Photos of Saint Lucia

Introduction

Background

The island, with its fine natural harbor at Castries and burgeoning sugar industry, was contested between 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

country comparison to the world: 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)

Total renewable water resources

300 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

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

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

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

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), French patois

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: 19.24% (male 16,484/female 15,546)

15-24 years: 13.6% (male 11,475/female 11,165)

25-54 years: 42.83% (male 34,436/female 36,868)

55-64 years: 11.23% (male 8,624/female 10,075)

65 years and over: 13.1% (male 9,894/female 11,920) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 39.4

youth dependency ratio: 25

elderly dependency ratio: 14.4

potential support ratio: 7 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 36.9 years

male: 35.7 years

female: 38 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 75

Birth rate

12.27 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 156

Death rate

7.96 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 88

Net migration rate

-1.37 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 153

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: 18.9% of total population (2021)

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

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

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

25-54 years: 0.93 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.86 male(s)/female

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

total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

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

country comparison to the world: 67

Infant mortality rate

total: 12.23 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 11.44 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 13.07 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 119

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 78.71 years

male: 75.96 years

female: 81.62 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 66

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

0.64 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

1.3 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 95.6% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 99.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 4.4% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0.8% of population (2017 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 13 years

male: 13 years

female: 13 years (2019)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 37.2%

male: 39.6%

female: 34.3% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 17

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

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 21.22 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.41 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 0.27 megatons (2020 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 12.5 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 0 cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 30.4 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

300 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

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.)

Revenue from coal

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

country comparison to the world: 158

Urbanization

urban population: 18.9% of total population (2021)

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

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 77,616 tons (2015 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-looshya

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: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Neville CENAC (since 12 January 2018)

head of government: Prime Minister Allen CHASTANET (since 7 June 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; 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 Parliament consists of:
Senate (11 seats; 6 members appointed 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 (17 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

elections: Senate - last appointments on 12 July 2016 (next in 2021)
House of Assembly - last held on 6 June 2016 (next to be held in 2021)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 8, women 3, percent of women 27.3%
House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - UWP 54.8%, SLP 44.1%, other 1.1%; seats by party - UWP 11, SLP 6; composition - men 14, women 3, percent of women 17.6%; note - total Parliament percent of women 21.4%

Judicial branch

highest courts: 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

Lucian People's Movement or LPM [Therold PRUDENT]
Saint Lucia Labor Party or SLP [Philip J. PIERRE]
United Workers Party or UWP [Allen 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 Anton Edsel EDMUNDS (since 8 September 2017)

chancery: 1628 K Street NW, Suite 1250, Washington, DC 20006

telephone: [1] (202) 364-6792 through 6795

FAX: [1] (202) 364-6723

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

Economy

Economic overview

The island nation has been able to attract foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries. Tourism is Saint Lucia's main source of jobs and income - accounting for 65% of GDP - and the island's main source of foreign exchange earnings. The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean area. Crops such as bananas, mangos, and avocados continue to be grown for export, but St. Lucia's once solid banana industry has been devastated by strong competition.

Saint Lucia is vulnerable to a variety of external shocks, including volatile tourism receipts, natural disasters, and dependence on foreign oil. Furthermore, high public debt - 77% of GDP in 2012 - and high debt servicing obligations constrain the CHASTANET administration's ability to respond to adverse external shocks.

St. Lucia has experienced anemic growth since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008, largely because of a slowdown in tourism - airlines cut back on their routes to St. Lucia in 2012. Also, St. Lucia introduced a value added tax in 2012 of 15%, becoming the last country in the Eastern Caribbean to do so. In 2013, the government introduced a National Competitiveness and Productivity Council to address St. Lucia's high public wages and lack of productivity.

Real GDP growth rate

3% (2017 est.)

3.4% (2016 est.)

-0.9% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 100

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$2.823 billion (2019 est.)

$2.775 billion (2018 est.)

$2.704 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 192

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.686 billion (2017 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$15,449 (2019 est.)

$15,261 (2018 est.)

$14,946 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 108

Gross national saving

19.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

15.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

24.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 111

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2.9% (2017 est.)

industry: 14.2% (2017 est.)

services: 82.8% (2017 est.)

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.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 63.7 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 89.4 (2020)

Trading score: 73.9 (2020)

Enforcement score: 59.7 (2020)

Agricultural products

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

Industries

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

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 21.7%

industry: 24.7%

services: 53.6% (2002 est.)

Budget

revenues: 398.2 million (2017 est.)

expenditures: 392.8 million (2017 est.)

Public debt

70.7% of GDP (2017 est.)

69.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 49

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Current account balance

$21 million (2017 est.)

-$31 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 60

Exports

$185.1 million (2017 est.)

$188.2 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 193

Exports - partners

United States 29%, Uruguay 16%, Barbados 8%, Trinidad and Tobago 5.5%, United Kingdom 6%, Dominica 6%, Guyana 5%, France 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, beer, jewelry, bananas, refined petroleum, rum (2019)

Imports

$600 million (2017 est.)

$575.9 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 196

Imports - partners

Colombia 46%, United States 30%, Trinidad and Tobago 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, refined petroleum, cars, poultry meats, natural gas (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$321.8 million (31 December 2017 est.)

$320.7 million (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 166

Debt - external

$570.6 million (31 December 2017 est.)

$529 million (31 December 2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 176

Exchange rates

East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar -

2.7 (2017 est.)

2.7 (2016 est.)

2.7 (2015 est.)

2.7 (2014 est.)

2.7 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 99.5% (2018)

electrification - urban areas: 97.5% (2018)

electrification - rural areas: 99.9% (2018)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 33,285

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 20.05 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 169

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 168,797

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 101.68 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 187

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 20 per 100 persons and mobile-cellular teledensity is roughly 102 per 100 persons (2019)

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)

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 downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

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

Internet users

total: 84,112

percent of population: 50.82% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 180

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 32,265

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 19 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 143

Transportation

Airports - with paved runways

total: 2 (2019)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

Roadways

total: 1,210 km (2011)

paved: 847 km (2011)

unpaved: 363 km (2011)

country comparison to the world: 179

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 (includes Special Service Unit, Marine Unit) (2021)

Military - note

St. Lucia is a member of the Regional Security System (RSS), an international agreement for the defense and security of the eastern Caribbean region

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

joins other Caribbean states to counter Venezuela's claim that Aves Island sustains human habitation, a criterion under UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which permits Venezuela to extend its EEZ/continental shelf over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean Sea

Illicit drugs

transit point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe