Jamaica

Country Summary

2022 population pyramid

Introduction

Background

The island - discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. England seized the island in 1655 and established a plantation economy based on sugar, cocoa, and coffee. Jamaica gained full independence in 1962.

Geography

Area

total: 10,991 sq km

land: 10,831 sq km

water: 160 sq km

Climate

tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior

Natural resources

bauxite, alumina, gypsum, limestone

People and Society

Population

2,818,596 (2022 est.)

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.)

Population growth rate

0.08% (2022 est.)

Government

Government type

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

Capital

name: Kingston

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Patrick L. ALLEN (since 26 February 2009)

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

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)

Economy

Economic overview

upper middle-income Caribbean island economy; prior to COVID-19 disruption, declining public debt and unemployment; environmentally fragile economy due to hurricanes and rising sea levels; persistently high crime, youth unemployment, and poverty

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$25.89 billion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$8,700 (2020 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

Exports

$5.92 billion (2019 est.)

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.)

Imports - partners

United States 43%, China 11% (2019)

Imports - commodities

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


Page last updated: Thursday, May 12, 2022