Satellite image of Cuba (center) and Jamaica (lower right). The southern tip of Florida, the Florida Keys, and the Florida Strait appear at the top. The bright blue green color around the islands, particularly around those of the Bahamas in the upper right, is likely due to the brighter solar reflection over the more shallow waters that surround the islands. Image courtesy of NASA.
Country Flag
Country Map
Special Country Products
Locator Map

Introduction

Background

The island - "discovered" by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The Native Taino, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated and replaced by African slaves. England seized the island in 1655 and established a plantation economy based on sugar, cocoa, and coffee. The abolition of slavery in 1834 freed a quarter million slaves, many of whom became small farmers. Jamaica gradually increased its independence from Britain. In 1958, it joined other British Caribbean colonies in forming the Federation of the West Indies. Jamaica withdrew from the Federation in 1961 and gained full independence in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence as rival gangs affiliated with the major political parties evolved into powerful organized crime networks involved in international drug smuggling and money laundering. Violent crime, drug trafficking, corruption, the COVID-19 pandemic, and poverty pose significant challenges to the government today. Nonetheless, many rural and resort areas remain relatively safe and contribute substantially to the economy.

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

Geography

Location

Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba

Geographic coordinates

18 15 N, 77 30 W

Map references

Central America and the Caribbean

Area

total: 10,991 sq km

land: 10,831 sq km

water: 160 sq km

country comparison to the world: 166

Area - comparative

about half the size of New Jersey; slightly smaller than Connecticut

Area comparison map
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Coastline

1,022 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to edge of the continental margin

measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines

Climate

tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior

Terrain

mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain

Elevation

highest point: Blue Mountain Peak 2,256 m

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

mean elevation: 18 m

Natural resources

bauxite, alumina, gypsum, limestone

Land use

agricultural land: 41.4% (2018 est.)

arable land: 11.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 9.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 21.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 31.1% (2018 est.)

other: 27.5% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

250 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

population density is high throughout, but increases in and around Kingston, Montego Bay, and Port Esquivel

Natural hazards

hurricanes (especially July to November)

Geography - note

third largest island in the Caribbean (after Cuba and Hispaniola); strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for the Panama Canal

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Jamaican(s)

adjective: Jamaican

Ethnic groups

Black 92.1%, mixed 6.1%, East Indian 0.8%, other 0.4%, unspecified 0.7% (2011 est.)

Languages

English, English patois

Religions

Protestant 64.8% (includes Seventh Day Adventist 12.0%, Pentecostal 11.0%, Other Church of God 9.2%, New Testament Church of God 7.2%, Baptist 6.7%, Church of God in Jamaica 4.8%, Church of God of Prophecy 4.5%, Anglican 2.8%, United Church 2.1%, Methodist 1.6%, Revived 1.4%, Brethren 0.9%, and Moravian 0.7%), Roman Catholic 2.2%, Jehovah's Witness 1.9%, Rastafarian 1.1%, other 6.5%, none 21.3%, unspecified 2.3% (2011 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 25.2% (male 360,199/female 347,436)

15-24 years: 17.95% (male 255,102/female 248,927)

25-54 years: 38.06% (male 518,583/female 550,410)

55-64 years: 9.63% (male 133,890/female 136,442)

65 years and over: 9.17% (male 121,969/female 135,612) (2020 est.)

2022 population pyramid
2022 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 48

youth dependency ratio: 34.6

elderly dependency ratio: 13.4

potential support ratio: 7.4 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 29.4 years

male: 28.6 years

female: 30.1 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 131

Birth rate

15.91 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 103

Death rate

7.43 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 108

Net migration rate

-7.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 219

Population distribution

population density is high throughout, but increases in and around Kingston, Montego Bay, and Port Esquivel

Urbanization

urban population: 57% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 0.79% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

595,000 KINGSTON (capital) (2022)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

21.2 years (2008 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality ratio

80 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 79

Infant mortality rate

total: 11.17 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 12.43 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 9.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 129

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 75.75 years

male: 73.98 years

female: 77.6 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 116

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 98.3% of population

rural: 93.9% of population

total: 96.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 1.7% of population

rural: 6.1% of population

total: 3.6% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

6.1% of GDP (2019)

Physicians density

0.53 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

1.7 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 98.6% of population

rural: 99.4% of population

total: 98.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 1.4% of population

rural: 0.6% of population

total: 1.1% of population (2020 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

(2020 est.) <1,000

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 3.46 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 1.19 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.25 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 1.66 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.35 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 104

Tobacco use

total: 9.4% (2020 est.)

male: 15% (2020 est.)

female: 3.8% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 137

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school

total population: 88.7%

male: 84%

female: 93.1% (2015)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 12 years

male: 11 years

female: 13 years (2015)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 20.6%

male: 16.8%

female: 25.4% (2019 est.)

