Photos of Jamaica

Astronaut photo of Kingston, Jamaica's capital city, taken from the International Space Station. Image courtesy of NASA.



Europeans first saw Jamaica when Christopher COLUMBUS arrived in 1494, and the Spanish settled the island early in the 16th century. The Native Taino, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated and replaced with 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 recurring 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, 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.



Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba

Geographic coordinates

18 15 N, 77 30 W

Map references

Central America and the Caribbean


total: 10,991 sq km

land: 10,831 sq km

water: 160 sq km

comparison ranking: total 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


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


tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior


mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain


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


total: 2,823,713

male: 1,397,495

female: 1,426,218 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 140; male 141; total 140


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.)


English, Jamaican patois


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: 23.8% (male 342,691/female 329,773)

15-64 years: 65.7% (male 914,364/female 941,816)

65 years and over: 10.4% (2024 est.) (male 140,440/female 154,629)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 38

youth dependency ratio: 28

elderly dependency ratio: 13.4

potential support ratio: 7.4 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 30.9 years (2024 est.)

male: 30.1 years

female: 31.7 years

comparison ranking: total 130

Population growth rate

0.1% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 185

Birth rate

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

comparison ranking: 105

Death rate

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

comparison ranking: 100

Net migration rate

-7.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 217

Population distribution

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


urban population: 57.4% of total population (2023)

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

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

Major urban areas - population

597,000 KINGSTON (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

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

15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

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

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2024 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

99 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 69

Infant mortality rate

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

male: 11.9 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 9.4 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 129

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 76.3 years (2024 est.)

male: 74.5 years

female: 78.1 years

comparison ranking: total population 111

Total fertility rate

2.05 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 98

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

6.6% of GDP (2020)

Physician 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.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

24.7% (2016)

comparison ranking: 55

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.)

comparison ranking: total 104

Tobacco use

total: 9.4% (2020 est.)

male: 15% (2020 est.)

female: 3.8% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 137

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

2.5% (2018/19)

comparison ranking: 96

Education expenditures

6% of GDP (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 43


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)


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


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.)


urban population: 57.4% of total population (2023)

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

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

Revenue from forest resources

0.15% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 102

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 94

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 14.83 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 8.23 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 1.08 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

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

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 140 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 1.1 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 110 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

10.82 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)


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


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


6 August 1962 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 6 August (1962)


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; note - in mid-July 2024 Jamaica’s Constitutional Reform Committee submitted its report on recommendations for reform of the constitution and awaiting debate in Parliament

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 by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

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


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

note: the Jamaican Government, in May 2023, announced plans to hold a referendum in 2024 to determine whether or not to remain in the Commonwealth or become a republic

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 - men 13, women 8, percentage 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 - men 45, women 14; percentage women 23.7%; note - total Parliament percentage women 27.5%

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


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:

Jamaican Embassy (

consulate(s) general: Miami, New York

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

FAX: (876) 702-6348

email address and website:

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


Economic overview

upper middle-income Caribbean island economy; ongoing debt restructuring; hurricane-vulnerable economy; high crime, youth unemployment, and poverty; susceptible to commodity shocks from ongoing Russia invasion of Ukraine

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$28.579 billion (2022 est.)
$27.161 billion (2021 est.)
$25.966 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 145

Real GDP growth rate

5.22% (2022 est.)
4.6% (2021 est.)
-9.92% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 70

Real GDP per capita

$10,100 (2022 est.)
$9,600 (2021 est.)
$9,200 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 142

GDP (official exchange rate)

$17.098 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

10.35% (2022 est.)
5.86% (2021 est.)
5.23% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 162

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B+ (2019)

Moody's rating: B2 (2019)

Standard & Poors rating: B+ (2019)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 7% (2017 est.)

industry: 21.1% (2017 est.)

services: 71.9% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 62; industry 139; agriculture 110

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

sugarcane, yams, goat milk, chicken, coconuts, oranges, bananas, pumpkins/squash, plantains, sweet potatoes (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage


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

Industrial production growth rate

-0.38% (2022 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 169

Labor force

1.517 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 133

Unemployment rate

5.5% (2022 est.)
6.16% (2021 est.)
6.5% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 107

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 26.1% (2021 est.)

male: 22.1%

female: 31.4%

comparison ranking: total 58

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.6%

highest 10%: 29.3% (2015)


21.57% of GDP (2022 est.)
25.29% of GDP (2021 est.)
22.2% of GDP (2020 est.)

