Curacao

Country Summary

2022 population pyramid

Introduction

Background

The original Arawak Indian settlers who arrived on the island from South America in about A.D. 1000, were largely enslaved by the Spanish early in the 16th century. Curacao was seized by the Dutch from the Spanish in 1634. Curacao and several other Dutch Caribbean possessions were reorganized as the Netherlands Antilles in 1954. In referenda in 2005 and 2009, the citizens of Curacao voted to become a self-governing country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Geography

Area

total: 444 sq km

land: 444 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Climate

tropical marine climate, ameliorated by northeast trade winds, results in mild temperatures; semiarid with average rainfall of 60 cm/year

Natural resources

calcium phosphates, protected harbors, hot springs

People and Society

Population

152,379 (2022 est.)

Ethnic groups

Curacaoan 75.4%, Dutch 6%, Dominican 3.6%, Colombian 3%, Bonairean, Sint Eustatian, Saban 1.5%, Haitian 1.2%, Surinamese 1.2%, Venezuelan 1.1%, Aruban 1.1%, other 5%, unspecified 0.9% (2011 est.)

Languages

Papiamento (official) (a creole language that is a mixture of Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, English, and, to a lesser extent, French, as well as elements of African languages and the language of the Arawak) 80%, Dutch (official) 8.8%, Spanish 5.6%, English (official) 3.1%, other 2.3%, unspecified 0.3% (2011 est.)

Religions

Roman Catholic 72.8%, Pentecostal 6.6%, Protestant 3.2%, Adventist 3%, Jehovah's Witness 2%, Evangelical 1.9%, other 3.8%, none 6%, unspecified 0.6% (2011 est.)

Population growth rate

0.32% (2022 est.)

Government

Government type

parliamentary democracy

Capital

name: Willemstad

Executive branch

chief of state: King WILLEM-ALEXANDER of the Netherlands (since 30 April 2013); represented by Governor Lucille A. GEORGE-WOUT (since 4 November 2013)

head of government: Prime Minister Gilmar PISAS (since 14 June 2021)

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament of Curacao (21 seats; members directly elected by party-list proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)

Economy

Economic overview

high-income island economy; developed infrastructure; tourism and financial services-based economy; investing in information technology incentives; oil refineries service Venezuela and China; unique COVID-19 stimulus support applied to government debts rather than household support

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$3.86 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$24,500 (2019 est.)

Agricultural products

aloe, sorghum, peanuts, vegetables, tropical fruit

Industries

tourism, petroleum refining, petroleum transshipment, light manufacturing, financial and business services

Exports

$1.77 billion (2019 est.)

Exports - partners

Switzerland 27%, United States 17%, Spain 14%, Ecuador 7%, India 7%, Antigua and Barbuda 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

gold, precious metal scraps, petroleum coke, frozen fish, coal tar oil (2019)

Imports

$2.33 billion (2019 est.)

Imports - partners

United States 35%, Netherlands 24%, China 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cars, crude petroleum, packaged medicines, perfumes (2019)

Exchange rates

Netherlands Antillean guilders (ANG) per US dollar -


Page last updated: Monday, July 18, 2022