Barbuda as viewed from space. The island, which lies north of Antigua, is mostly coral limestone and exhibits little topographic variation; its highest point is only 38 meters above sea level. Barbuda is sparcely inhabited compared to its sister island. Photo courtesy of NASA.
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Introduction

Background

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 Christopher COLUMBUS landed on his second voyage in 1493. Early Spanish and French settlements were succeeded by an English colony in 1667. Slavery, to provide labor on 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 of 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.

Geography

Location

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

Area

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

land: 443 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

Coastline

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

Climate

tropical maritime; little seasonal temperature variation

Terrain

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

Elevation

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

Nationality

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

Languages

English (official), Antiguan Creole (an English-based creole)

Religions

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.)

2022 population pyramid
2022 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 40.9

youth dependency ratio: 26.5

elderly dependency ratio: 14.4

potential support ratio: 7 (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

15.16 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 115

Death rate

5.65 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 176

Net migration rate

2.03 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 49

Population distribution

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

Urbanization

urban population: 24.3% of total population (2023)

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: 0.64 male(s)/female

total population: 0.89 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 14.3 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 17.27 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 11.17 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 106

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 77.8 years

male: 75.63 years

female: 80.08 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 83

Gross reproduction rate

0.95 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 96.7% of population

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 3.2% of population (2017 est.)

Current health expenditure

4.4% of GDP (2019)

Physicians density

2.76 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.)

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 11.88 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 2.97 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 3.95 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 4.55 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.41 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 6

Literacy

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

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.)

Climate

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.)

Urbanization

urban population: 24.3% of total population (2023)

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.)

Government

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

Capital

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

Independence

1 November 1981 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 1 November (1981)

Constitution

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

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022); 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 (17 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

elections:
Senate - last appointed on 26 March 2018 (next NA)
House of Representatives - last held on 18 January 2023 (next to be held in March 2028)

election results:
Senate -  composition - men 8, women 9, percent of women 52.9%
House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - ABLP 47.1%, UPP 45.2%, BPM 1.5%, independents 5.2% ; seats by party - ABLP 9, UPP 6, BPM 1, independents 1; composition - men 16, women 2, percent of women 11.1%; note - total Parliament percent of women 31.4%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): 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 Labor Party or ABLP [Gaston BROWNE]
Barbuda People's Movement or BPM [Trevor WALKER]
Democratic National Alliance or DNA [Joanne MASSIAH]
Go Green for Life or GGL [Owen GEORGE]
United Progressive Party or UPP [Harold LOVELL]

International organization participation

ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (subscriber), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM (observer), OAS, OECS, OPANAL, OPCW, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

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:
embantbar@aol.com

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 King" serves as the royal anthem (see United Kingdom)

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 1 (cultural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Antigua Naval Dockyard 

Economy

Economic overview

dual island-tourism and construction-driven economy; emerging “blue economy”; limited water supply and susceptibility to hurricanes limit activity; improving road infrastructure; friendly to foreign direct investment; looking at financial innovation in cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1.783 billion (2021 est.)

$1.693 billion (2020 est.)

$2.122 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 199

Real GDP growth rate

5.27% (2021 est.)

-20.19% (2020 est.)

4.86% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 86

Real GDP per capita

$19,100 (2021 est.)

$18,300 (2020 est.)

$23,000 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 94

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.524 billion (2017 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.06% (2021 est.)

0.63% (2020 est.)

1.43% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 74

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

Industries

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

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 7%

industry: 11%

services: 82% (1983 est.)

Budget

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: 36

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Current account balance

-$220.871 million (2021 est.)

-$251.556 million (2020 est.)

-$126.907 million (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 100

Exports

$749.476 million (2021 est.)

$590.849 million (2020 est.)

$1.196 billion (2019 est.)

note: Data are in current year dollars and do not include illicit exports or re-exports.

country comparison to the world: 185

Exports - partners

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

Exports - commodities

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

Imports

$868.797 million (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$737.693 million (2020 est.)

$1.18 billion (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 192

Imports - partners

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

Imports - commodities

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

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$367.512 million (31 December 2021 est.)

$221.809 million (31 December 2020 est.)

$279.133 million (31 December 2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 171

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 (2021 est.)

2.7 (2020 est.)

2.7 (2019 est.)

2.7 (2018 est.)

2.7 (2017 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 117,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 278 million kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 65 million kWh (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 95.4% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 4.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 5,000 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

729,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 729,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 182

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 27,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 28 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 170

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 184,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 188 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 184

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: the telecom sector has seen a decline in subscriber numbers (particularly for prepaid mobile services the mainstay of short term visitors) and revenue; fixed and mobile broadband services are two areas that have benefited from the crisis as employees and students have resorted to working from home; one area of the telecom market that is not prepared for growth is 5G mobile; governments, regulators, and even the mobile network operators have shown that they have not been investing in 5G opportunities at the present time; network expansion and enhancements remain concentrated around improving LTE coverage (2021)

domestic: fixed-line teledensity roughly 28 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular teledensity is about 188 per 100 persons (2020)

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)

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: 73,807 (2019 est.)

percent of population: 76% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 185

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 8,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 8 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 181

Transportation

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 (2018) mt-km

Airports - with paved runways

total: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2021)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2021)

Roadways

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: 34

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Saint John's

cruise port(s): St. John's

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force (ABDF): Coast Guard and the Antigua and Barbuda Regiment (2022)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 200 active military personnel (2022)

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 (2022)

Military service age and obligation

18-23 years of age for voluntary military service for both men and women; no conscription (2022)

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 (2022)

Transnational Issues

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch list – Antigua and Barbuda does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so; more trafficking cases were investigated, Family and Social Services officials were trained for the first time, and funding continued for the National Action Plan; however, the government did not identify any victims for the second consecutive year, nor initiate any prosecutions or convictions of traffickers; therefore Antigua and Barbuda was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List (2022)

trafficking profile: traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Antigua and Barbuda, and exploit victims from Antigua and Barbuda abroad; individuals from minority communities are at higher risk; documented and undocumented migrants from the Caribbean, notably Jamaica, Guyana, and the Dominican Republic, were victims of sex trafficking and forced labor; traffickers exploited victims in multiple-destination trafficking, arriving in Antigua and Barbuda for a few months before being exploited in other Caribbean countries such as St. Kitts and Nevis and Barbados; sex trafficking, including girls, occurs in bars, taverns, and brothels; forced labor, including children, occurs in domestic service and retail stores, particularly family-owned businesses; Cuban and PRC nationals working in Antigua and Barbuda may have been forced to work there by their own governments (2022)

Illicit drugs

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