Photos of Dominica

View of the south side of the island. Dominica features lush mountainous rain forests, and is the home of many rare plant, animal, and bird species (including the Sisserou Parrot featured on its flag).

Introduction

Background

Dominica was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonized by Europeans, due chiefly to the fierce resistance of the native Caribs. France ceded possession to Britain in 1763, and Dominica became a British colony in 1805. Slavery ended in 1833, and in 1835, the first three men of African descent were elected to the legislative assembly of Dominica. In 1871, Dominica became first part of the British Leeward Islands and then the British Windward Islands until 1958. In 1967, Dominica became an associated state of the UK, formally taking responsibility for its internal affairs, and the country gained its independence in 1978. In 1980, Dominica's fortunes improved when Mary Eugenia CHARLES -- the first female prime minister in the Caribbean -- replaced a corrupt and tyrannical administration, and she served for the next 15 years. In 2017, Hurricane Maria passed over the island, causing extensive damage to structures, roads, communications, and the power supply, and largely destroying critical agricultural areas.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about halfway between Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago

Geographic coordinates

15 25 N, 61 20 W

Map references

Central America and the Caribbean

Area

total: 751 sq km

land: 751 sq km

water: NEGL

comparison ranking: total 188

Area - comparative

slightly more than four times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Coastline

148 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

tropical; moderated by northeast trade winds; heavy rainfall

Terrain

rugged mountains of volcanic origin

Elevation

highest point: Morne Diablotins 1,447 m

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

Natural resources

timber, hydropower, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 34.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 24% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 2.7% (2018 est.)

forest: 59.2% (2018 est.)

other: 6.1% (2018 est.)

Population distribution

population is mosly clustered along the coast, with roughly a third living in the parish of St. George, in or around the capital of Roseau; the volcanic interior is sparsely populated

Natural hazards

flash floods are a constant threat; destructive hurricanes can be expected during the late summer months

volcanism: Dominica was the last island to be formed in the Caribbean some 26 million years ago, it lies in the middle of the volcanic island arc of the Lesser Antilles that extends from the island of Saba in the north to Grenada in the south; of the 16 volcanoes that make up this arc, five are located on Dominica, more than any other island in the Caribbean: Morne aux Diables (861 m), Morne Diablotins (1,430 m), Morne Trois Pitons (1,387 m), Watt Mountain (1,224 m), which last erupted in 1997, and Morne Plat Pays (940 m); the two best known volcanic features on Dominica, the Valley of Desolation and the Boiling Lake thermal areas, lie on the flanks of Watt Mountain and both are popular tourist destinations

Geography - note

known as "The Nature Island of the Caribbean" due to its spectacular, lush, and varied flora and fauna, which are protected by an extensive natural park system; the most mountainous of the Lesser Antilles, its volcanic peaks are cones of lava craters and include Boiling Lake, the second-largest, thermally active lake in the world

People and Society

Population

total: 74,661

male: 37,753

female: 36,908 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 202; male 201; total 201

Nationality

noun: Dominican(s)

adjective: Dominican

Ethnic groups

African descent 84.5%, mixed 9%, Indigenous 3.8%, other 2.1%, unspecified 0.6% (2011 est.)

Languages

English (official), French patois

Religions

Roman Catholic 52.7%, Protestant 29.7% (includes Seventh Day Adventist 6.7%, Pentecostal 6.1%, Baptist 5.2%, Christian Union Church 3.9%, Methodist 2.6%, Gospel Mission 2.1%, other Protestant 3.1%), Jehovah's Witness 1.3%, Rastafarian 1.1%, other 4.3%, none 9.4%, unspecified 1.4% (2011 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 20.7% (male 7,891/female 7,530)

15-64 years: 65.6% (male 25,000/female 24,009)

65 years and over: 13.7% (2024 est.) (male 4,862/female 5,369)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 41.2

youth dependency ratio: 28

elderly dependency ratio: 13.2

potential support ratio: 7.6 (2021)

Median age

total: 37 years (2024 est.)

male: 36.5 years

female: 37.6 years

comparison ranking: total 84

Population growth rate

-0.01% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 196

Birth rate

13.3 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 129

Death rate

8.1 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 87

Net migration rate

-5.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 205

Population distribution

population is mosly clustered along the coast, with roughly a third living in the parish of St. George, in or around the capital of Roseau; the volcanic interior is sparsely populated

Urbanization

urban population: 72% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.84% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

15,000 ROSEAU (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female

total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 10.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 14.5 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 6.8 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 127

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 78.7 years (2024 est.)

male: 75.8 years

female: 81.8 years

comparison ranking: total population 74

Total fertility rate

2.01 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 106

Gross reproduction rate

0.98 (2024 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 95.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 4.3% of population

Current health expenditure

5.7% of GDP (2020)