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


revenues: $4.029 billion (2020 est.)

expenditures: $4.564 billion (2020 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

0.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 37

Public debt

106.28% of GDP (2020 est.)
92.25% of GDP (2019 est.)
102.46% of GDP (2017 est.)

note: central government debt as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 18

Taxes and other revenues

25.71% (of GDP) (2020 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 46

Current account balance

-$129.756 million (2022 est.)
$149.262 million (2021 est.)
-$156.91 million (2020 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 85


$6.424 billion (2022 est.)
$4.401 billion (2021 est.)
$3.249 billion (2020 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 128

Exports - partners

US 57%, Russia 5%, Canada 4%, UK 4%, Iceland 2% (2022)

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

Exports - commodities

refined petroleum, natural gas, aluminum oxide, liquor, aluminum ore (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars


$9.726 billion (2022 est.)
$7.405 billion (2021 est.)
$5.913 billion (2020 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 125

Imports - partners

US 36%, China 12%, Trinidad and Tobago 6%, Brazil 5%, Turkey 4% (2022)

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

Imports - commodities

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

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$4.52 billion (2022 est.)
$4.838 billion (2021 est.)
$3.938 billion (2020 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 106

Debt - external

$13.876 billion (2019 est.)
$13.912 billion (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 104

Exchange rates

Jamaican dollars (JMD) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
153.427 (2022 est.)
150.79 (2021 est.)
142.403 (2020 est.)
133.312 (2019 est.)
128.872 (2018 est.)


Electricity access

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


installed generating capacity: 1.222 million kW (2022 est.)

consumption: 3.367 billion kWh (2022 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 1.212 billion kWh (2022 est.)

comparison rankings: transmission/distribution losses 106; consumption 138; installed generating capacity 132

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 86.6% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

solar: 3% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

wind: 6.1% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

hydroelectricity: 3.1% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

biomass and waste: 1.2% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)


consumption: 65,000 metric tons (2022 est.)

exports: 100 metric tons (2022 est.)

imports: 65,000 metric tons (2022 est.)


total petroleum production: 3,000 bbl/day (2023 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 49,000 bbl/day (2022 est.)

Natural gas

consumption: 664.834 million cubic meters (2022 est.)

imports: 664.834 million cubic meters (2022 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

8.86 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 147,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 7.411 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 1.302 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 110

Energy consumption per capita

46.586 million Btu/person (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: 97


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 447,000 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 16 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 98

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 3.003 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 106 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 140

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 17 per 100, cellular-mobile roughly 103 per 100 subscriptions (2021)

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)

Broadcast media

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

Internet users

total: 2.296 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 82% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 131

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 385,603 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 99


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 0 (2020)


20 (2024)

comparison ranking: 135


2 (2024)


total: 25,595 km (2017)

comparison ranking: total 105

Merchant marine

total: 40 (2023)

by type: bulk carrier 1, general cargo 11, oil tanker 1, other 27

comparison ranking: total 125


total ports: 11 (2024)

large: 0

medium: 1

small: 2

very small: 8

ports with oil terminals: 5

key ports: Falmouth, Kingston, Lucea, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, Port Esquivel, Port Kaiser, Rio Bueno, Rocky Point, Savannah la Mar

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) (2024)

note 1: the JCF is the country’s police force; it has primary responsibility for internal security and has units for community policing, special response, intelligence gathering, and internal affairs; both it and the JDF are under the Ministry of National Security 

note 2:
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

1.2% of GDP (2023 est.)
1.3% of GDP (2022 est.)
1.4% of GDP (2021 est.)
1.7% of GDP (2020 est.)
1.6% of GDP (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 114

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 5,000 personnel (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the JDF is lightly armed with a limited inventory featuring equipment mostly from Europe and the US (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-23 for voluntary military service (17 with parental consent) for men and women; 18-28 for the reserves; no conscription; since 2017, the JDF's standard mode of recruitment is to enroll recruits ages 18-23 through the Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC), which has a service requirement of 12 months (2024)

note: as of 2022, women made up about 20% of the JDF's uniformed personnel

Military - note

in addition to its responsibility of defending against external aggression, the JDF's primary missions are border, internal, and maritime security, including support to police operations in combating crime and violence; other missions include search and rescue, disaster response, humanitarian assistance, and peacekeeping; it has arrest authority and partners with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); both the JDF and JCF are under the Ministry of National Security, which directs policy for the security forces; the JDF participates in bilateral and multinational training exercises, including with the militaries of Canada, the UK, the US, and other Caribbean nations 

while Jamaica had a militia force as early as the 1660s, the JDF was constituted in 1962 from the West India Regiment (WIR), a British colonial regiment which dates back to 1795 (2023)

Transnational Issues

Illicit drugs

Jamaica is the largest Caribbean source of marijuana and a transit point for cocaine trafficked from South America to North America and other international markets; criminal gangs in Jamaica, Haiti, and Central America use marijuana for currency to obtain guns or other contraband from criminal entities in Haiti and Central America