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  Jamaica  
Flag of Jamaica
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This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


Map of Jamaica



Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Jamaica Top of Page
Background:

The island - discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino Indians, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated, replaced by African slaves. England seized the island in 1655 and a plantation economy - based on sugar, cocoa, and coffee - was established. The abolition of slavery in 1834 freed a quarter million slaves, many of whom became small farmers. Jamaica gradually obtained increasing independence from Britain, and in 1958 it joined other British Caribbean colonies in forming the Federation of the West Indies. Jamaica gained full independence when it withdrew from the Federation in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence as rival gangs affiliated with the major political parties evolved into powerful organized crime networks involved in international drug smuggling and money laundering. The cycle of violence, drugs, and poverty has served to impoverish large sectors of the populace. Nonetheless, many rural and resort areas remain relatively safe and contribute substantially to the economy.

 

  
   Geography    Jamaica Top of Page
Location:

Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba
Geographic coordinates:

18 15 N, 77 30 W
Map references:

Central America and the Caribbean
Area:

total: 10,991 sq km
land: 10,831 sq km
water: 160 sq km
Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than Connecticut
Land boundaries:

0 km
Coastline:

1,022 km
Maritime claims:

measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to edge of the continental margin
Climate:

tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior
Terrain:

mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain
Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Blue Mountain Peak 2,256 m
Natural resources:

bauxite, gypsum, limestone
Land use:

arable land: 15.83%
permanent crops: 10.01%
other: 74.16% (2005)
Irrigated land:

250 sq km (2002)
Natural hazards:

hurricanes (especially July to November)
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 results from vehicle emissions
Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:

strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for the Panama Canal
   People    Jamaica Top of Page
Population:

2,780,132 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:

0-14 years: 32.5% (male 459,968/female 444,963)
15-64 years: 60.1% (male 822,486/female 848,310)
65 years and over: 7.4% (male 91,856/female 112,549) (2007 est.)
Median age:

total: 23.2 years
male: 22.6 years
female: 23.7 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:

0.777% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:

20.44 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:

6.59 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:

-6.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.034 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.816 male(s)/female
total population: 0.978 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:

total: 15.73 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 16.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 15.01 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 73.12 years
male: 71.43 years
female: 74.9 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:

2.36 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

1.2% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

22,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:

900 (2003 est.)
Nationality:

noun: Jamaican(s)
adjective: Jamaican
Ethnic groups:

black 91.2%, mixed 6.2%, other or unknown 2.6% (2001 census)
Religions:

Protestant 62.5% (Seventh-Day Adventist 10.8%, Pentecostal 9.5%, Other Church of God 8.3%, Baptist 7.2%, New Testament Church of God 6.3%, Church of God in Jamaica 4.8%, Church of God of Prophecy 4.3%, Anglican 3.6%, other Christian 7.7%), Roman Catholic 2.6%, other or unspecified 14.2%, none 20.9%, (2001 census)
Languages:

English, English patois
Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 87.9%
male: 84.1%
female: 91.6% (2003 est.)
   Government    Jamaica Top of Page
Country name:

conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Jamaica
Government type:

constitutional parliamentary democracy
Capital:

name: Kingston
geographic coordinates: 18 00 N, 76 48 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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
Independence:

6 August 1962 (from UK)
National holiday:

Independence Day, 6 August (1962)
Constitution:

6 August 1962
Legal system:

based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:

18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Kenneth O. HALL (since 15 February 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Bruce GOLDING (since 11 September 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections: none; the monarch 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 the leader of the majority coalition in the House of Representatives is appointed prime minister by the governor general; the deputy prime minister is recommended by the prime minister
Legislative branch:

bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (a 21-member body appointed by the governor general on the recommendations of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition; ruling party is allocated 13 seats, and the opposition is allocated 8 seats) and the House of Representatives (60 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 3 September 2007 (next to be held no later than October 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - JLP 50.1%, PNP 49.8%; seats by party - JLP 33, PNP 27
Judicial branch:

Supreme Court (judges appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister); Court of Appeal
Political parties and leaders:

Jamaica Labor Party or JLP [Bruce GOLDING]; People's National Party or PNP [Portia SIMPSON-MILLER]; National Democratic Movement or NDM [Michael WILLIAMS]
Political pressure groups and leaders:

New Beginnings Movement or NBM; Rastafarians (black religious/racial cultists, pan-Africanists)
International organization participation:

ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-15, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Gordon SHIRLEY
chancery: 1520 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 452-0660
FAX: [1] (202) 452-0081
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Brenda LaGrange JOHNSON
embassy: 142 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6
mailing address: P.O. Box 541, Kingston 5
telephone: [1] (876) 702-6000
FAX: [1] (876) 702-6348
Flag description:

diagonal yellow cross divides the flag into four triangles - green (top and bottom) and black (hoist side and outer side)
   Economy    Jamaica Top of Page
Economy - overview:

The Jamaican economy is heavily dependent on services, which now account for more than 60% of GDP. The country continues to derive most of its foreign exchange from tourism, remittances, and bauxite/alumina. Jamaica's economy, already saddled with a record of sluggish growth, was hit hard by Hurricane Ivan in late 2004, but has made a gradual recovery. The economy faces serious long-term problems: high but declining interest rates, increased foreign competition, exchange rate instability, a sizable merchandise trade deficit, large-scale unemployment and underemployment, and a high debt burden - the result of government bailouts to ailing sectors of the economy, most notably the financial sector in the mid-to-late 1990s. Following a strategy begun in 2004, Jamaica has reduced its public debt to 133.3% of GDP. Inflation also had declined to 5.8% at the end of 2006. High unemployment exacerbates the serious crime problem, including gang violence fueled by the drug trade. The government faces the difficult prospect of having to achieve fiscal discipline in order to maintain debt payments while simultaneously attacking a serious and growing crime problem that is hampering economic growth.
GDP (purchasing power parity):

$12.84 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):

$9.23 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:

2.5% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):

$4,700 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 5.4%
industry: 33.8%
services: 60.8% (2006 est.)
Labor force:

1.249 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 18.1%
industry: 17.3%
services: 64.6% (2004)
Unemployment rate:

11.3% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:

14.8% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 35.8% (2004)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:

45.5 (2004)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):

8.6% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):

32.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budget:

revenues: $3.214 billion
expenditures: $3.772 billion; including capital expenditures of $180.4 million (2006 est.)
Public debt:

137.1% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:

sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, yams, ackees, vegetables; poultry, goats, milk; crustaceans, mollusks
Industries:

tourism, bauxite/alumina, agro processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products, telecommunications
Industrial production growth rate:

-2% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production:

6.985 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:

6.131 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:

72,080 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:

NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:

NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl
Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2005 est.)
Current account balance:

-$1.096 billion (2006 est.)
Exports:

$2.117 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:

alumina, bauxite, sugar, bananas, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals, wearing apparel, mineral fuels
Exports - partners:

US 30.2%, Canada 15.6%, China 15.2%, UK 10.3%, Netherlands 7%, Norway 4.6% (2006)
Imports:

$5.062 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:

food and other consumer goods, industrial supplies, fuel, parts and accessories of capital goods, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials
Imports - partners:

US 39.3%, Trinidad and Tobago 13.6%, Venezuela 9.5% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient:

$35.74 million (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$2.318 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:

$6.926 billion (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:

$12.28 billion (2006)
Currency (code):

Jamaican dollar (JMD)
Exchange rates:

Jamaican dollars per US dollar - 65.768 (2006), 62.51 (2005), 61.197 (2004), 57.741 (2003), 48.416 (2002)
Fiscal year:

1 April - 31 March
   Communications    Jamaica Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:

319,000 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:

2.804 million (2005)
Telephone system:

general assessment: fully automatic domestic telephone network
domestic: NA
international: country code - 1-876; 3 coaxial submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:

AM 10, FM 13, shortwave 0 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:

7 (1997)
Internet country code:

.jm
Internet hosts:

1,213 (2007)
Internet users:

1.232 million (2005)
   Transportation    Jamaica Top of Page
Airports:

34 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:

total: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 5 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 23
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 21 (2007)
Roadways:

total: 20,996 km
paved: 15,386 km (includes 33 km of expressways)
unpaved: 5,610 km (2004)
Merchant marine:

total: 13 ships (1000 GRT or over) 161,700 GRT/241,663 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 6, cargo 2, carrier 1, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 3
foreign-owned: 12 (Denmark 1, Germany 1, Greece 8, Latvia 2)
registered in other countries: 1 (Panama 1) (2007)
Ports and terminals:

Kingston, Port Esquivel, Port Kaiser, Port Rhoades, Rocky Point
   Military    Jamaica Top of Page
Military branches:

Jamaica Defense Force: Ground Forces, Coast Guard, Air Wing (2007)
Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for voluntary military service; younger recruits may be conscripted with parental consent (2001)
Manpower available for military service:

males age 18-49: 592,018
females age 18-49: 616,500 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:

males age 18-49: 478,761
females age 18-49: 504,541 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:

males age 18-49: 27,923
females age 18-49: 27,889 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:

0.6% (2006 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Jamaica Top of Page
Disputes - international:

none
Illicit drugs:

transshipment point for cocaine from South America to North America and Europe; illicit cultivation and consumption of cannabis; government has an active manual cannabis eradication program; corruption is a major concern; substantial money-laundering activity; Colombian narcotics traffickers favor Jamaica for illicit financial transactions

This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


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