Environment

Environment - current issues

heavy rates of deforestation; coastal waters polluted by industrial waste, sewage, and oil spills; damage to coral reefs; air pollution in Kingston from vehicle emissions; land erosion

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 13.25 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 8.23 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 1.08 megatons (2020 est.)

Climate

tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior

Land use

agricultural land: 41.4% (2018 est.)

arable land: 11.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 9.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 21.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 31.1% (2018 est.)

other: 27.5% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 57% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 0.79% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 118

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 1,051,695 tons (2016 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 140 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 1.1 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 114 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

10.823 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Jamaica

etymology: from the native Taino word "haymaca" meaning "Land of Wood and Water" or possibly "Land of Springs"

Government type

parliamentary democracy (Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm

Capital

name: Kingston

geographic coordinates: 18 00 N, 76 48 W

time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the name is a blending of the words "king's" and "town"; the English king at the time of the city's founding in 1692 was WILLIAM III (r. 1689-1702)

Administrative divisions

14 parishes; Clarendon, Hanover, Kingston, Manchester, Portland, Saint Andrew, Saint Ann, Saint Catherine, Saint Elizabeth, Saint James, Saint Mary, Saint Thomas, Trelawny, Westmoreland

note: for local government purposes, Kingston and Saint Andrew were amalgamated in 1923 into the present single corporate body known as the Kingston and Saint Andrew Corporation

Independence

6 August 1962 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 6 August (1962)

Constitution

history: several previous (preindependence); latest drafted 1961-62, submitted to British Parliament 24 July 1962, entered into force 6 August 1962 (at independence)

amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage of amendments to "non-entrenched" constitutional sections, such as lowering the voting age, requires majority vote by the Parliament membership; passage of amendments to "entrenched" sections, such as fundamental rights and freedoms, requires two-thirds majority vote of Parliament; passage of amendments to "specially entrenched" sections such as the dissolution of Parliament or the executive authority of the monarch requires two-thirds approval by Parliament and approval in a referendum; amended many times, last in 2017

Legal system

common law system based on the English model

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 4 out of the previous 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022); represented by Governor General Sir Patrick L. ALLEN (since 26 February 2009)

head of government: Prime Minister Andrew HOLNESS (since 3 March 2016)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition in the House of Representatives is appointed prime minister by the governor general

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate (21 seats; 13 members appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister and 8 members appointed by the governor general on the advice of the opposition party leader; members serve 5-year terms (no term limits) or until Parliament is dissolved)
House of Representatives (63 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms (no term limits) or until Parliament is dissolved)

elections: Senate - last full slate of appointments early on 3 September 2020 (next full slate in 2025)
House of Representatives - last held on 3 September 2020 (next to be held in 2025)

election results: Senate - percent by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition (as of June 2021) - men 13, women 8, percent of women 38.1%
House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - JLP 57%, PNP 42.8%, independent 0.2%; seats by party - JLP 48, PNP 15; composition (as of June 2021) - men 45, women 18; percent of women 28.6%; note - total Parliament percent of women 31%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of president of the court and a minimum of 4 judges); Supreme Court (40 judges organized in specialized divisions); note - appeals beyond Jamaica's highest courts are referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) rather than to the Caribbean Court of Justice (the appellate court for member states of the Caribbean Community)

judge selection and term of office: chief justice of the Supreme Court and president of the Court of Appeal appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the prime minister; other judges of both courts appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission; judges of both courts serve till age 70

subordinate courts: resident magistrate courts, district courts, and petty sessions courts

Political parties and leaders

Jamaica Labor Party or JLP [Andrew Michael HOLNESS]
Jamaica Progressive Party or JPP [Gilbert Alexander EDWARDS]
People's National Party or PNP [Mark GOLDING]
United Independents' Congress or UIC [Joseph L. PATTERSON]

