges appointed by the governor-general upon the advice of the Judicial and Legal Services Section of the Public Services Commission and with the concurrence of the prime minister after consultation with the National Assembly opposition leader; judges can be appointed beyond age 65 but must retire by age 75; in 2013, the Supreme Court chief justice overturned a constitutional amendment that had restricted Court of Appeal judge appointments to as short as 1 year
    subordinate courts: Magistrate Courts; Family Court
    Political parties and leaders:
    Belize Progressive Party or BPP [Patrick ROGERS] (formed in 2015 from a merger of the People's National Party, elements of the Vision Inspired by the People, and other smaller political groups)
    People's United Party or PUP [Johnny BRICENO]
    United Democratic Party or UDP [Dean Oliver BARROW]
    International organization participation:
    ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CD, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, Petrocaribe, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Francisco Daniel GUTIEREZ (since 21 July 2017)
    chancery: 2535 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 332-9636
    FAX: [1] (202) 332-6888
    consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d’Affaires Adrienne GALANEK (since 20 January 2017)
    embassy: Floral Park Road, Belmopan City, Cayo District
    mailing address: P.O. Box 497, Belmopan City, Cayo District, Belize
    telephone: [011] (501) 822-4011
    FAX: [011] (501) 822-4012
    Flag description:
    royal blue with a narrow red stripe along the top and the bottom edges; centered is a large white disk bearing the coat of arms; the coat of arms features a shield flanked by two workers in front of a mahogany tree with the related motto SUB UMBRA FLOREO (I Flourish in the Shade) on a scroll at the bottom, all encircled by a green garland of 50 mahogany leaves; the colors are those of the two main political parties: blue for the PUP and red for the UDP; various elements of the coat of arms - the figures, the tools, the mahogany tree, and the garland of leaves - recall the logging industry that led to British settlement of Belize

    note: Belize's flag is the only national flag that depicts human beings; two British overseas territories, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands, also depict humans

    National symbol(s):
    Baird's tapir (a large, browsing, forest-dwelling mammal), keel-billed toucan, Black Orchid; national colors: red, blue
    National anthem:
    name: Land of the Free
    lyrics/music: Samuel Alfred HAYNES/Selwyn Walford YOUNG

    note: adopted 1981; as a Commonwealth country, in addition to the national anthem, "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see United Kingdom)

  • Economy :: Belize
  • Economy - overview:

    Tourism is the number one foreign exchange earner in this small economy, followed by exports of sugar, bananas, citrus, marine products, and crude oil.

    The government's expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, initiated in September 1998, led to GDP growth averaging nearly 4% in 1999-2007, but GPD growth has averaged only 2.1% from 2007-2016, with 2.5% growth estimated for 2017. Belize’s dependence on energy imports makes it susceptible to energy price shocks.

    Although Belize has the third highest per capita income in Central America, the average income figure masks a huge income disparity between rich and poor, and a key government objective remains reducing poverty and inequality with the help of international donors. High unemployment, a growing trade deficit and heavy foreign debt burden continue to be major concerns. Belize faces continued pressure from rising sovereign debt, and a growing trade imbalance.

    GDP (purchasing power parity):
    $3.218 billion (2017 est.)
    $3.194 billion (2016 est.)
    $3.21 billion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 187
    GDP (official exchange rate):
    $1.854 billion (2017 est.) (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate:
    0.8% (2017 est.)
    -0.5% (2016 est.)
    3.8% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    GDP - per capita (PPP):
    $8,300 (2017 est.)
    $8,500 (2016 est.)
    $8,800 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 149
    Gross national saving:
    11.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
    13.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
    14.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 157
    GDP - composition, by end use:
    household consumption: 75.1% (2017 est.)
    government consumption: 15.2% (2017 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 22.5% (2017 est.)
    investment in inventories: 1.2% (2017 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 49.1% (2017 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -63.2% (2017 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
    agriculture: 10.3% (2017 est.)
    industry: 21.6% (2017 est.)
    services: 68% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products:
    bananas, cacao, citrus, sugar; fish, cultured shrimp; lumber
    Industries:
    garment production, food processing, tourism, construction, oil
    Industrial production growth rate:
    -0.6% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
    Labor force:
    120,500 (2008 est.)

    note: shortage of skilled labor and all types of technical personnel

    country comparison to the world: 180
    Labor force - by occupation:
    agriculture: 10.2%
    industry: 18.1%
    services: 71.7% (2007 est.)
    Unemployment rate:
    9% (2017 est.)
    8% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    Population below poverty line:
    41% (2013 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA
    highest 10%: NA
    Budget:
    revenues: 553.5 million (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 572 million (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues:
    29.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
    -1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    Public debt:
    99% of GDP (2017 est.)
    95.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    Fiscal year:
    1 April - 31 March
    Inflation rate (consumer prices):
    1.1% (2017 est.)
    0.7% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    Central bank discount rate:
    9.58% (1 November 2017)
    9.14% (1 November 2016)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    Commercial bank prime lending rate:
    9.46% (31 December 2017 est.)
    9.84% (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    Stock of narrow money:
    $768.8 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $735.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    Stock of broad money:
    $768.8 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $735.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    Stock of domestic credit:
    $1.323 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $1.278 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    Market value of publicly traded shares:

