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Central America and Caribbean :: SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS
Page last updated on September 16, 2016
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  • Introduction :: SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

  • Carib Indians occupied the islands of the West Indies for hundreds of years before the British began settlement in 1623. In 1967, the island territory of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla became an associated state of the UK with full internal autonomy. The island of Anguilla rebelled and was allowed to secede in 1971. The remaining islands achieved independence in 1983 as Saint Kitts and Nevis. In 1998, a referendum on Nevis to separate from Saint Kitts fell short of the two-thirds majority vote needed. Nevis continues in its efforts to separate from Saint Kitts.
  • Geography :: SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

  • Caribbean, islands in the Caribbean Sea, about one-third of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago
    17 20 N, 62 45 W
    Central America and the Caribbean
    total: 261 sq km (Saint Kitts 168 sq km; Nevis 93 sq km)
    land: 261 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 212
    1.5 times the size of Washington, DC
    0 km
    135 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
    tropical, tempered by constant sea breezes; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season (May to November)
    volcanic with mountainous interiors
    mean elevation: NA
    elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
    highest point: Mount Liamuiga 1,156 m
    arable land
    agricultural land: 23.1%
    arable land 19.2%; permanent crops 0.4%; permanent pasture 3.5%
    forest: 42.3%
    other: 34.6% (2011 est.)
    8 sq km (2012)
    population clusters are found in the small towns located on the periphery of both islands
    0.02 cu km (2011)
    hurricanes (July to October)
    NA
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    smallest country in the Americas and Western Hemisphere; with coastlines in the shape of a baseball bat and ball, the two volcanic islands are separated by a 3-km-wide channel called The Narrows; on the southern tip of long, baseball bat-shaped Saint Kitts lies the Great Salt Pond; Nevis Peak sits in the center of its almost circular namesake island and its ball shape complements that of its sister island
  • People and Society :: SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

  • 52,329 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    noun: Kittitian(s), Nevisian(s)
    adjective: Kittitian, Nevisian
    predominantly black; some British, Portuguese, and Lebanese
    English (official)
    Anglican, other Protestant, Roman Catholic
    0-14 years: 20.61% (male 5,408/female 5,379)
    15-24 years: 14.82% (male 3,767/female 3,987)
    25-54 years: 44.85% (male 12,028/female 11,443)
    55-64 years: 11.38% (male 2,972/female 2,983)
    65 years and over: 8.34% (male 2,000/female 2,362) (2016 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total: 34.5 years
    male: 34.7 years
    female: 34.3 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    0.75% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    13.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    7.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    1.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    population clusters are found in the small towns located on the periphery of both islands
    urban population: 32% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 1.27% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    BASSETERRE (capital) 14,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.85 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
    total: 8.6 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 6 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 11.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    total population: 75.7 years
    male: 73.3 years
    female: 78.2 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    1.78 children born/woman (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    5.1% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 117
    2.3 beds/1,000 population (2012)
    improved:
    urban: 98.3% of population
    rural: 98.3% of population
    total: 98.3% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 1.7% of population
    rural: 1.7% of population
    total: 1.7% of population (2015 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 87.3% of population
    rural: 87.3% of population
    total: 87.3% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 12.7% of population
    rural: 12.7% of population
    total: 12.7% of population (2007 est.)
    NA
    NA
    NA
    28.4% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    4.2% of GDP (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    total: 14 years
    male: 14 years
    female: 15 years (2014)
  • Government :: SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

