Photos of Gibraltar

Barbary Macaques are ubiquitous in Gibraltar; here two are grooming. Gibraltar Harbour is in the background.

Introduction

Background

Spain reluctantly ceded the strategically important Gibraltar to Great Britain in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, and the British garrison at Gibraltar was formally declared a colony in 1830. In a referendum held in 1967, Gibraltarians voted overwhelmingly to remain a British dependency. After the UK granted Gibraltar autonomy in 1969, Spain closed the border and severed all communication links. Between 1997 and 2002, the UK and Spain held a series of talks on establishing temporary joint sovereignty over Gibraltar. In response to these talks, the Gibraltar Government called a referendum in 2002 in which the majority of citizens voted overwhelmingly against sharing sovereignty with Spain. Since 2004, Spain, the UK, and Gibraltar have held tripartite talks to resolve problems that affect the local population, and work continues on cooperation agreements in areas such as taxation and financial services, communications and maritime security, legal and customs services, environmental protection, and education and visa services. A new noncolonial constitution came into force in 2007, and the European Court of First Instance recognized Gibraltar's right to regulate its own tax regime in 2008. The UK retains responsibility for defense, foreign relations, internal security, and financial stability.

Spain and the UK continue to spar over the territory. In 2009, for example, a dispute over Gibraltar's claim to territorial waters extending out three miles gave rise to periodic non-violent maritime confrontations between Spanish and UK naval patrols. Spain renewed its demands for an eventual return of Gibraltar to Spanish control after the UK’s 2016 vote to leave the EU, but London has dismissed any connection between the vote and its sovereignty over Gibraltar. 

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

Geography

Location

Southwestern Europe, bordering the Strait of Gibraltar, which links the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, on the southern coast of Spain

Geographic coordinates

36 08 N, 5 21 W

Area

total: 7 sq km

land: 6.5 sq km

water: 0 sq km

comparison ranking: total 244

Area - comparative

more than 10 times the size of The National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Land boundaries

total: 1.2 km

border countries (1): Spain 1.2 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 3 nm

Climate

Mediterranean with mild winters and warm summers

Terrain

a narrow coastal lowland borders the Rock of Gibraltar

Elevation

highest point: Rock of Gibraltar 426 m

lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m

Land use

agricultural land: 0% (2011 est.)

other: 100% (2018 est.)

Natural hazards

occasional droughts; no streams or large bodies of water on the peninsula (all potable water comes from desalination)

Geography - note

note 1: strategic location on Strait of Gibraltar that links the North Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea

note 2: one of only two British territories where traffic drives on the right, the other being the island of Diego Garcia in the British Indian Ocean Territory

People and Society

Population

total: 29,683

male: 14,919

female: 14,764 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 217; male 217; total 217

Nationality

noun: Gibraltarian(s)

adjective: Gibraltar

Ethnic groups

Gibraltarian 79%, other British 13.2%, Spanish 2.1%, Moroccan 1.6%, other EU 2.4%, other 1.6% (2012 est.)

note: data represent population by nationality

Languages

English (used in schools and for official purposes), Spanish, Italian, Portuguese

Religions

Roman Catholic 72.1%, Church of England 7.7%, other Christian 3.8%, Muslim 3.6%, Jewish 2.4%, Hindu 2%, other 1.1%, none 7.1%, unspecified 0.1% (2012 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 20% (male 3,045/female 2,895)

15-64 years: 62.5% (male 9,383/female 9,179)

65 years and over: 17.5% (2024 est.) (male 2,491/female 2,690)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 60.1

youth dependency ratio: 27.4

elderly dependency ratio: 32.7

potential support ratio: 3.1 (2021)

Median age

total: 36.8 years (2024 est.)

male: 36.2 years

female: 37.5 years

comparison ranking: total 88

Population growth rate

0.17% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 179

Birth rate

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

comparison ranking: 124

Death rate

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

comparison ranking: 69

Net migration rate

-3.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 186

Urbanization

urban population: 100% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.45% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

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

Major urban areas - population

35,000 GIBRALTAR (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

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

15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.93 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 6 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 6.8 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 5.2 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 169

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 80.9 years (2024 est.)

male: 78.1 years

female: 83.8 years

comparison ranking: total population 48

Total fertility rate

1.89 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 123

Gross reproduction rate

0.92 (2024 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: NA

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: NA

total: 0% of population (2020)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: NA

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: NA

total: 0% of population (2020)

Literacy

total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

Environment

Environment - current issues

limited natural freshwater resources: more than 90% of drinking water supplied by desalination, the remainder from stored rainwater; a separate supply of saltwater used for sanitary services

Climate

Mediterranean with mild winters and warm summers

Land use

agricultural land: 0% (2011 est.)

other: 100% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 100% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.45% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

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

Air pollutants

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.63 megatons (2016 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 16,954 tons (2012 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Gibraltar

etymology: from the Spanish derivation of the Arabic "Jabal Tariq," which means "Mountain of Tariq" and which refers to the Rock of Gibraltar

Government type

parliamentary democracy (Parliament); self-governing overseas territory of the UK

Dependency status

overseas territory of the UK

Capital

name: Gibraltar

geographic coordinates: 36 08 N, 5 21 W

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

etymology: from the Spanish derivation of the Arabic "Jabal Tariq," which means "Mountain of Tariq" and which refers to the Rock of Gibraltar

Administrative divisions

none (overseas territory of the UK)

Independence

none (overseas territory of the UK)

National holiday

National Day, 10 September (1967); note - day of the national referendum to decide whether to remain with the UK or join Spain

Constitution

history: previous 1969; latest passed by referendum 30 November 2006, entered into effect 14 December 2006, entered into force 2 January 2007

amendments: proposed by Parliament and requires prior consent of the British monarch (through the Secretary of State); passage requires at least three-fourths majority vote in Parliament followed by simple majority vote in a referendum; note – only sections 1 through 15 in Chapter 1 (Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms) can be amended by Parliament

Legal system

the laws of the UK, where applicable, apply

Citizenship

see United Kingdom

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal; and British citizens with six months residence or more

Executive branch

chief of state: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022); represented by Governor Sir David STEEL (since 11 June 2020)

head of government: Chief Minister Fabian PICARDO (since 9 December 2011)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed from among the 17 elected members of Parliament by the governor in consultation with the chief minister

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed chief minister by the governor

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament (18 seats; 17 members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by majority vote and 1 appointed by Parliament as speaker; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 12 October 2023 (next to be held by October 2027)

election results: percent of vote by party - GSLP-Liberal Alliance 49.9%, GSD 48% independent 2.1%; seats by party - GLSP-Liberal Alliance 9 (GSLP 7, LPG 2), GSD 8; composition including Parliament speaker - men 13, women 5, percentage women 38.5%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of at least 3 judges, including the court president); Supreme Court of Gibraltar (consists of the chief justice and 3 judges); note - appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)

judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal and Supreme Court judges appointed by the governor upon the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, a 7-member body of judges and appointees of the governor; tenure of the Court of Appeal president based on terms of appointment; Supreme Court chief justice and judges normally appointed until retirement at age 67 but tenure can be extended 3 years

subordinate courts: Court of First Instance; Magistrates' Court; specialized tribunals for issues relating to social security, taxes, and employment

Political parties and leaders

Gibraltar Liberal Party or Liberal Party of Gibraltar or LPG [Joseph GARCIA]
Gibraltar Social Democrats or GSD [Keith AZOPARDI]
Gibraltar Socialist Labor Party or GSLP [Fabian PICARDO]
GSLP-Liberal Alliance [Fabian PICARDO and Joseph Garcia]
Together Gibraltar or TG [Marlene HASSAN-NAHON]

International organization participation

ICC (NGOs), Interpol (subbureau), UPU

Diplomatic representation in the US

none (overseas territory of the UK)

Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: none (overseas territory of the UK)

Flag description

two horizontal bands of white (top, double width) and red with a three-towered red castle in the center of the white band; hanging from the castle gate is a gold key centered in the red band; the design is that of Gibraltar's coat of arms granted on 10 July 1502 by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain; the castle symbolizes Gibraltar as a fortress, while the key represents Gibraltar's strategic importance - the key to the Mediterranean

National symbol(s)

Barbary macaque; national colors: red, white, yellow

National anthem

name: "Gibraltar Anthem"

lyrics/music: Peter EMBERLEY

note: adopted 1994; serves as a local anthem; as an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, "God Save the King" is official (see United Kingdom)

Economy

Economic overview

British territorial high-income economy; Brexit caused significant economic disruption to longstanding financial services, shipping, and tourism industries; ongoing negotiations to rejoin EU Schengen Area; independent taxation authority

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$2.044 billion (2014 est.)
$1.85 billion (2013 est.)
$2 billion (2012 est.)

note: data are in 2014 dollars

comparison ranking: 198

Real GDP per capita

$61,700 (2014 est.)
$43,000 (2008 est.)
$41,200 (2007 est.)

comparison ranking: 15

GDP (official exchange rate)

$2.044 billion (2014 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.5% (2013 est.)
2.2% (2012 est.)

comparison ranking: 39

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0% (2016 est.)

industry: 0% (2008 est.)

services: 100% (2016 est.)

comparison rankings: services 1; agriculture 222; industry 224

Industries

tourism, banking and finance, ship repairing, tobacco

Industrial production growth rate

4.3% (2014 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 90

Labor force

24,420 (2014 est.)

comparison ranking: 206

Unemployment rate

1% (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 9

Budget

revenues: $475.8 million (2008 est.)

expenditures: $452.3 million (2008 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

1.1% (of GDP) (2008 est.)

comparison ranking: 33

Public debt

7.5% of GDP (2008 est.)
8.4% of GDP (2006 est.)

comparison ranking: 198

Exports

$202.3 million (2014 est.)
$271 million (2004 est.)

comparison ranking: 201

Exports - partners

Ireland 20%, India 18%, Brazil 12%, Netherlands 10%, South Korea 8% (2022)

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

Exports - commodities

refined petroleum, crude petroleum, ships, cars, natural gas (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars

Imports - partners

Spain 19%, Italy 17%, Greece 11%, Nigeria 10%, UK 6% (2022)

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

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, crude petroleum, coal tar oil, ships, cars (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Exchange rates

Gibraltar pounds (GIP) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
0.811 (2022 est.)
0.727 (2021 est.)
0.78 (2020 est.)
0.783 (2019 est.)
0.75 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

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

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 43,000 kW (2022 est.)

consumption: 244.5 million kWh (2022 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 7 million kWh (2022 est.)

comparison rankings: transmission/distribution losses 13; consumption 188; installed generating capacity 196

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 100% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

Petroleum

refined petroleum consumption: 84,000 bbl/day (2022 est.)

Natural gas

consumption: 75.781 million cubic meters (2022 est.)

imports: 75.781 million cubic meters (2022 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

14.297 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 14.149 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 148,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 97

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 17,000 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 53 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 178

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 37,000 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 112 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 211

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Gibraltar’s population is urban-based, served by a digital telephone exchange supported by a fiber optic and copper infrastructure; near universal mobile and Internet use (2019)

domestic: 53 per 100 fixed-line and 100 per 100 mobile-cellular (2021)

international: country code - 350; landing point for the EIG to Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East via submarine cables; radiotelephone; microwave radio relay; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

Broadcast media

Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) provides TV and radio broadcasting services via 1 TV station and 4 radio stations; British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) operates 1 radio station; broadcasts from Spanish radio and TV stations are accessible

Internet users

total: 31,152 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 94.4% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 209

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 21,009 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 62 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 164

Transportation

Airports

1 (2024)

comparison ranking: 216

Roadways

total: 29 km

paved: 29 km (2007)

comparison ranking: total 222

Merchant marine

total: 129 (2023)

by type: bulk carrier 8, container ship 5, general cargo 31, oil tanker 16, other 69

comparison ranking: total 78

Ports

total ports: 1 (2024)

large: 0

medium: 1

small: 0

very small: 0

ports with oil terminals: 1

key ports: Europa Point

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Royal Gibraltar Regiment (2024)

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Royal Gibraltar Regiment has more than 400 personnel (2023)

Military - note

defense is the responsibility of the UK