Barbados

Country Summary

2022 population pyramid

Introduction

Background

The island was uninhabited when first settled by the British in 1627. By 1720, Barbados was no longer a dominant force within the sugar industry, having been surpassed by the Leeward Islands and Jamaica. Social and political reforms in the 1940s and 1950s led to complete independence from the UK in 1966. On 30 November 2021, Barbados became a republic.

Geography

Area

total: 430 sq km

land: 430 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Climate

tropical; rainy season (June to October)

Natural resources

petroleum, fish, natural gas

People and Society

Population

302,674 (2022 est.)

Ethnic groups

African descent 92.4%, mixed 3.1%, White 2.7%, East Indian 1.3%, other 0.2%, unspecified 0.3% (2010 est.)

Languages

English (official), Bajan (English-based creole language, widely spoken in informal settings)

Religions

Protestant 66.4% (includes Anglican 23.9%, other Pentecostal 19.5%, Adventist 5.9%, Methodist 4.2%, Wesleyan 3.4%, Nazarene 3.2%, Church of God 2.4%, Baptist 1.8%, Moravian 1.2%, other Protestant 0.9%), Roman Catholic 3.8%, other Christian 5.4% (includes Jehovah's Witness 2.0%, other 3.4%), Rastafarian 1%, other 1.5%, none 20.6%, unspecified 1.2% (2010 est.)

Population growth rate

0.26% (2022 est.)

Government

Government type

parliamentary republic; a Commonwealth realm

Capital

name: Bridgetown

Executive branch

chief of state: President Sandra MASON (since 30 November 2021)

head of government: Prime Minister Mia MOTTLEY (since 25 May 2018)

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate (21 seats - 18 for current term; members appointed by the president - 12 on the advice of the prime minister, 2 on the advice of the opposition leader, and 7 at the discretion of the president)
House of Assembly (30 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

Economy

Economic overview

import-driven economy; dependent on US trade; maintains a pegged exchange rate to the US dollar; high Human Development Index; heavy tourism; reducing government debt to improve fiscal health; launched major agricultural subsidy program to improve food security

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$3.7 billion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$12,900 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

sugar cane, poultry, vegetables, milk, eggs, pork, coconuts, pulses, sweet potatoes, tropical fruit

Industries

tourism, sugar, light manufacturing, component assembly for export

Exports

$485.4 million (2017 est.)

Exports - partners

US 21%, Poland 14%, Jamaica 8%, Guyana 6%,Trinidad and Tobago 6% (2019)

Exports - commodities

rums and other hard liquor, ships, orthopedic appliances, cement, packaged medicines (2019)

Imports

$1.52 billion (2017 est.)

Imports - partners

United States 35%, Trinidad and Tobago 14%, China 9%, Netherlands 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, ships, cars, shipping containers, packaged medicines (2019)


Page last updated: Monday, May 16, 2022