International organization participation

ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-15, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Audrey Patrice MARKS (since 18 January 2017)

chancery: 1520 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036

telephone: [1] (202) 452-0660

FAX: [1] (202) 452-0036

email address and website:
firstsec@jamaicaembassy.org

http://www.embassyofjamaica.org/

consulate(s) general: Miami, New York

consulate(s): Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Concord (MA), Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Richmond (VA), San Francisco, Seattle

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador N. Nickolas PERRY (since 13 May 2022)

embassy: 142 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6

mailing address: 3210 Kingston Place, Washington DC  20521-3210

telephone: (876) 702-6000 (2018)

FAX: (876) 702-6348 (2018)

email address and website:
KingstonACS@state.gov

https://jm.usembassy.gov/

Flag description

diagonal yellow cross divides the flag into four triangles - green (top and bottom) and black (hoist side and fly side); green represents hope, vegetation, and agriculture, black reflects hardships overcome and to be faced, and yellow recalls golden sunshine and the island's natural resources

National symbol(s)

green-and-black streamertail (bird), Guaiacum officinale (Guaiacwood); national colors: green, yellow, black

National anthem

name: "Jamaica, Land We Love"

lyrics/music: Hugh Braham SHERLOCK/Robert Charles LIGHTBOURNE

note: adopted 1962

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 1 (mixed)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Blue and John Crow Mountains

Economy

Economic overview

The Jamaican economy is heavily dependent on services, which accounts for more than 70% of GDP. The country derives most of its foreign exchange from tourism, remittances, and bauxite/alumina. Earnings from remittances and tourism each account for 14% and 20% of GDP, while bauxite/alumina exports have declined to less than 5% of GDP.

 

Jamaica's economy has grown on average less than 1% a year for the last three decades and many impediments remain to growth: a bloated public sector which crowds out spending on important projects; high crime and corruption; red-tape; and a high debt-to-GDP ratio. Jamaica, however, has made steady progress in reducing its debt-to-GDP ratio from a high of almost 150% in 2012 to less than 110% in 2017, in close collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The current IMF Stand-By Agreement requires Jamaica to produce an annual primary surplus of 7%, in an attempt to reduce its debt burden below 60% by 2025.

 

Economic growth reached 1.6% in 2016, but declined to 0.9% in 2017 after intense rainfall, demonstrating the vulnerability of the economy to weather-related events. The HOLNESS administration therefore faces the difficult prospect of maintaining fiscal discipline to reduce the debt load while simultaneously implementing growth inducing policies and attacking a serious crime problem. High unemployment exacerbates the crime problem, including gang violence fueled by advanced fee fraud (lottery scamming) and the drug trade.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$25.89 billion (2020 est.)

$28.83 billion (2019 est.)

$28.57 billion (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 143

Real GDP growth rate

0.7% (2017 est.)

1.5% (2016 est.)

0.9% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 180

Real GDP per capita

$8,700 (2020 est.)

$9,800 (2019 est.)

$9,700 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 146

GDP (official exchange rate)

$15.847 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

3.9% (2019 est.)

3.7% (2018 est.)

4.3% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 163

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B+ (2019)

Moody's rating: B2 (2019)

Standard & Poors rating: B+ (2019)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 7% (2017 est.)

industry: 21.1% (2017 est.)

services: 71.9% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 81.9% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 13.7% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 21.3% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.1% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 30.1% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -47.1% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

sugar cane, goat milk, yams, poultry, coconuts, oranges, bananas, gourds, plantains, grapefruit

Industries

agriculture, mining, manufacture, construction, financial and insurance services, tourism, telecommunications

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 16.1%

industry: 16%

services: 67.9% (2017)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 20.6%

male: 16.8%

female: 25.4% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 73

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.6%

highest 10%: 29.3% (2015)

Budget

revenues: 4.382 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 4.314 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

101% of GDP (2017 est.)

113.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 16

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Current account balance

-$298 million (2019 est.)

-$288 million (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 107

Exports

$5.92 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$5.79 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 121

Exports - partners

United States 32%, Netherlands 11%, Germany 9%, Canada 7%, Iceland 7% (2019)

Exports - commodities

bauxite, refined petroleum, aluminum, rum, fruits, nuts (2019)

Imports

$8.25 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$7.89 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 117

Imports - partners

United States 43%, China 11% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cars, crude petroleum, natural gas, packaged medicines (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$3.781 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$2.719 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 100

Debt - external

$13.876 billion (2019 est.)

$13.912 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 104

Exchange rates

Jamaican dollars (JMD) per US dollar -

128.36 (2017 est.)

