The island of Antigua as seen from space. St. John's, the country's capital, is located along the northwest coast, adjacent to one of the island's many natural harbors. More than half of the country's population lives in the St. John's area. Image courtesy of NASA.
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The Siboney were the first people to inhabit the islands of Antigua and Barbuda in 2400 B.C., but Arawak Indians populated the islands when COLUMBUS landed on his second voyage in 1493. Early Spanish and French settlements were succeeded by an English colony in 1667. Slavery, established to run the sugar plantations on Antigua, was abolished in 1834. The islands became an independent state within the British Commonwealth of Nations in 1981. On 6 September 2017, Hurricane Irma passed over the island of Barbuda devastating the island and forcing the evacuation of the population to Antigua. Almost all the structures on Barbuda were destroyed and the vegetation stripped, but Antigua was spared the worst.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east-southeast of Puerto Rico

Geographic coordinates

17 03 N, 61 48 W

Map references

Central America and the Caribbean


total: 443 sq km (Antigua 280 sq km; Barbuda 161 sq km)

land: 442.6 sq km

water: 0 sq km

note: includes Redonda, 1.6 sq km

country comparison to the world: 200

Area - comparative

2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

total: 0 km


153 km

Maritime claims

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 maritime; little seasonal temperature variation


mostly low-lying limestone and coral islands, with some higher volcanic areas


highest point: Mount Obama 402 m

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

Natural resources

NEGL; pleasant climate fosters tourism

Land use

agricultural land: 20.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 2.3% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 9% (2018 est.)

forest: 18.8% (2018 est.)

other: 60.8% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

1.3 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

the island of Antigua is home to approximately 97% of the population; nearly the entire population of Barbuda lives in Codrington

Natural hazards

hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October); periodic droughts

Geography - note

Antigua has a deeply indented shoreline with many natural harbors and beaches; Barbuda has a large western harbor

People and Society


noun: Antiguan(s), Barbudan(s)

adjective: Antiguan, Barbudan

Ethnic groups

African descent 87.3%, mixed 4.7%, Hispanic 2.7%, White 1.6%, other 2.7%, unspecified 0.9% (2011 est.)

note: data represent population by ethnic group


English (official), Antiguan creole


Protestant 68.3% (Anglican 17.6%, Seventh Day Adventist 12.4%, Pentecostal 12.2%, Moravian 8.3%, Methodist 5.6%, Wesleyan Holiness 4.5%, Church of God 4.1%, Baptist 3.6%), Roman Catholic 8.2%, other 12.2%, unspecified 5.5%, none 5.9% (2011 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 22.52% (male 11,243/female 10,871)

15-24 years: 16.15% (male 7,891/female 7,961)

25-54 years: 41.68% (male 18,757/female 22,167)

55-64 years: 10.74% (male 4,693/female 5,848)

65 years and over: 8.91% (male 3,736/female 5,012) (2020 est.)

This is the population pyramid for Antigua and Barbuda. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 45.3

youth dependency ratio: 31.8

elderly dependency ratio: 13.6

potential support ratio: 7.4 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 32.7 years

male: 30.7 years

female: 34.4 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 106

Birth rate

15.3 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 115

Death rate

5.63 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 177

Net migration rate

2.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 45

Population distribution

the island of Antigua is home to approximately 97% of the population; nearly the entire population of Barbuda lives in Codrington


urban population: 24.4% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 0.87% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

21,000 SAINT JOHN'S (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.85 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.8 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female

total population: 0.89 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 14.65 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 17.71 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 11.44 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 107

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 77.55 years

male: 75.37 years

female: 79.85 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 84

Drinking water source

improved: total: 96.7% of population

unimproved: total: 3.2% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

2.96 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

2.9 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: total: 91.7% of population

unimproved: total: 8.1% of population (2017 est.)


definition: age 15 and over has completed five or more years of schooling

total population: 99%

male: 98.4%

female: 99.4% (2015)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 15 years

male: 14 years

female: 16 years (2012)


Environment - current issues

water management - a major concern because of limited natural freshwater resources - is further hampered by the clearing of trees to increase crop production, causing rainfall to run off quickly

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 17.92 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.56 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 0.22 megatons (2020 est.)


tropical maritime; little seasonal temperature variation

Land use

agricultural land: 20.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 2.3% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 9% (2018 est.)

forest: 18.8% (2018 est.)

other: 60.8% (2018 est.)


urban population: 24.4% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 0.87% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 56

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 30,585 tons (2012 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 7.2 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 2.5 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 1.8 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

52 million cubic meters (2017 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Antigua and Barbuda

etymology: "antiguo" is Spanish for "ancient" or "old"; the island was discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 and, according to tradition, named by him after the church of Santa Maria la Antigua (Old Saint Mary's) in Seville; "barbuda" is Spanish for "bearded" and the adjective may refer to the alleged beards of the indigenous people or to the island's bearded fig trees

Government type

parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm


name: Saint John's

geographic coordinates: 17 07 N, 61 51 W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: named after Saint John the Apostle

Administrative divisions

6 parishes and 2 dependencies*; Barbuda*, Redonda*, Saint George, Saint John, Saint Mary, Saint Paul, Saint Peter, Saint Philip


1 November 1981 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 1 November (1981)


history: several previous; latest presented 31 July 1981, effective 31 October 1981 (The Antigua and Barbuda Constitution Order 1981)

amendments: proposed by either house of Parliament; passage of amendments to constitutional sections such as citizenship, fundamental rights and freedoms, the establishment, power, and authority of the executive and legislative branches, the Supreme Court Order, and the procedure for amending the constitution requires approval by at least two-thirds majority vote of the membership of both houses, approval by at least two-thirds majority in a referendum, and assent to by the governor general; passage of other amendments requires only two-thirds majority vote by both houses; amended 2009, 2011, 2018

Legal system

common law based on the English model

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Rodney WILLIAMS (since 14 August 2014)

head of government: Prime Minister Gaston BROWNE (since 13 June 2014)

cabinet: Council of Ministers 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 advice of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the governor general

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate (17 seats; members appointed by the governor general)
House of Representatives (18 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

Senate - last appointed on 26 March 2018 (next NA)
House of Representatives - last held on 21 March 2018 (next to be held in March 2023)

election results:
Senate -  composition - men 8, women 9, percent of women 52.9%
House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - ABLP 59.4%, UPP 37.2%, BPM 1.4%, other 1.9% ; seats by party - ABLP 15, UPP 1, BPM 1; composition - men 16, women 2, percent of women 11.1%; note - total Parliament percent of women 31.4%

Judicial branch

highest courts: the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the superior court of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States; the ECSC - headquartered on St. Lucia - consists of the Court of Appeal - headed by the chief justice and 4 judges - and the High Court with 18 judges; the Court of Appeal is itinerant, travelling to member states on a schedule to hear appeals from the High Court and subordinate courts; High Court judges reside in the member states, with 2 assigned to Antigua and Barbuda

judge selection and term of office: chief justice of Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court appointed by the 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: Industrial Court; Magistrates' Courts

Political parties and leaders

Antigua Caribbean Liberation Movement or ACLM
Antigua Labor Party or ABLP [Gaston BROWNE]
Antigua Barbuda True Labor Party or ABTLP [Sharlene SAMUEL]
Barbuda People's Movement or BPM [Trevor WALKER]
Barbuda People's Movement for Change [Arthur NIBBS]
Barbudans for a Better Barbuda [Ordrick SAMUEL]
Democratic National Alliance or DNA [Joanne MASSIAH]
Go Green for Life [Owen GEORGE]
Progressive Labor Movement or PLM
United National Democratic Party or UNDP
United Progressive Party or UPP [Harold LOVELL] (a coalition of ACLM, PLM, UNDP)

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Sir Ronald SANDERS (since 17 September 2015)

chancery: 3234 Prospect Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

telephone: [1] (202) 362-5122

FAX: [1] (202) 362-5225

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Miami, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: the US does not have an embassy in Antigua and Barbuda; the US Ambassador to Barbados is accredited to Antigua and Barbuda; [1] (246) 227-4000

Flag description

red, with an inverted isosceles triangle based on the top edge of the flag; the triangle contains three horizontal bands of black (top), light blue, and white, with a yellow rising sun in the black band; the sun symbolizes the dawn of a new era, black represents the African heritage of most of the population, blue is for hope, and red is for the dynamism of the people; the "V" stands for victory; the successive yellow, blue, and white coloring is also meant to evoke the country's tourist attractions of sun, sea, and sand

National symbol(s)

fallow deer; national colors: red, white, blue, black, yellow

National anthem

name: Fair Antigua, We Salute Thee

lyrics/music: Novelle Hamilton RICHARDS/Walter Garnet Picart CHAMBERS

note: adopted 1967; as a Commonwealth country, in addition to the national anthem, "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see United Kingdom)


Economic overview

Tourism continues to dominate Antigua and Barbuda's economy, accounting for nearly 60% of GDP and 40% of investment. The dual-island nation's agricultural production is focused on the domestic market and constrained by a limited water supply and a labor shortage stemming from the lure of higher wages in tourism and construction. Manufacturing comprises enclave-type assembly for export with major products being bedding, handicrafts, and electronic components.

Like other countries in the region, Antigua's economy was severely hit by effects of the global economic recession in 2009. The country suffered from the collapse of its largest private sector employer, a steep decline in tourism, a rise in debt, and a sharp economic contraction between 2009 and 2011. Antigua has not yet returned to its pre-crisis growth levels. Barbuda suffered significant damages after hurricanes Irma and Maria passed through the Caribbean in 2017.

Prospects for economic growth in the medium term will continue to depend on tourist arrivals from the US, Canada, and Europe and could be disrupted by potential damage from natural disasters. The new government, elected in 2014 and led by Prime Minister Gaston Browne, continues to face significant fiscal challenges. The government places some hope in a new Citizenship by Investment Program, to both reduce public debt levels and spur growth, and a resolution of a WTO dispute with the US.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1.76 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$2.09 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$2.02 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 198

Real GDP growth rate

2.8% (2017 est.)

5.3% (2016 est.)

4.1% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 102

Real GDP per capita

$18,000 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$21,500 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$21,000 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 94

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.524 billion (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.8% (2017 est.)

industry: 20.8% (2017 est.)

services: 77.3% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 53.5% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 15.2% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 23.9% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.1% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 73.9% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -66.5% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

tropical fruit, milk, mangoes/guavas, melons, tomatoes, pineapples, lemons, limes, eggplants, onions


tourism, construction, light manufacturing (clothing, alcohol, household appliances)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 7%

industry: 11%

services: 82% (1983 est.)


revenues: 298.2 million (2017 est.)

expenditures: 334 million (2017 est.)

Public debt

86.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

86.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 30

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Current account balance

-$112 million (2017 est.)

$2 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 89


$1.15 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

$56.5 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 175

Exports - partners

Poland 37%, Suriname 33%, United Arab Emirates 8% (2019)

Exports - commodities

ships, refined petroleum, precious/semi-precious metal scraps, rice, corn (2019)


$1.12 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

$503.4 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 188

Imports - partners

United States 39%, Poland 16%, China 7% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, ships, cars, precious/semi-precious metals, recreational boats (2019)

Debt - external

$441.2 million (31 December 2012)

$458 million (June 2010)

country comparison to the world: 180

Exchange rates

East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar -

2.7 (2017 est.)

2.7 (2016 est.)

2.7 (2015 est.)

2.7 (2014 est.)

2.7 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 24,000 (2018)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 25.15 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 172

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 184,000 (2018)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 192.8 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 185

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: good automatic telephone system with fiber-optic lines; telecom sector contributes heavily to GDP; numerous mobile network competitors licensed, but small and local; govt. to spend EC80 million in 2019 to improve state-owned telecom market competitiveness; legislative amendments extend jurisdiction of its telecom regulator in Barbuda to include mobile services (2020)

domestic: fixed-line teledensity roughly 25 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular teledensity is about 193 per 100 persons (2019)

international: country code - 1-268; landing points for the ECFS and Southern Caribbean Fiber submarine cable systems with links to other islands in the eastern Caribbean; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

state-controlled Antigua and Barbuda Broadcasting Service (ABS) operates 1 TV station; multi-channel cable TV subscription services are available; ABS operates 1 radio station; roughly 15 radio stations, some broadcasting on multiple frequencies

Internet users

total: 74,700 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 76% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 186

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 9,261 (2017 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 10 (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 176


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 10

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 580,174 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 290,000 mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2019)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2013)


total: 1,170 km (2011)

paved: 386 km (2011)

unpaved: 784 km (2011)

country comparison to the world: 180

Merchant marine

total: 677

by type: bulk carrier 24, container ship 123, general cargo 473, oil tanker 2, other 55 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 35

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Saint John's

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force (ABDF): Coast Guard and the Antigua and Barbuda Regiment (2021)

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force (ABDF) has approximately 200 active personnel (2021)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the ABDF's equipment inventory is limited to small arms, light weapons, and soft-skin vehicles; the Coast Guard maintains ex-US patrol vessels and some smaller boats (2021)

Military service age and obligation

18-23 years of age for voluntary military service for both males and females; no conscription (2021)

Military - note

has been a member of the Caribbean Regional Security System (RSS) since its creation in 1982; RSS signatories (Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) agreed to prepare contingency plans and assist one another, on request, in national emergencies, prevention of smuggling, search and rescue, immigration control, fishery protection, customs and excise control, maritime policing duties, protection of off-shore installations, pollution control, national and other disasters, and threats to national security

Transnational Issues

Illicit drugs

a transit point for cocaine and marijuana destined for North America, Europe, and elsewhere in the Caribbean