  • conventional long form: Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
    conventional short form: Saint Kitts and Nevis
    former: Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis
    etymology: Saint Kitts was, and still is, referred to as Saint Christopher and this name was well established by the 17th century (although who first applied the name is unclear); in the 17th century a common nickname for Christopher was Kit or Kitt, so the island began to be referred to as "Saint Kitt's Island" or just "Saint Kitts"; Nevis is derived from the original Spanish name "Nuestra Senora de las Nieves" (Our Lady of the Snows) and refers to the white halo of clouds that generally wreathes Nevis Peak
    federal parliamentary democracy (National Assembly) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
    name: Basseterre
    geographic coordinates: 17 18 N, 62 43 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    14 parishes; Christ Church Nichola Town, Saint Anne Sandy Point, Saint George Basseterre, Saint George Gingerland, Saint James Windward, Saint John Capesterre, Saint John Figtree, Saint Mary Cayon, Saint Paul Capesterre, Saint Paul Charlestown, Saint Peter Basseterre, Saint Thomas Lowland, Saint Thomas Middle Island, Trinity Palmetto Point
    19 September 1983 (from the UK)
    Independence Day, 19 September (1983)
    several previous (preindependence); latest presented 22 June 1983, effective 23 June 1983 (2016)
    English common law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    citizenship by birth: yes
    citizenship by descent: yes
    dual citizenship recognized: yes
    residency requirement for naturalization: 14 years
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Samuel W.T. SEATON (since 2 September 2015); note - SEATON was acting Governor General from 20 May to 2 September 2015
    head of government: Prime Minister Timothy HARRIS (since 18 February 2015); Deputy Prime Minister Shawn RICHARDS (since 22 February 2015)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by governor general in consultation with prime minister
    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 governor general; deputy prime minister appointed by governor general
    description: unicameral National Assembly (14 seats; 11 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 3 appointed by the governor general; members serve 5-year terms)
    elections: last held on 16 February 2015 (next to be held by 2020)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PAM 4, SKNLP 3, CCM 2, PLP 1, NRP 1
    highest court(s): the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the itinerant superior court of record for the 9-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, which includes Saint Kitts and Nevis; the ECSC - with its headquarters on St. Lucia - is headed by the chief justice and comprised of the Court of Appeal with 3 justices and the High Court with 16 judges; sittings of the Court of Appeal and High Court rotate among the member states; 2 High Court judges reside on Saint Kitts and Nevis; note - the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in 2003 replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) as the final court of appeal on Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Kitts and Nevis is also a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice
    judge selection and term of office: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court chief justice appointed by Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; 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: magistrates' courts
    Concerned Citizens Movement or CCM [Vance AMORY]
    Nevis Reformation Party or NRP [Joseph PARRY]
    People's Action Movement or PAM [Shawn RICHARDS]
    People's Labour Party or PLP [Timothy HARRIS]
    Saint Kitts and Nevis Labor Party or SKNLP [Dr. Denzil DOUGLAS]
    NA
    ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, MIGA, OAS, OECS, OPANAL, OPCW, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Thelma Patricia PHILLIP-BROWNE (since 28 January 2016)
    chancery: 3216 New Mexico Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
    telephone: [1] (202) 686-2636
    FAX: [1] (202) 686-5740
    consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York
    the US does not have an embassy in Saint Kitts and Nevis; the US Ambassador to Barbados is accredited to Saint Kitts and Nevis
    divided diagonally from the lower hoist side by a broad black band bearing two white, five-pointed stars; the black band is edged in yellow; the upper triangle is green, the lower triangle is red; green signifies the island's fertility, red symbolizes the struggles of the people from slavery, yellow denotes year-round sunshine, and black represents the African heritage of the people; the white stars stand for the islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis, but can also express hope and liberty, or independence and optimism
    brown pelican, Royal Poinciana (Flamboyant) tree; national colors: green, yellow, red, black, white
    name: "Oh Land of Beauty!"
    lyrics/music: Kenrick Anderson GEORGES
    note: adopted 1983
  • Economy :: SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

  • The economy of Saint Kitts and Nevis depends on tourism; since the 1970s, tourism has replaced sugar as the economy’s traditional mainstay. Roughly 200,000 tourists visited the islands in 2009, but reduced tourism arrivals and foreign investment led to an economic contraction in 2009-2013, and the economy returned to growth only in 2014. Like other tourist destinations in the Caribbean, St. Kitts and Nevis is vulnerable to damage from natural disasters and shifts in tourism demand.
    Following the 2005 harvest, the government closed the sugar industry after several decades of losses. To compensate for lost jobs, the government has embarked on a program to diversify the agricultural sector and to stimulate other sectors of the economy, such as export-oriented manufacturing and offshore banking. The government has made notable progress in reducing its public debt, from 154% of GDP in 2011 to 83% in 2013, although it still faces one of the highest levels in the world, largely attributable to public enterprise losses.
    $1.379 billion (2015 est.)
    $1.294 billion (2014 est.)
    $1.22 billion (2013 est.)
    note: data are in 2015 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 200
    $896 million (2015 est.)
    6.6% (2015 est.)
    6.1% (2014 est.)
    6.2% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    $24,600 (2015 est.)
    $23,500 (2014 est.)
    $22,600 (2013 est.)
    note: data are in 2015 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 77
    16.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
    21.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
    21.1% of GDP (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 98
    household consumption: 73.6%
    government consumption: 10.7%
    investment in fixed capital: 29.3%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 25.3%
    imports of goods and services: -38.9% (2015 est.)
    agriculture: 1.7%
    industry: 24.1%
    services: 74.2% (2015 est.)
    sugarcane, rice, yams, vegetables, bananas; fish
    tourism, cotton, salt, copra, clothing, footwear, beverages
    0.5% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    18,170 (June 1995 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    4.5% (1997)
    country comparison to the world: 43
    NA%
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $296.3 million
    expenditures: $259.3 million (2015 est.)
    33.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    4.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    83% of GDP (2013 est.)
    144% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    calendar year
    -2.8% (2015 est.)
    0.7% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    6.5% (31 December 2009)
    6.5% (31 December 2008)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    9.4% (31 December 2015 est.)
    9.28% (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    $220.1 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    $215.6 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    $964.8 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    $1.094 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 170
    $333.3 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    $396.7 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    $598.4 million (31 December 2011)
    $598.4 million (31 December 2011)
    $623.9 million (31 December 2010)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    -$117 million (2015 est.)
    -$65 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    $61.3 million (2015 est.)
    $62.9 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 199
    machinery, food, electronics, beverages, tobacco
    US 44.4%, Poland 14.6%, Bangladesh 10.1%, Azerbaijan 4.3% (2015)
    $240.3 million (2015 est.)
    $241.8 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 204
    machinery, manufactures, food, fuels
    US 37.7%, Trinidad and Tobago 22.7%, Barbados 4.4% (2015)
    $156.1 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $158.8 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar -
    2.7 (2015 est.)
    2.7 (2014 est.)
    2.7 (2013 est.)
    2.7 (2012 est.)
    2.7 (2011 est.)
  • Energy :: SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

  • population without electricity: 5,232
    electrification - total population: 91 %
    electrification - urban areas: 100 %
    electrification - rural areas: 80 % (2012)
    140 million kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 195
    130.2 million kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 195
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 197
    46,200 kW (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    95.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    4.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 59
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    1,700 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    1,690 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    250,700 Mt (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 196
  • Communications :: SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

  • total subscriptions: 19,748
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 38 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    total: 73,000
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 141 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 196
    general assessment: good interisland and international connections
    domestic: interisland links via ECFS; construction of enhanced wireless infrastructure launched in November 2004; fixed-line teledensity about 40 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular teledensity is roughly 140 per 100 persons
    international: country code - 1-869; connected internationally by the East ECFS and Southern Caribbean Fiber submarine cables (2015)
    the government operates a national TV network that broadcasts on 2 channels; cable subscription services provide access to local and international channels; the government operates a national radio network; a mix of government-owned and privately owned broadcasters operate roughly 15 radio stations (2007)
    AM 3, FM 8, shortwave 0 (2008)
    1 (plus 3 repeaters) (2003)
    .kn
    54 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    total: 39,000
    percent of population: 75.7% (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 203
  • Transportation :: SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

  • 2 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    total: 2
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 50 km
    narrow gauge: 50 km 0.762-m gauge on Saint Kitts for tourists (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 132
    total: 383 km
    paved: 163 km
    unpaved: 220 km (2002)
    country comparison to the world: 201
    total: 152
    by type: bulk carrier 16, cargo 81, chemical tanker 4, combination ore/oil 1, container 2, liquefied gas 3, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 7, petroleum tanker 27, refrigerated cargo 4, roll on/roll off 4, specialized tanker 1
    foreign-owned: 73 (Belgium 1, China 1, Egypt 1, Greece 2, India 2, Japan 2, Malaysia 1, Norway 3, Pakistan 1, Russia 13, Singapore 10, Turkey 18, UAE 8, UK 1, Ukraine 8, US 1) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    major seaport(s): Basseterre, Charlestown
  • Military and Security :: SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Security, Labour, Immigration, and Social Security: Royal Saint Kitts and Nevis Defense Force (includes Coast Guard), Royal Saint Kitts and Nevis Police Force (2013)
    18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
  • Transnational Issues :: SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

  • joins other Caribbean states to counter Venezuela's claim that Aves Island sustains human habitation, a criterion under UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which permits Venezuela to extend its EEZ/continental shelf over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean Sea
    transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; some money-laundering activity