Photos of Saint Lucia

Introduction

Background

The island, with its fine natural harbor at Castries and burgeoning sugar industry, was contested by England and France throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries (changing possession 14 times); it was finally ceded to the UK in 1814 and became part of the British Windward Islands colony. Even after the abolition of slavery on its plantations in 1834, Saint Lucia remained an agricultural island, dedicated to producing tropical commodity crops. In the mid-20th century, Saint Lucia joined the West Indies Federation (1958–1962) and in 1967 became one of the six members of the West Indies Associated States, with internal self-government. In 1979, Saint Lucia gained full independence.

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

Geography

Location

Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago

Geographic coordinates

13 53 N, 60 58 W

Map references

Central America and the Caribbean

Area

total: 616 sq km

land: 606 sq km

water: 10 sq km

comparison ranking: total 192

Area - comparative

three and a half times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Coastline

158 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

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

Climate

tropical, moderated by northeast trade winds; dry season January to April, rainy season May to August

Terrain

volcanic and mountainous with broad, fertile valleys

Elevation

highest point: Mount Gimie 948 m

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

Natural resources

forests, sandy beaches, minerals (pumice), mineral springs, geothermal potential

Land use

agricultural land: 17.4% (2018 est.)

arable land: 4.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 11.5% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 1% (2018 est.)

forest: 77% (2018 est.)

other: 5.6% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

30 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

most of the population is found on the periphery of the island, with a larger concentration in the north around the capital of Castries

Natural hazards

hurricanes

volcanism: Mount Gimie (948 m), also known as Qualibou, is a caldera on the west of the island; the iconic twin pyramidal peaks of Gros Piton (771 m) and Petit Piton (743 m) are lava dome remnants associated with the Soufriere volcano; there have been no historical magmatic eruptions, but a minor steam eruption in 1766 spread a thin layer of ash over a wide area; Saint Lucia 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 twin Pitons (Gros Piton and Petit Piton), striking cone-shaped peaks south of Soufriere, are one of the scenic natural highlights of the Caribbean

People and Society

Population

167,591 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 186

Nationality

noun: Saint Lucian(s)

adjective: Saint Lucian

Ethnic groups

Black/African descent 85.3%, mixed 10.9%, East Indian 2.2%, other 1.6%, unspecified 0.1% (2010 est.)

Languages

English (official), Saint Lucian Creole

Religions

Roman Catholic 61.5%, Protestant 25.5% (includes Seventh Day Adventist 10.4%, Pentecostal 8.9%, Baptist 2.2%, Anglican 1.6%, Church of God 1.5%, other Protestant 0.9%), other Christian 3.4% (includes Evangelical 2.3% and Jehovah's Witness 1.1%), Rastafarian 1.9%, other 0.4%, none 5.9%, unspecified 1.4% (2010 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 18.23% (male 15,734/female 14,820)

15-64 years: 66.97% (male 54,354/female 57,880)

65 years and over: 14.8% (2023 est.) (male 11,257/female 13,546)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 37.7

youth dependency ratio: 25.2

elderly dependency ratio: 12.5

potential support ratio: 8 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 39 years (2023 est.)

male: 37.8 years

female: 40.2 years

comparison ranking: total 66

Population growth rate

0.27% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 171

Birth rate

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

comparison ranking: 155

Death rate

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

comparison ranking: 81

Net migration rate

-0.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 138

Population distribution

most of the population is found on the periphery of the island, with a larger concentration in the north around the capital of Castries

Urbanization

urban population: 19.2% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.98% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

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

Major urban areas - population

22,000 CASTRIES (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

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

15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female

total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

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

comparison ranking: 82

Infant mortality rate

total: 11.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 11 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 12.5 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 117

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 79.2 years (2023 est.)

male: 76.5 years

female: 82.1 years

comparison ranking: total population 64

Total fertility rate

1.72 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 158

Gross reproduction rate

0.84 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 99.4% of population

rural: 98.5% of population

total: 98.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.6% of population

rural: 1.5% of population

total: 1.3% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

6.7% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.64 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

1.3 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 97.6% of population

rural: 92.9% of population

total: 93.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.4% of population

rural: 7.1% of population

total: 6.2% of population (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

19.7% (2016)

comparison ranking: 111

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 9.3 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 3.21 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.4 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 5.1 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.6 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 31

Education expenditures

3.6% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 138

Literacy

total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 13 years

male: 12 years

female: 13 years (2020)

Environment

Environment - current issues

deforestation; soil erosion, particularly in the northern region

Environment - international agreements

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

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Climate

tropical, moderated by northeast trade winds; dry season January to April, rainy season May to August

Land use

agricultural land: 17.4% (2018 est.)

arable land: 4.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 11.5% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 1% (2018 est.)

