Jamaica Population: 2,970,340


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The island - discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated and replaced by African slaves. England seized the island in 1655 and established a plantation economy based on sugar, cocoa, and coffee. The abolition of slavery in 1834 freed a quarter million slaves, many of whom became small farmers. Jamaica gradually increased its independence from Britain. 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. Violent crime, drug trafficking, and poverty pose significant challenges to the government today. Nonetheless, many rural and resort areas remain relatively safe and contribute substantially to the economy.

Strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for the Panama Canal
Location: Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba
Geographic coordinates: 18 15 N, 77 30 W
Area: total: 10,991 sq km
land: 10,831 sq km
water: 160 sq km

Size comparison: 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:
Natural resources: bauxite, gypsum, limestone
Land use: agricultural land: 41.4% arable land 11.1%; permanent crops 9.2%; permanent pasture 21.1% forest: 31.1%
other: 27.5% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 250 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: hurricanes (especially July to November)
Current Environment Issues: heavy rates of deforestation; coastal waters polluted by industrial waste, sewage, and oil spills; damage to coral reefs; air pollution in Kingston from vehicle emissions
International Environment 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
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Nationality: noun: Jamaican(s)
adjective: Jamaican
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: 2,970,340 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 27.56% (male 416,421/female 402,283)
15-24 years: 21.13% (male 315,190/female 312,362)
25-54 years: 37.59% (male 551,384/female 565,279)
55-64 years: 5.78% (male 82,754/female 88,786)
65 years and over: 7.94% (male 105,593/female 130,288) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 48.6%
youth dependency ratio: 35%
elderly dependency ratio: 13.6%
potential support ratio: 7.4% (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 25.6 years
male: 25.1 years
female: 26.1 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.68% (2016 est.)
Birth rate: 18 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate: 6.7 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate: -4.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 54.8% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 0.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: KINGSTON (capital) 588,000 (2015)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth: 21.2 note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2008 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 89 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 13.1 deaths/1,000 live births male: 13.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 73.6 years male: 72 years
female: 75.3 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.99 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 72.5% (2008/09)
Health expenditures: 5.4% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density: 0.41 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
Hospital bed density: 1.7 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 97.5% of population
rural: 89.4% of population
total: 93.8% of population

urban: 2.5% of population
rural: 10.6% of population
total: 6.2% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 79.9% of population
rural: 84.1% of population
total: 81.8% of population

urban: 20.1% of population
rural: 15.9% of population
total: 18.2% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 1.63% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 29,000 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 1,200 (2015 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 26.8% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 2.5% (2012)
Education expenditures: 5.4% of GDP (2015)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 88.7%
male: 84%
female: 93.1% (2015 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 37.8% male: 30%
female: 48.1% (2013 est.)
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Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Jamaica
etymology: from the native Taino word "haymaca" meaning "land of wood and water" or possibly "land of springs"
Government type: parliamentary democracy (Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
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 the UK)
National holiday: Emancipation Day, 1 August (1834); Independence Day, 6 August (1962)
Constitution: several previous (preindependence); latest drafted 1961-62, submitted to British Parliament 24 July 1962, entered into force 6 August 1962 (at independence); amended many times, last in 2015 (2016)
Legal system: common law system based on the English model
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Dr. Patrick L. ALLEN (since 26 February 2009)

head of government: Prime Minister Andrew HOLNESS (since 3 March 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 on the recommendation of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition in the House of Representatives is appointed prime minister by the governor general
Legislative branch: description: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (21 seats; members appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister and the minority party leader, 13 seats allocated to the ruling party, and 8 seats allocated to the minority party; members serve 5-year terms) and the House of Representatives (63 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 29 December 2011 (next to be held no later than December 2016)

election results: percent of vote by party - PNP 53.3%, JLP 46.6%; seats by party - PNP 41, JLP 22
Judicial branch: highest resident court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of president of the court and a minimum of 4 judges; Supreme Court (40 judges organized in specialized divisions); note - appeals beyond Jamaica's highest courts are referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) rather than to the Caribbean Court of Justice (the appellate court implemented for member states of the Caribbean Community) judge selection and term of office: chief justice of the Supreme Court and president of the Court of Appeal appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the prime minister; other judges of both courts appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission; judges of both courts serve till age 70

subordinate courts: resident magistrate courts, district courts, and petty sessions courts
Political parties and leaders: Jamaica Labor Party or JLP [Andrew HOLNESS] 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
National symbol(s): green-and-black streamertail (bird), Guaiacum officinale (Guaiacwood); national colors: green, yellow, black
National anthem: name: "Jamaica, Land We Love"
lyrics/music: Hugh Braham SHERLOCK/Robert Charles LIGHTBOURNE

