Photos of Montserrat



English and Irish colonists from St. Kitts first settled on Montserrat in 1632; the first African slaves arrived three decades later. The British and French fought for possession of the island for most of the 18th century, but it finally was confirmed as a British possession in 1783. The island's sugar plantation economy was converted to small farm landholdings in the mid-19th century. Much of this island was devastated and two thirds of the population fled abroad because of the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano that began on 18 July 1995. Montserrat has endured volcanic activity since, with the last eruption occurring in 2013.

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



Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, southeast of Puerto Rico

Geographic coordinates

16 45 N, 62 12 W

Map references

Central America and the Caribbean


total: 102 sq km

land: 102 sq km

water: 0 sq km

comparison ranking: total 225

Area - comparative

about 0.6 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


tropical; little daily or seasonal temperature variation


volcanic island, mostly mountainous, with small coastal lowland


highest point: Soufriere Hills volcano pre-eruption height was 915 m; current lava dome is subject to periodic build up and collapse; estimated dome height was 1,050 m in 2015

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

Land use

agricultural land: 30% (2018 est.)

arable land: 20% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 10% (2018 est.)

forest: 25% (2018 est.)

other: 45% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2022)

Population distribution

only the northern half of the island is populated, the southern portion is uninhabitable due to volcanic activity

Natural hazards

volcanic eruptions; severe hurricanes (June to November)

volcanism: Soufriere Hills volcano (915 m), has erupted continuously since 1995; a massive eruption in 1997 destroyed most of the capital, Plymouth, and resulted in approximately half of the island becoming uninhabitable; the island of Montserrat is part of the volcanic island arc of the Lesser Antilles that extends from Saba in the north to Grenada in the south

Geography - note

the island is entirely volcanic in origin and comprised of three major volcanic centers of differing ages

People and Society


5,440 (2023 est.)

note: an estimated 8,000 refugees left the island following the resumption of volcanic activity in July 1995; some have returned

comparison ranking: 226


noun: Montserratian(s)

adjective: Montserratian

Ethnic groups

African/Black 86.2%, mixed 4.8%, Hispanic/Spanish 3%, Caucasian/White 2.7%, East Indian/Indian 1.6%, other 1.8% (2018 est.)




Protestant 71.4% (includes Anglican 17.7%, Pentecostal/Full Gospel 16.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 15%, Methodist 13.9%, Church of God 6.7%, other Protestant 2%), Roman Catholic 11.4%, Rastafarian 1.4%, Hindu 1.2%, Jehovah's Witness 1%, Muslim 0.4%, other/not stated 5.1%, none 7.9% (2018 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 15.92% (male 446/female 420)

15-64 years: 76.6% (male 2,051/female 2,116)

65 years and over: 7.48% (2023 est.) (male 217/female 190)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 43.9

youth dependency ratio: 19.2

elderly dependency ratio: 24.7

potential support ratio: 4 (2021)

Median age

total: 34.8 years (2020)

male: 34.1 years

female: 35.6 years

comparison ranking: total 88

Population growth rate

0.46% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 155

Birth rate

10.66 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 177

Death rate

6.07 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 153

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 86

Population distribution

only the northern half of the island is populated, the southern portion is uninhabitable due to volcanic activity


urban population: 9.3% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.94% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

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

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

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

65 years and over: 1.14 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 10.04 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 8.16 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 12.01 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 135

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 75.91 years (2023 est.)

male: 76.79 years

female: 74.99 years

comparison ranking: total population 119

Total fertility rate

1.32 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 219

Gross reproduction rate

0.64 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 98.1% of population

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 1.9% of population (2020 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: NA

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: NA

Education expenditures

5.4% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 62


total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 13 years

female: 15 years (2019)


Environment - current issues

land erosion occurs on slopes that have been cleared for cultivation


tropical; little daily or seasonal temperature variation

Land use

agricultural land: 30% (2018 est.)

arable land: 20% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 10% (2018 est.)

forest: 25% (2018 est.)

other: 45% (2018 est.)


urban population: 9.3% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.94% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

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


Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Montserrat

etymology: island named by explorer Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 after the Benedictine abbey Santa Maria de Montserrat, near Barcelona, Spain

Government type

parliamentary democracy; self-governing overseas territory of the UK

Dependency status

overseas territory of the UK


name: Plymouth; note - Plymouth was abandoned in 1997 because of volcanic activity; interim government buildings have been built at Brades Estate, the de facto capital, in the Carr's Bay/Little Bay vicinity at the northwest end of Montserrat

geographic coordinates: 16 42 N, 62 13 W

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

etymology: now entirely deserted because of volcanic activity, the city was originally named after Plymouth, England; de jure, Plymouth remains the capital city of Montserrat; it is therefore the only ghost town that serves as the capital of a political entity

Administrative divisions

3 parishes; Saint Anthony, Saint Georges, Saint Peter


none (overseas territory of the UK)

National holiday

Birthday of Queen ELIZABETH II, usually celebrated the Monday after the second Saturday in June (1926)


history: previous 1960; latest put into force 20 October 2010 (The Montserrat Constitution Order 2010)

amendments: amended 2011, 2020

Legal system

English common law


see United Kingdom


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022); represented by Governor Sarah TUCKER (since 6 April 2023)

head of government: Premier Easton TAYLOR-FARRELL (since 19 November 2019); note - effective with Constitution Order 2010, October 2010, the office of premier replaced the office of chief minister

cabinet: Executive Council consists of the governor, the premier, 3 other ministers, the attorney general, and the finance secretary

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party usually becomes premier

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Legislative Assembly (12 seats; 9 members directly elected in a single constituency by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds to serve 5-year terms; the speaker, normally elected from the outside by the Assembly for a 5-year term, and 2 ex-officio members - the attorney general and financial secretary)

elections: last held on 18 November 2019 (next to be held in 2024)

election results: percent of vote by party - MCAP 42.7%, PDM 29.9%, other 17.1%; seats by party - MCAP 5, PDM 3, independent 1; composition, including the speaker and 2 ex-officio members - men 8, women 4, percent of women 33.3%

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 1 assigned to Montserrat; Montserrat is also a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice

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, and 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: magistrate's court

Political parties and leaders

Movement for Change and Prosperity or MCAP [Easton Taylor FARRELL]
People's Democratic Movement or PDM [Paul LEWIS]

International organization participation

Caricom, CDB, Interpol (subbureau), OECS, UPU

Diplomatic representation in the US

none (overseas territory of the UK)

Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: none (overseas territory of the UK); alternate contact is the US Embassy in Barbados [1] (246) 227-4000; US Embassy Bridgetown, Wildey Business Park, St. Michael BB 14006, Barbados, WI

Flag description

blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Montserratian coat of arms centered in the outer half of the flag; the arms feature a woman in green dress, Erin, the female personification of Ireland, standing beside a yellow harp and embracing a large dark cross with her right arm; Erin and the harp are symbols of Ireland reflecting the territory's Irish ancestry; blue represents awareness, trustworthiness, determination, and righteousness

National anthem

note: as a territory of the UK, "God Save the King" is official (see United Kingdom)


Economic overview

formerly high-income economy; volcanic activity destroyed much of original infrastructure and economy; new capital and port is being developed; key geothermal and solar power generation; key music recording operations

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$167.4 million (2011 est.)
$155.9 million (2010 est.)
$162.7 million (2009 est.)

comparison ranking: 223

Real GDP growth rate

7.4% (2011 est.)
-4.2% (2010 est.)

comparison ranking: 52

Real GDP per capita

$34,000 (2011 est.)
$31,100 (2010 est.)
$32,300 (2009 est.)

comparison ranking: 62

GDP (official exchange rate)

$167.4 million (2011 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.2% (2017 est.)
-0.2% (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 194

Credit ratings

Standard & Poors rating: BBB- (2020)

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

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.9% (2017 est.)

industry: 7.8% (2017 est.)

services: 90.3% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 9; industry 210; agriculture 177

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 90.8% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 50.4% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 17.9% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -0.1% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 29.5% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -88.6% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

cabbages, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers; livestock products


tourism, rum, textiles, electronic appliances

Industrial production growth rate

-21% (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 206

Labor force

4,521 (2012)

comparison ranking: 222

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 1.4%

industry: 12.7%

services: 85.9% (2017 est.)

