British Virgin Islands

Country Summary

2022 population pyramid



First inhabited by Arawak and later by Carib Indians, the Virgin Islands were settled by the Dutch in 1648 and then annexed by the English in 1672. The islands were part of the British colony of the Leeward Islands (1872-1960); they were granted autonomy in 1967. They maintain strong ties to the nearby US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.



total: 151 sq km

land: 151 sq km

water: 0 sq km


subtropical; humid; temperatures moderated by trade winds

Natural resources

NEGL; pleasant climate, beaches foster tourism

People and Society


38,632 (2022 est.)

Ethnic groups

African/Black 76.3%, Latino 5.5%, White 5.4%, mixed 5.3%, Indian 2.1%, East Indian 1.6%, other 3%, unspecified 0.8% (2010 est.)


English (official), Virgin Islands Creole


Protestant 70.2% (Methodist 17.6%, Church of God 10.4%, Anglican 9.5%, Seventh Day Adventist 9.0%, Pentecostal 8.2%, Baptist 7.4%, New Testament Church of God 6.9%, other Protestant 1.2%), Roman Catholic 8.9%, Jehovah's Witness 2.5%, Hindu 1.9%, other 6.2%, none 7.9%, unspecified 2.4% (2010 est.)

Population growth rate

1.91% (2022 est.)


Government type

Overseas Territory of the UK with limited self-government; parliamentary democracy


name: Road Town

Executive branch

chief of state: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022); represented by Governor John J. RANKIN (since 29 January 2021)

head of government: Premier Dr. Natalio WHEATLEY (since 5 May 2022)

Legislative branch

description: unicameral House of Assembly (15 seats; 13 members - 9 in single-seat constituencies and 4 at-large seats directly elected by simple majority vote and 2 ex-officio members - the attorney general and the speaker - chosen from outside the House; members serve 4-year terms)


Economic overview

British Caribbean island territorial economy; strong tourism and services industries; vulnerable to hurricanes; navigating public debt insolvency since 2008 Crisis; considered a tax haven; high electrification costs; major rum exporter

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$500 million (2017 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$34,200 (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

fruits, vegetables; livestock, poultry; fish


tourism, light industry, construction, rum, concrete block, offshore banking center


$23 million (2017 est.)

Exports - partners

Malta 30%, Seychelles 29%, Switzerland 14% (2019)

Exports - commodities

recreational boats, aircraft, diamonds, paintings, precious stones (2019)


$300 million (2017 est.)

Imports - partners

Germany 32%, United States 22%, Italy 9%, France 7%, Seychelles 7% (2019)

Imports - commodities

recreational boats, aircraft, refined petroleum, cars, furniture (2019)

Page last updated: Friday, December 23, 2022