note: adopted 1962
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Ralph Samuel THOMAS (since 9 September 2015)
chancery: 1520 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 452-0660
FAX: [1] (202) 452-0036
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York consulate(s): Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Concord (MA), Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia (PA), Richmond (VA), San Francisco, Seattle
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Luis G. MORENO (since 13 January 2015)
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
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The Jamaican economy is heavily dependent on services, which accounts for more than 70% of GDP. The country continues to derive most of its foreign exchange from tourism, remittances, and bauxite/alumina. Remittances and tourism each account for 30% of GDP, while bauxite/alumina exports make up roughly 5% of GDP. The bauxite/alumina sector was most affected by the global downturn while the tourism industry and remittance flow remained resilient. Jamaica's economy faces many challenges to growth: high crime and corruption, large-scale unemployment and underemployment, and a debt-to-GDP ratio of about 130%. The attendant debt servicing cost consumes a large portion of the government's budget, limiting its ability to fund the critical infrastructure and social programs required to drive growth. Jamaica's economic growth rate in the recent past has been stagnant, averaging less than 1% per year for over 20 years. Jamaica's onerous public debt burden is largely the result of government bailouts to ailing sectors of the economy, most notably the financial sector. In early 2010, the Jamaican Government initiated the Jamaica Debt Exchange to retire high-priced domestic bonds and reduce annual debt servicing. Despite these efforts, debt continued to be a serious concern, forcing the government to negotiate and sign a new IMF agreement in May 2013 to gain access to approximately $1 billion in additional funds. As a precursor, the government instigated a second National Debt Exchange in 2012. The IMF deal requires the government to reform its tax system, eliminate discretionary tax exemptions and waivers, and achieve an annual surplus of 7.5%, excluding debt payments, to reduce its debt below 100% of GDP by 2020. The SIMPSON-MILLER administration now faces the difficult prospect of having to achieve fiscal discipline to maintain debt payments while simultaneously attacking a serious crime problem that is hampering economic growth. High unemployment exacerbates the crime problem, including gang violence, which is fueled by the drug trade.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $25.39 billion (2016 est.) $25.01 billion (2015 est.) $24.78 billion (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $13.78 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 1.5% (2016 est.) 0.9% (2015 est.) 0.5% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $9,000 (2016 est.) $8,900 (2015 est.) $8,900 (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving: 12.9% of GDP (2016 est.) 12% of GDP (2015 est.) 14.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 84.5%
government consumption: 14.8%
investment in fixed capital: 22.4%
investment in inventories: 0.5%
exports of goods and services: 33.9%
imports of goods and services: -56.1% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 84.5%
government consumption: 14.8%
investment in fixed capital: 22.4%
investment in inventories: 0.5%
exports of goods and services: 33.9%
imports of goods and services: -56.1% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - products: sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, yams, ackees, vegetables; poultry, goats, milk; shellfish
Industries: tourism, bauxite/alumina, agricultural-processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products, telecommunications
Industrial production growth rate: 1.7% (2016 est.)
Labor force: 1.312 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 17%
industry: 19%
services: 64% (2006)
Unemployment rate: 13.8% (2016 est.) 14% (2015 est.)
Population below poverty line: 16.5% (2009 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) 37.9 (2000)
Budget: revenues: $3.885 billion
expenditures: $4.033 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 28.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt: 130.1% of GDP (2016 est.) 126.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.5% (2016 est.) 3.7% (2015 est.)
Current account balance: -$456 million (2016 est.) -$484 million (2015 est.)
Exports: $1.278 billion (2016 est.) $1.261 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commodities: alumina, bauxite, sugar, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals, apparel, mineral fuels
Exports - partners: US 24.4%, Canada 16.5%, Russia 9.3%, Netherlands 8.9%, Iceland 7.2%, UK 6.5% (2015)
Imports: $3.772 billion (2016 est.) $4.414 billion (2015 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 32.6%, Venezuela 12.4%, China 12%, Trinidad and Tobago 11.1% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $2.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.) $2.914 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external: $16.76 billion (31 December 2016 est.) $16.49 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $6.39 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $7.223 billion (31 December 2011 est.) $6.626 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Exchange rates: Jamaican dollars (JMD) per US dollar - 125.2 (2016 est.) 116.898 (2015 est.) 116.898 (2014 est.) 110.935 (2013 est.) 88.75 (2012 est.)
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Electricity - production: 3.9 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 2.8 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 1 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 91.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 2.5% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 5.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 23,360 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)
Refined petroleum products - production: 23,630 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 53,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 4,526 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 33,970 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 13 million Mt (2013 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total: 3.137 million subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 106 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: fully automatic domestic telephone network

domestic: the 1999 agreement to open the market for telecommunications services resulted in rapid growth in mobile-cellular telephone usage while the number of fixed lines in use has declined; combined fixed-line and mobile cellular teledensity exceeds 110 per 100

international: country code - 1-876; the Fibralink submarine cable network provides enhanced delivery of business and broadband traffic and is linked to the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) submarine cable in the Dominican Republic; the link to ARCOS-1 pr (2015)
Broadcast media: 3 free-to-air TV stations, subscription cable services, and roughly 30 radio stations (2013)
Internet country code: .jm
Internet users: total: 1.274 million percent of population: 43.2% (July 2015 est.)
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Airports: 28 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 11

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 5 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 17

914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 16 (2013)
Roadways: total 22,121 km
(includes 44 km of expressways) paved: 16,148 km
unpaved: 5,973 km (2011)
Merchant marine: total 14

by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 5, container 4, roll on/roll off 1

foreign-owned: 14 (Denmark 1, Germany 10, Greece 3) (2010)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Discovery Bay (Port Rhoades), Kingston, Montego Bay, Port Antonio, Port Esquivel, Port Kaiser, Rocky Point container port(s) (TEUs): Kingston (1,724,928)
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Military branches: Jamaica Defense Force: Ground Forces, Coast Guard, Air Wing (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 17 1/2 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
Military expenditures: 0.86% of GDP (2012) 0.92% of GDP (2011) 0.86% of GDP (2010)
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 Transnational Issues
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
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