125.14 (2016 est.)

125.126 (2015 est.)

116.898 (2014 est.)

110.935 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 99% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 100% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 97% (2019)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 1.216 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 3,050,780,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 1.149 billion kWh (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 87.5% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 1.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 6.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 4% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 61,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 82,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 3,000 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 61,100 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 20,100 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 693.422 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 667.115 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

10.002 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 177,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 9.276 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 549,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 106

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 436,249 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 15 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 98

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 2,873,259 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 97 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 141

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Jamaica’s telecom sector has for many years been propped up by the mobile sector, which accounts for the vast majority of internet connections and voice lines; it also accounts for just over half of telecom sector revenue; in December 2020, the government announced the rollout of a national broadband network costing up to $237 million; the funding will be spent on improving connectivity in under served areas, improving access to education, and deploying networks to public locations such as hospitals, municipal institutions, and police stations; to aid in this national broadband effort, the government received a donation of 650km of fiber cabling from local cable TV providers and the two main toll road operators; to encourage the use of digital channels as the country deals with the Covid-19 pandemic (2021)

domestic: fixed-line subscriptions nearly 15 per 100, cellular-mobile roughly 97 per 100 subscriptions (2020)

international: country code - 1-876 and 1-658; landing points for the ALBA-1, CFX-1, Fibralink, East-West, and Cayman-Jamaican Fiber System submarine cables providing connections to South America, parts of the Caribbean, Central America and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced a downturn, particularly in mobile device production; progress toward 5G implementation has resumed, as well as upgrades to infrastructure; consumer spending on telecom services has increased due to the surge in demand for capacity and bandwidth; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home is still evident, and the spike in this area has seen growth opportunities for development of new tools and increased services

Broadcast media

3 free-to-air TV stations, subscription cable services, and roughly 30 radio stations (2019)

Internet users

total: 1,621,552 (2019 est.)

percent of population: 55% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 134

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 385,603 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 99

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 0 (2020)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 11

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 4

under 914 m: 5 (2021)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 17

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 16 (2021)

Roadways

total: 22,121 km (2011) (includes 44 km of expressways)

paved: 16,148 km (2011)

unpaved: 5,973 km (2011)

country comparison to the world: 109

Merchant marine

total: 43

by type: bulk carrier 1, container ship 5, general cargo 9, oil tanker 1, other 27 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 122

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Discovery Bay (Port Rhoades), Kingston, Montego Bay, Port Antonio, Port Esquivel, Port Kaiser, Rocky Point

container port(s) (TEUs): Kingston (1,647,609) (2019)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Jamaica Defense Force (JDF): Jamaica Regiment (Ground Forces), Maritime-Air-Cyber Command (includes Coast Guard, Air Wing, Military Intelligence Unit, Special Activities Regiment, and Military Cyber Corps), Support Brigade (logistics, engineers, health service, and military police); Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC); Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) (2022)

note: the JNSC is a third category of service that military recruits can join as a preparatory phase for future careers; JNSC soldiers receive basic military, vocational, and life skills training; upon completion of 12 months of service, soldiers can continue on with the JDF or the JDF reserves or seek  opportunities in other public sector entities such as the JCF, the Department of Correctional Services, the Jamaica Fire Brigade, the Jamaica Customs Agency, or the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency

Military expenditures

1.4% of GDP (2021 est.)

1.7% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.6% of GDP (2019 est.) (approximately $300 million)

1.4% of GDP (2018 est.) (approximately $260 million)

1% of GDP (2017 est.) (approximately $190 million)

country comparison to the world: 99

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 4,000 active duty personnel (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the JDF is lightly armed with a limited inventory featuring equipment mostly from Europe and the US (2022)

Military service age and obligation

no conscription; 18-23 for voluntary military service (17 with parental consent); 18-28 for the reserves; since 2017, the JDF's standard mode of recruitment is to enroll recruits ages 18-23 through the Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC); in the JNSC, soldiers receive basic military, vocational, and life skills training; upon completion of 12 months of service, soldiers can continue on with the JDF or seek other opportunities with other government agencies (2022)

Military - note

as of 2022, the JDF’s primary missions were maritime/border and internal security, including support to police operations in combating crime and violence

Transnational Issues

Illicit drugs

the largest Caribbean source of marijuana which is trafficked to other Caribbean countries for illegal weapons and other contraband; transit point for cocaine trafficked from South America to North America and other international markets