Europe :: Guernsey
  • Introduction :: Guernsey
  • Background:
    Guernsey and the other Channel Islands represent the last remnants of the medieval Dukedom 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 British crown dependency but is not part of the UK or of the EU. 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:
    Western Europe, islands in the English Channel, northwest of France
    Geographic coordinates:
    49 28 N, 2 35 W
    Map references:
    Europe
    Area:
    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:
    about one-half the size of Washington, DC
    Land boundaries:
    0 km
    Coastline:
    50 km
    Maritime claims:
    territorial sea: 3 nm
    exclusive fishing zone: 12 nm
    Climate:
    temperate with mild winters and cool summers; about 50% of days are overcast
    Terrain:
    mostly flat with low hills in southwest
    Elevation:
    0 m lowest point: English Channel
    114 highest point: Le Moulin on Sark
    Natural resources:
    cropland
    Irrigated land:
    NA
    Natural hazards:
    very large tidal variation and fast currents can make local waters dangerous
    Environment - current issues:
    coastal erosion, coastal flooding; declining biodiversity due to land abandonment and succession to scrub or woodland
    Geography - note:
    large, deepwater harbor at Saint Peter Port
  • People and Society :: Guernsey
  • Population:
    66,697 (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 204
    Nationality:
    noun: Channel Islander(s)
    adjective: Channel Islander
    Ethnic groups:
    Guernsey 52%, UK and Ireland 23.7%, Portugal 2.1%, Latvia 1.5%, other 6.7%, unspecified 14.1%
    note: data represent country of birth; the native population is of British and Norman-French descent
    Languages:
    English, French, Norman-French dialect spoken in country districts
    Religions:
    Protestant (Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, Congregational, Methodist), Roman Catholic
    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 14.51% (male 4,994 /female 4,686)
    15-24 years: 10.89% (male 3,711 /female 3,553)
    25-54 years: 41.41% (male 13,958 /female 13,658)
    55-64 years: 13.38% (male 4,425 /female 4,496)
    65 years and over: 19.81% (male 6,038 /female 7,178) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios:
    total dependency ratio: 47.1 (2015 est.)
    youth dependency ratio: 21.6 (2015 est.)
    elderly dependency ratio: 25.4 (2015 est.)
    potential support ratio: 3.9 (2015 est.)

    note: data represent the Guernsey and Jersey

    Median age:
    total: 44 years
    male: 42.7 years
    female: 45.3 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    Population growth rate:
    0.28% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Birth rate:
    9.8 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 194
    Death rate:
    9 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    Net migration rate:
    2.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 43
    Urbanization:
    urban population: 30.9% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 0.46% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

    note: data represent Guernsey and Jersey

    Major urban areas - population:
    16,000 SAINT PETER PORT (capital) (2018)
    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    Infant mortality rate:
    total: 3.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    male: 3.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    female: 3.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 203
    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 82.7 years (2018 est.)
    male: 80 years (2018 est.)
    female: 85.5 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    Total fertility rate:
    1.57 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - deaths:
    NA
  • Government :: Guernsey
  • Country name:
    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:
    British crown dependency
    Government type:
    parliamentary democracy (States of Deliberation); a Crown dependency of the UK
    Capital:
    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
    Administrative divisions:
    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 - the parish of Saint Anne on the island of Alderney and the parish of Saint Peter on the island of Sark - but they are generally not included in the enumeration of parishes

    Independence:
    none (British crown dependency)
    National holiday:
    Liberation Day, 9 May (1945)
    Constitution:
    history: unwritten; includes royal charters, statutes, and common law and practice (2016)
    amendments: new laws or changes to existing laws are initiated by the States of Deliberation; passage requires majority vote (2016)
    Citizenship:
    see United Kingdom
    Suffrage:
    16 years of age; universal
    Executive branch:
    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 2020)
    election results: Gavin ST PIER (independent) elected president of the Policy and Resources Committee and chief minister
    Legislative branch:
    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 2020)
    election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independent 38; composition - men 27, women 13, percent of women 32.5%
    Judicial branch:
    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; Magistrate's Court (includes Juvenile Court); Contracts Court; Ecclesiastical Court; Court of Chief Pleas
    Political parties and leaders:
    none; all independents
    International organization participation:
    UPU
    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    none (British crown dependency)
    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    none (British crown dependency)
    Flag description:
    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):
    Guernsey cow, donkey; national colors: red, white, yellow
    National anthem:
    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:
    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):
    $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):
    $2.742 billion (2005 est.) (2005 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate:
    0.4% (2015 est.)
    1.2% (2014 est.)
    4.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 193
    GDP - per capita (PPP):
    $52,500 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
    agriculture: 3% (2000)
    industry: 10% (2000)
    services: 87% (2000)
    Agriculture - products:
    tomatoes, greenhouse flowers, sweet peppers, eggplant, fruit; Guernsey cattle
    Industries:
    tourism, banking
    Industrial production growth rate:
    NA
    Labor force:
    31,470 (March 2006)
    country comparison to the world: 203
    Unemployment rate:
    1.2% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    Population below poverty line:
    NA
    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA
    highest 10%: NA
    Budget:
    revenues: 563.6 million (2005)
    expenditures: 530.9 million (2005 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues:
    20.6% (of GDP) (2005)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
    1.2% (of GDP) (2005)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    Fiscal year:
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices):
    3.4% (June 2006 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    Exports:

    NA

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

    NA

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

    NA

    Exchange rates:
    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:
    electrification - total population: 100% (2016)
  • Communications :: Guernsey
  • Telephones - fixed lines:
    total subscriptions: 36,547 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 60 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    Telephones - mobile cellular:
    total subscriptions: 71,249 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 113 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 197
    Telephone system:
    domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular services widely available (2015)
    international: country code - 44; 1 submarine cable (2015)
    Broadcast media:
    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 (2009)
    Internet country code:
    .gg
    Internet users:
    total: 55,050 (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 83.3% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
  • Transportation :: Guernsey
  • National air transport system:
    number of registered air carriers: 2 (registered in UK) (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 11 (registered in UK) (2015)
    Airports:
    2 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 200
    Airports - with paved runways:
    total: 2 (2017)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2017)
    under 914 m: 1 (2017)
    Ports and terminals:
    major seaport(s): Braye Bay, Saint Peter Port
  • Military and Security :: Guernsey
  • Military - note:
    defense is the responsibility of the UK
  • Transnational Issues :: Guernsey
  • Disputes - international:
    none