    NA

    Current account balance:
    -$143 million (2017 est.)
    -$163 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    Exports:
    $457.5 million (2017 est.)
    $442.7 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    Exports - partners:
    UK 33.9%, US 22%, Jamaica 6.7%, Italy 6.4%, Barbados 5.9%, Ireland 5.5%, Netherlands 4.3% (2017)
    Exports - commodities:
    sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood, crude oil
    Imports:
    $845.9 million (2017 est.)
    $916.2 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    Imports - commodities:
    machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods; fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; food, beverages, tobacco
    Imports - partners:
    US 35.6%, China 11.2%, Mexico 11.2%, Guatemala 6.9% (2017)
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
    $312.1 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $376.7 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    Debt - external:
    $1.315 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $1.338 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

    NA

    Exchange rates:
    Belizean dollars (BZD) per US dollar -
    2 (2017 est.)
    2 (2016 est.)
    2 (2015 est.)
    2 (2014 est.)
    2 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Belize
  • Electricity access:
    electrification - total population: 100% (2016)
    Electricity - production:
    280 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    Electricity - consumption:
    453 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
    Electricity - exports:
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    Electricity - imports:
    243 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    Electricity - installed generating capacity:
    198,000 kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    Electricity - from fossil fuels:
    51% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
    27% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    Electricity - from other renewable sources:
    22% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    Crude oil - production:
    2,000 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    Crude oil - exports:
    1,220 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    Crude oil - imports:
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    Crude oil - proved reserves:
    6.7 million bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    Refined petroleum products - production:
    36 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    Refined petroleum products - consumption:
    4,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 182
    Refined petroleum products - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    Refined petroleum products - imports:
    4,161 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    Natural gas - production:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    Natural gas - consumption:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    Natural gas - exports:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    Natural gas - imports:
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    Natural gas - proved reserves:
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
    556,700 Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
  • Communications :: Belize
  • Telephones - fixed lines:
    total subscriptions: 23,000 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 6 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    Telephones - mobile cellular:
    total subscriptions: 227,000 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 63 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    Telephone system:
    general assessment: govt telecome company, BTL, continues to hold a monopoly in fixed-line services and mobile and broadband fixed-line teledensity; small market, underinvestment with lack of competion, yet BTL reports stable telecome revenue for fiscal 2017 (2017)
    domestic: mobile sector accounting for over 90% of all phone subscriptions; 6 per 100 fixed-line; mobile-cellular teledensity approaching 65 per 100 persons (2017)
    international: country code - 501; landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) fiber-optic telecommunications submarine cable that provides links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth station - 8 (Intelsat - 2, unknown - 6); mid-2017 completing a submarine cable to Ambergris Caye; SEUL submarine cable connecting the mainland with Ambergris Caye completed (2017)
    Broadcast media:
    8 privately owned TV stations; multi-channel cable TV provides access to foreign stations; about 25 radio stations broadcasting on roughly 50 different frequencies; state-run radio was privatized in 1998 (2009)
    Internet country code:
    .bz
    Internet users:
    total: 157,735 (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 44.6% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions:
    total: 22,000 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 6 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 149
  • Transportation :: Belize
  • National air transport system:
    number of registered air carriers: 2 (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 28 (2015)
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 935,603 (2015)
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 2,463,420 mt-km (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
    V3 (2016)
    Airports:
    47 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    Airports - with paved runways:
    total: 6 (2017)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
    914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2017)
    under 914 m: 3 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways:
    total: 41 (2013)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 11 (2013)
    under 914 m: 29 (2013)
    Roadways:
    total: 2,870 km (2011)
    paved: 488 km (2011)
    unpaved: 2,382 km (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 169
    Waterways:
    825 km (navigable only by small craft) (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    Merchant marine:
    total: 756 (2017)
    by type: bulk carrier 53, container ship 3, general cargo 373, oil tanker 55, other 272 (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    Ports and terminals:
    major seaport(s): Belize City, Big Creek
  • Military and Security :: Belize
  • Military expenditures:
    1.17% of GDP (2016)
    1.09% of GDP (2015)
    1.06% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    Military branches:
    Belize Defense Force (BDF): Army, BDF Air Wing; Belize Coast Guard; Belize Police Department (2017)
    Military service age and obligation:
    18 years of age for voluntary military service; laws allow for conscription only if volunteers are insufficient; conscription has never been implemented; volunteers typically outnumber available positions by 3:1; initial service obligation 12 years (2012)
  • Transnational Issues :: Belize
  • Disputes - international:
    Guatemala persists in its territorial claim to approximately half of Belize, but agrees to the Line of Adjacency to keep Guatemalan squatters out of Belize's forested interiorboth countries agreed in April 2012 to hold simultaneous referenda, scheduled for 6 October 2013, to decide whether to refer the dispute to the ICJ for binding resolution, but this vote was suspended indefinitelyBelize and Mexico are working to solve minor border demarcation discrepancies arising from inaccuracies in the 1898 border treaty
    Trafficking in persons:
    current situation: Belize is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; the coerced prostitution of women and children by family members has not led to arrests; child sex tourism, involving primarily US citizens, is on the rise; sex trafficking and forced labor of Belizean and foreign women and LGBT individuals occurs in bars, nightclubs, brothels, and domestic service; workers from Central America, Mexico, and Asia may fall victim to forced labor in restaurants, shops, agriculture, and fishing
    tier rating: Tier 3 – Belize does not comply fully with the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; authorities did not initiate any new trafficking investigations of prosecutions, and cases from previous years remain pending; law enforcement efforts to use informal means to identify and refer victims were ineffective and draft procedures for referring victims to services are still not finalized; trafficking victims were more commonly arrested, detained, or deported based on immigration violations than provided with assistance; the government did not make progress in implementing the 2012-14 anti-trafficking national strategic plan (2015)
    Illicit drugs:
    major transshipment point for cocaine; small-scale illicit producer of cannabis, primarily for local consumption; offshore sector money-laundering activity related to narcotics trafficking and other crimes