forest: 77% (2018 est.)

other: 5.6% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 19.2% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.98% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

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

Revenue from forest resources

0.01% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 153

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 66

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 8.98 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.41 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 0.27 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 77,616 tons (2015 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 10 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 0 cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 30 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

300 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Saint Lucia

etymology: named after Saint LUCY of Syracuse by French sailors who were shipwrecked on the island on 13 December 1502, the saint's feast day; Saint Lucia is the only country named specifically after a woman

note: pronounced saynt-looshuh

Government type

parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm

Capital

name: Castries

geographic coordinates: 14 00 N, 61 00 W

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

etymology: in 1785, the village of Carenage was renamed Castries, after Charles Eugene Gabriel de La Croix de CASTRIES (1727-1801), who was then the French Minister of the Navy and Colonies

Administrative divisions

10 districts; Anse-la-Raye, Canaries, Castries, Choiseul, Dennery, Gros-Islet, Laborie, Micoud, Soufriere, Vieux-Fort

Independence

22 February 1979 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 22 February (1979)

Constitution

history: previous 1958, 1960 (preindependence); latest presented 20 December 1978, effective 22 February 1979

amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote by the House of Assembly membership in the final reading and assent of the governor general; passage of amendments to various constitutional sections, such as those on fundamental rights and freedoms, government finances, the judiciary, and procedures for amending the constitution, require at least three-quarters majority vote by the House and assent of the governor general; passage of amendments approved by the House but rejected by the Senate require a majority of votes cast in a referendum; amended several times, last in 2008

Legal system

English common law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Saint Lucia

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 8 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022); represented by Acting Governor General Errol CHARLES (since 11 November 2021)

head of government: Prime Minister Philip J. PIERRE (since 28 July 2021)

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; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by governor general; deputy prime minister appointed by governor general

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Houses of Parliament consists of:
Senate (11 seats; all members appointed by the governor general; 6 on the advice of the prime minister, 3 on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and 2 upon consultation with religious, economic, and social groups; members serve 5-year terms)
House of Assembly (18 seats; 17 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and the speaker, designated from outside the Parliament; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: Senate - last appointments on 17 August 2021 (next to be held in 2026)
House of Assembly - last held on 26 July 2021 (next to be held in 2026)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 6, women 5, percent of women 45.5%
House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - SLP 50.1%, UWP 42.9%, other o.3%, independent 6.6%; seats by party - SLP 13, UWP 2, independent 2; composition (including the speaker) - men 16, women 2, percent of women 11.1%; note - total Parliament percent of women 24.1%

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 4 on Saint Lucia; Saint Lucia is a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice

judge selection and term of office: chief justice of Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court appointed by Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, an 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

Saint Lucia Labor Party or SLP [Philip J. PIERRE]
United Workers Party or UWP [Allen M. CHASTANET]

International organization participation

ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CD, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OECS, OIF, OPANAL, OPCW, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Elizabeth DARIUS-CLARKE (since 7 June 2022)

chancery: 1629 K Street NW, Suite 1250, Washington, DC 20006

telephone: [1] (202) 364-6792

FAX: [1] (202) 364-6723

email address and website:
embassydc@gosl.gov.lc

https://www.embassyofstlucia.org/

consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: the US does not have an embassy in Saint Lucia; the US Ambassador to Barbados is accredited to Saint Lucia

Flag description

cerulean blue with a gold isosceles triangle below a black arrowhead; the upper edges of the arrowhead have a white border; the blue color represents the sky and sea, gold stands for sunshine and prosperity, and white and black the racial composition of the island (with the latter being dominant); the two major triangles invoke the twin Pitons (Gros Piton and Petit Piton), cone-shaped volcanic plugs that are a symbol of the island

National symbol(s)

twin pitons (volcanic peaks), Saint Lucia parrot; national colors: cerulean blue, gold, black, white

National anthem

name: "Sons and Daughters of St. Lucia"

lyrics/music: Charles JESSE/Leton Felix THOMAS

note: adopted 1967

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 1 (natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Pitons Management Area

Economy

Economic overview

upper middle-income, tourism-based Caribbean island economy; environmentally fragile; energy import-dependent; major banana producer; well-educated labor force; key infrastructure, IT, and communications investments

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$2.716 billion (2022 est.)
$2.344 billion (2021 est.)
$2.088 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 193

Real GDP growth rate

15.88% (2022 est.)
12.23% (2021 est.)
-24.36% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 5

Real GDP per capita

$15,100 (2022 est.)
$13,000 (2021 est.)
$11,700 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 110

GDP (official exchange rate)

$2.344 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

6.38% (2022 est.)
2.41% (2021 est.)
-1.76% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 101

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2.9% (2017 est.)

industry: 14.2% (2017 est.)

