Belize

Country Summary

2022 population pyramid

Introduction

Background

Belize was the site of several Mayan city states until their decline at the end of the first millennium A.D. It formally became the colony of British Honduras in 1862. Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize until 1981.

Geography

Area

total: 22,966 sq km

land: 22,806 sq km

water: 160 sq km

Climate

tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to November); dry season (February to May)

Natural resources

arable land potential, timber, fish, hydropower

People and Society

Population

412,387 (2022 est.)

Ethnic groups

Mestizo 52.9%, Creole 25.9%, Maya 11.3%, Garifuna 6.1%, East Indian 3.9%, Mennonite 3.6%, White 1.2%, Asian 1%, other 1.2%, unknown 0.3% (2010 est.)

Languages

English 62.9% (official), Spanish 56.6%, Creole 44.6%, Maya 10.5%, German 3.2%, Garifuna 2.9%, other 1.8%, unknown 0.5%; note - shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census (2010 est.)

Religions

Roman Catholic 40.1%, Protestant 31.5% (includes Pentecostal 8.4%, Seventh Day Adventist 5.4%, Anglican 4.7%, Mennonite 3.7%, Baptist 3.6%, Methodist 2.9%, Nazarene 2.8%), Jehovah's Witness 1.7%, other 10.5% (includes Baha'i, Buddhist, Hindu, Church of Jesus Christ, Muslim, Rastafarian, Salvation Army), unspecified 0.6%, none 15.5% (2010 est.)

Population growth rate

1.64% (2022 est.)

Government

Government type

parliamentary democracy (National Assembly) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm

Capital

name: Belmopan

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Froyla TZALAM (since 27 May 2021)

head of government: Prime Minister Juan Antonio BRICENO (since 12 November 2020); Deputy Prime Minister Cordel HYDE (since 16 November 2020)

Legislative branch

description: bicameral National Assembly consists of:
Senate (14 seats, including the president); members appointed by the governor general - 6 on the advice of the prime minister, 3 on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and 1 each on the advice of the Belize Council of Churches and Evangelical Association of Churches, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Belize Better Business Bureau, non-governmental organizations in good standing, and the National Trade Union Congress and the Civil Society Steering Committee; Senate president elected from among the Senate members or from outside the Senate; members serve 5-year terms
House of Representatives (31 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

Economy

Economic overview

tourism- and agriculture-driven economy initially hard hit by COVID-19; ongoing export recovery, especially fruits and sugar demand surges; investing towards a “blue economy”; central bank offering USD-denominated treasury notes; high mobility across borders

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$2.43 billion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$6,100 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

sugar care, oranges, bananas, maize, poultry, rice, sorghum, papayas, grapefruit, soybeans

Industries

garment production, food processing, tourism, construction, oil

Exports

$710 million (2020 est.)

Exports - partners

United Kingdom 27%, United States 24%, Spain 6%, Jamaica 5%, Ireland 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

raw sugar, bananas, fruit juice, fish products, crude petroleum (2019)

Imports

$900 million (2020 est.)

Imports - partners

United States 36%, China 13%, Mexico 12%, Guatemala 10% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cigarettes, recreational boats, natural gas, cars (2019)


Page last updated: Monday, May 16, 2022