Unemployment rate

5.6% (2017 est.)
6% (1998 est.)

comparison ranking: 133


revenues: $66.67 million (2017 est.)

expenditures: $47.04 million (2017 est.)

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Current account balance

-$15.4 million (2017 est.)
-$12.2 million (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 82


$11.9 million (2021 est.)
$4.4 million (2017 est.)
$5.2 million (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 218

Exports - partners

Canada 48%, United States 14%, Belgium 14%, France 11%, Cost Rica 3% (2021)

Exports - commodities

iron products, needles and catheters, sand, dental filling pharmaceuticals, gravel (2021)


$15.3 million (2021 est.)
$39.44 million (2017 est.)
$36.1 million (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 224

Imports - partners

United States 47%, Trinidad and Tobago 19%, United Kingdom 9%, Barbados 3%, Japan 2% (2021)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, food preparations, cars, broadcasting equipment, poultry (2021)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$47.58 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$51.47 million (31 December 2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 192

Debt - external

$8.9 million (1997)

comparison ranking: 200

Exchange rates

East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
2.7 (2017 est.)
2.7 (2016 est.)
2.7 (2015 est.)
2.7 (2014 est.)
2.7 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)


installed generating capacity: 5,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 21.56 million kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 1 million kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: imports 127; exports 107; installed generating capacity 210; transmission/distribution losses 207; consumption 206

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 100% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

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

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

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

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


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 200 bbl/day (2019 est.)

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

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

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

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 141

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 147

Refined petroleum products - imports

406 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 207

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

33,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 33,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 213

Energy consumption per capita

0 Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 198


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 3,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 67 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 212

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 5,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 110 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 222

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: telecom market one of growth in Caribbean and fully digitalized; high dependency on tourism and offshore financial services; operators expand FttP (Fiber to Home) services; LTE launches and operators invest in mobile networks; effective competition in all sectors (2020)

domestic: fixed-line is 67 per 100 and mobile-cellular teledensity is 110 per 100 persons (2020)

international: country code - 1-664; landing point for the ECFS optic submarine cable with links to 14 other islands in the eastern Caribbean extending from the British Virgin Islands to Trinidad (2019)

Broadcast media

Radio Montserrat, a public radio broadcaster, transmits on 1 station and has a repeater transmission to a second station; repeater transmissions from the GEM Radio Network of Trinidad and Tobago provide another 2 radio stations; cable and satellite TV available (2007)

Internet users

total: 2,473 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 56.2% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 226

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 2,700 (2018 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 55 (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: total 196


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 3


1 (2021)

comparison ranking: total 218

Airports - with paved runways


note: paved runways have a concrete or asphalt surface but not all have facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control; the length of a runway required for aircraft to safely operate depends on a number of factors including the type of aircraft, the takeoff weight (including passengers, cargo, and fuel), engine types, flap settings, landing speed, elevation of the airport, and average maximum daily air temperature; paved runways can reach a length of 5,000 m (16,000 ft.), but the “typical” length of a commercial airline runway is between 2,500-4,000 m (8,000-13,000 ft.)


note: volcanic eruptions that began in 1995 destroyed most of the 227 km road system; a new road infrastructure has been built on the north end of the island

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Little Bay, Plymouth

Military and Security

Military and security forces

no regular military forces; Royal Montserrat Defense Force (ceremonial, civil defense duties), Montserrat Police Force

Military - note

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Transnational Issues

Illicit drugs

transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for the US and Europe