services: 82.8% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 26; industry 185; agriculture 153

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 66.1% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 11.2% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 16.9% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.1% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 62.7% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -56.9% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

bananas, coconuts, fruit, tropical fruit, plantains, roots/tubers, cassava, poultry, vegetables, mangoes/guavas

Industries

tourism; clothing, assembly of electronic components, beverages, corrugated cardboard boxes, lime processing, coconut processing

Industrial production growth rate

-0.41% (2022 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 171

Labor force

103,000 (2022 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 183

Unemployment rate

15.77% (2022 est.)
19.58% (2021 est.)
20.41% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 197

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 38.7% (2021 est.)

male: 41%

female: 36.2%

comparison ranking: total 17

Population below poverty line

25% (2016 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

51.2 (2016 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 10

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 0.9% NA

highest 10%: 38.6% (2016 est.) NA

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population

Remittances

2.36% of GDP (2022 est.)
3.23% of GDP (2021 est.)
3.51% of GDP (2020 est.)

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

Budget

revenues: $350 million (2020 est.)

expenditures: $516 million (2020 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

0.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 40

Public debt

70.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
69.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 53

Taxes and other revenues

18.24% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 102

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Current account balance

-$52.32 million (2022 est.)
-$129.365 million (2021 est.)
-$231.919 million (2020 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 79

Exports

$1.209 billion (2022 est.)
$710.431 million (2021 est.)
$452.444 million (2020 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 176

Exports - partners

Brazil 98% (2021)

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, fertilizers, refined petroleum, polymers, aluminum (2021)

Imports

$1.179 billion (2022 est.)
$815.666 million (2021 est.)
$666.968 million (2020 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 187

Imports - partners

Brazil 64%, United States 14%, Russia 8%, Colombia 7%, Trinidad and Tobago 2% (2021)

Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, poultry, sugar, refined petroleum, soybeans, beef, corn, wheat (2021)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$389.083 million (2022 est.)
$433.117 million (2021 est.)
$231.361 million (2020 est.)

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

comparison ranking: 174

Debt - external

$570.6 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$529 million (31 December 2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 176

Exchange rates

East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
2.7 (2022 est.)
2.7 (2021 est.)
2.7 (2020 est.)
2.7 (2019 est.)
2.7 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 92,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 322.506 million kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 27.568 million kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: imports 166; exports 155; installed generating capacity 184; transmission/distribution losses 35; consumption 179

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 99.1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

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

solar: 1% 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.)

Coal

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.)

Petroleum

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

refined petroleum consumption: 4,500 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: 154

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 155

Refined petroleum products - imports

3,113 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 184

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

659,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

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

from petroleum and other liquids: 659,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

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

comparison ranking: total emissions 184

Energy consumption per capita

50.872 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 100

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 14,182 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 8 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 183

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 170,000 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 96 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 186

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: an adequate system that is automatically switched; good interisland and international connections; broadband access; expanded FttP (Fiber to the Home) and LTE markets; regulatory development; telecom sector contributes to the overall GDP; telecom sector is a growth area (2020)

domestic: fixed-line teledensity is 8 per 100 persons and mobile-cellular teledensity is roughly 96 per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 1-758; landing points for the ECFS and Southern Caribbean Fiber submarine cables providing connectivity to numerous Caribbean islands; direct microwave radio relay link with Martinique and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; tropospheric scatter to Barbados (2019)

Broadcast media

3 privately owned TV stations; 1 public TV station operating on a cable network; multi-channel cable TV service available; a mix of state-owned and privately owned broadcasters operate nearly 25 radio stations including repeater transmission stations (2019)

Internet users

total: 140,400 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 78% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 183

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 33,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 18 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 149

Transportation

Airports

2 (2024)

comparison ranking: 205

Roadways

total: 1,210 km

paved: 847 km

unpaved: 363 km (2011)

comparison ranking: total 181

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Castries, Cul-de-Sac, Vieux-Fort

Military and Security

Military and security forces

no regular military forces; Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) (2024)

note: the RSLPF has responsibility for law enforcement and maintenance of order within the country; it is under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Justice, and National Security and includes a Special Service Unit and a Marine Unit

Military - note

Saint Lucia has been a member of the Caribbean Regional Security System (RSS) since its creation in 1982; RSS signatories (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Kitts, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) agreed to prepare contingency plans and assist one another, on request, in national emergencies, prevention of smuggling, search and rescue, immigration control, fishery protection, customs and excise control, maritime policing duties, protection of off-shore installations, pollution control, national and other disasters, and threats to national security (2024)

Transnational Issues

Illicit drugs

a transit point for cocaine and marijuana destined for North America, Europe, and elsewhere in the Caribbean; some local demand for cocaine and some use of synthetic drugs