Physician density

1.1 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

3.8 beds/1,000 population

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

27.9% (2016)

comparison ranking: 34

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 6.32 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 1.64 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.29 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 4.39 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 67

Education expenditures

5.5% of GDP (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 57

Literacy

total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

People - note

3,000-3,500 Kalinago (Carib) still living on Dominica are the only pre-Columbian population remaining in the Caribbean; only 70-100 may be "pure" Kalinago because of years of integration into the broader population

Environment

Environment - current issues

water shortages a continuing concern; pollution from agrochemicals and from untreated sewage; forests endangered by the expansion of farming; soil erosion; pollution of the coastal zone by agricultural and industrial chemicals, and untreated sewage

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Climate

tropical; moderated by northeast trade winds; heavy rainfall

Land use

agricultural land: 34.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 24% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 2.7% (2018 est.)

forest: 59.2% (2018 est.)

other: 6.1% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 72% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.84% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.03% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 135

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 162

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 8.22 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.18 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 0.04 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 13,176 tons (2013 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 20 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 0 cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 1 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

200 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Commonwealth of Dominica

conventional short form: Dominica

etymology: the island was named by explorer Christopher COLUMBUS for the day of the week on which he spotted it, Sunday ("Domingo" in Latin), 3 November 1493

Government type

parliamentary republic

Capital

name: Roseau

geographic coordinates: 15 18 N, 61 24 W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the name is French for "reed"; the first settlement was named after the river reeds that grew in the area

Administrative divisions

10 parishes; Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Luke, Saint Mark, Saint Patrick, Saint Paul, Saint Peter

Independence

3 November 1978 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 3 November (1978)

Constitution

history: previous 1967 (preindependence); latest presented 25 July 1978, entered into force 3 November 1978

amendments: proposed by the House of Assembly; passage of amendments to constitutional sections such as fundamental rights and freedoms, the government structure, and constitutional amendment procedures requires approval by three fourths of the Assembly membership in the final reading of the amendment bill, approval by simple majority in a referendum, and assent of the president; amended several times, last in 2015

Legal system

common law based on the English model

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Sylvanie BURTON (since 2 October 2023)

head of government: Prime Minister Roosevelt SKERRIT (since 8 January 2004)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister

elections/appointments: president nominated by the prime minister and leader of the opposition party and elected by the House of Assembly for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 27 September 2023 (next to be held in October 2028); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: 2023: parliament elects Sylvanie BURTON (DLP) with 20 votes for and five against

Legislative branch

description: unicameral House of Assembly (32 seats; 21 representatives directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote, 9 senators appointed by the president - 5 on the advice of the prime minister, and 4 on the advice of the leader of the opposition party, plus 2 ex-officio members - the house speaker and the attorney general; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 6 December 2022 (next to be held in 2027); note - tradition dictates that the election is held within 5 years of the last election, but technically it is 5 years from the first seating of parliament plus a 90-day grace period

election results: percent of vote by party - DLP 82.3%, independent 16.9%; (elected) seats by party - DLP 19, independent 2; composition - men 20, women 12, percent of women 37.5%

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, traveling 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 in Dominica; note - in 2015, Dominica acceded to the Caribbean Court of Justice as final court of appeal, replacing that of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, in London

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, an independent body of judicial officials; 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: Court of Summary Jurisdiction; magistrates' courts

Political parties and leaders

Dominica Freedom Party or DFP [Bernard HURTAULT]
Dominica Labor Party or DLP [Roosevelt SKERRIT]
Dominica United Workers Party or UWP [Lennox LINTON]

International organization participation

ACP, ACS, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CD, CDB, CELAC, Commonwealth of Nations, ECCU, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OECS, OIF, OPANAL, OPCW, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Steve FERROL (since 15 September 2023)

chancery: 3216 New Mexico Ave NW Washington, DC 20016

telephone: [1] (202) 364-6781

FAX: [1] (202) 364-6791

email address and website:
embdomdc@gmail.com

consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: the US does not have an embassy in Dominica; the US Ambassador to Barbados is accredited to Dominica

Flag description

green with a centered cross of three equal bands - the vertical part is yellow (hoist side), black, and white and the horizontal part is yellow (top), black, and white; superimposed in the center of the cross is a red disk bearing a Sisserou parrot, unique to Dominica, encircled by 10 green, five-pointed stars edged in yellow; the 10 stars represent the 10 administrative divisions (parishes); green symbolizes the island's lush vegetation; the triple-colored cross represents the Christian Trinity; the yellow color denotes sunshine, the main agricultural products (citrus and bananas), and the native Carib Indians; black is for the rich soil and the African heritage of most citizens; white signifies rivers, waterfalls, and the purity of aspirations; the red disc stands for social justice

National symbol(s)

Sisserou parrot, Carib Wood flower; national colors: green, yellow, black, white, red

National anthem

name: "Isle of Beauty"

lyrics/music: Wilfred Oscar Morgan POND/Lemuel McPherson CHRISTIAN

note: adopted 1967

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 1 (natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Pitons Management Area

Economy

Economic overview

highly agrarian OECS island economy; ECCU-member state; large banana exporter; improved oversight of its citizenship-by-investment program; emerging ecotourism, information and communications, and education industries

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$833.828 million (2022 est.)
$789.248 million (2021 est.)
$738.371 million (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 209

Real GDP growth rate

5.65% (2022 est.)
6.89% (2021 est.)
-16.6% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 60

Real GDP per capita

$11,500 (2022 est.)
$10,900 (2021 est.)
$10,300 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 133

GDP (official exchange rate)

$607.441 million (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

-0.73% (2020 est.)
1.5% (2019 est.)
0.99% (2018 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 3

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 22.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 12.6% (2017 est.)

services: 65.1% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 95; industry 197; agriculture 39

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 60.6% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 26.2% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 21.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 54.4% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -62.7% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

taro, grapefruits, yams, bananas, plantains, coconuts, milk, yautia, oranges, sugarcane (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage

Industries

soap, coconut oil, tourism, copra, furniture, cement blocks, shoes

Industrial production growth rate

1.07% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 148

Remittances

8.56% of GDP (2022 est.)
11.72% of GDP (2021 est.)
11.61% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

revenues: $180 million (2021 est.)

expenditures: $184 million (2021 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-5.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 181

Public debt

82.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
71.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 37

Taxes and other revenues

40.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 10

Current account balance

-$133.58 million (2022 est.)
-$153.204 million (2021 est.)
-$178.7 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 86

Exports

$192.278 million (2022 est.)
$123.36 million (2021 est.)
$95.366 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 202

Exports - partners

Bahamas, The 12%, Guyana 8%, Antigua and Barbuda 7%, Dominican Republic 7%, Barbados 6% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

power equipment, soap, raw iron bars, natural gas, tropical fruits (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars

Imports

$349.052 million (2022 est.)
$307.79 million (2021 est.)
$303.326 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 206

Imports - partners

US 51%, China 9%, Indonesia 4%, Trinidad and Tobago 4%, Italy 3% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, natural gas, crude petroleum, plastic products, cars (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$204.343 million (2022 est.)
$190.843 million (2021 est.)
$165.824 million (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 185

Debt - external

$280.4 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$314.2 million (31 December 2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 186

Exchange rates

East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
2.7 (2022 est.)
2.7 (2021 est.)
2.7 (2020 est.)
2.7 (2019 est.)
2.7 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2022 est.)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 42,000 kW (2022 est.)

consumption: 162.827 million kWh (2022 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 8 million kWh (2022 est.)

comparison rankings: transmission/distribution losses 14; consumption 192; installed generating capacity 197

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 75.9% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

solar: 0.1% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

wind: 0.6% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

hydroelectricity: 23.4% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

Petroleum

refined petroleum consumption: 1,000 bbl/day (2022 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

175,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 175,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 205

Energy consumption per capita

35.086 million Btu/person (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: 107

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 7,000 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 10 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 196

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 62,000 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 86 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 204

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: 10 fixed-line connections per 100 persons; mobile-cellular subscriptions are about 86 per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 1-767; landing points for the ECFS and the Southern Caribbean Fiber submarine cables providing connectivity to other islands in the eastern Caribbean extending from the British Virgin Islands to Trinidad and to the US; microwave radio relay and SHF radiotelephone links to Martinique and Guadeloupe; VHF and UHF radiotelephone links to Saint Lucia (2019)

Broadcast media

no terrestrial TV service available; subscription cable TV provider offers some locally produced programming plus channels from the US, Latin America, and the Caribbean; state-operated radio broadcasts on 6 stations; privately owned radio broadcasts on about 15 stations (2019)

Internet users

total: 58,320 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 81% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 198

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 16,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 22 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 172

Transportation

Airports

2 (2024)

comparison ranking: 202

Roadways

total: 1,512 km

paved: 762 km

unpaved: 750 km (2018)

comparison ranking: total 176

Merchant marine

total: 77 (2023)

by type: general cargo 26, oil tanker 10, other 41

comparison ranking: total 101

Ports

total ports: 2 (2024)

large: 0

medium: 0

small: 0

very small: 2

ports with oil terminals: 1

key ports: Portsmouth, Roseau

Military and Security

Military and security forces

no regular military forces; Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force (includes Coast Guard) under the Ministry of Justice, Immigration, and National Security (2024)

Military - note

Dominica has been a member of the Caribbean Regional Security System (RSS) since its creation in 1982; RSS signatories (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. 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 (2024)

Transnational Issues

Illicit drugs

a transit point for cocaine and marijuana destined for North America, Europe, and elsewhere in the Caribbean; some local demand for cocaine and some use of synthetic drugs