Jamaica Population: 2,909,714


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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: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Blue Mountain Peak 2,256 m
Natural resources: bauxite, gypsum, limestone
Land use: arable land: 10.92%
permanent crops: 9.1%
other: 79.98% (2011)
Irrigated land: 252.2 sq km (2003)
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 91.2%, mixed 6.2%, other or unknown 2.6% (2001 census)
Languages: English, English patois
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)
Population: 2,909,714 (July 2013 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 29% (male 428,643/female 414,348)
15-24 years: 21.8% (male 318,132/female 315,945)
25-54 years: 36% (male 514,172/female 532,094)
55-64 years: 5.5% (male 78,510/female 82,565)
65 years and over: 7.7% (male 100,820/female 124,485) (2013 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 54 %
youth dependency ratio: 41.8 %
elderly dependency ratio: 12.2 %
potential support ratio: 8.2 (2013)
Median age: total: 24.6 years
male: 24.1 years
female: 25.2 years (2013 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.7% (2013 est.)
Birth rate: 18.65 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Death rate: 6.63 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Net migration rate: -4.99 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 52% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 0.6% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: KINGSTON (capital) 580,000 (2009)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2013 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: 110 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Infant mortality rate: total: 13.98 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 14.55 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.38 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 73.44 years
male: 71.81 years
female: 75.15 years (2013 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.09 children born/woman (2013 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 69% (2002/03)
Health expenditures: 4.8% of GDP (2010)
Physicians density: 0.85 physicians/1,000 population (2003)
Hospital bed density: 1.9 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 98% of population
rural: 88% of population
total: 93% of population

urban: 2% of population
rural: 12% of population
total: 7% of population (2010 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 78% of population
rural: 82% of population
total: 80% of population

urban: 22% of population
rural: 18% of population
total: 20% of population (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 1.7% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 32,000 (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 1,200 (2009 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 24.1% (2008)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 1.9% (2007)
Education expenditures: 6.4% of GDP (2010)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 87%
male: 82.1%
female: 91.8% (2011 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 12.9 years (2010)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 30.1%
male: 23.9%
female: 37.9% (2011)
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Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Jamaica
Government type: constitutional parliamentary democracy and 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: Independence Day, 6 August (1962)
Constitution: 6 August 1962
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 Portia SIMPSON-MILLER (since 5 January 2012)

cabinet: Cabinet is appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister (For more information visit the World Leaders website )

elections: 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 the leader of the majority coalition in the House of Representatives is appointed prime minister by the governor general
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 (63 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-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 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 Jamicia's highest courts are submitted 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 (black religious/racial cultists, pan-Africanists)
National symbol(s): green-and-black streamertail (bird)
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 Stephen VASCIANNIE
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 Pamela E. BRIDGEWATER
embassy: 142 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6
mailing address: P.O. Box 541, Kingston 5
telephone: [1] (876) 702-6000
FAX: [1] (876) 702-6001
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The Jamaican economy is heavily dependent on services, which accounted for more than 60% of GDP at the end of 2011. The country continues to derive most of its foreign exchange from tourism, remittances, and bauxite/alumina. Remittances account for nearly 15% of GDP and exports of bauxite and alumina make up roughly 5%. The bauxite/alumina sector was most affected by the global downturn while the tourism industry was resilient. Tourism revenues account for roughly 5% of GDP in 2011. Jamaica's economy faces many challenges to growth: high crime and corruption, large-scale unemployment and underemployment, and a debt-to-GDP ratio of nearly 130%. Jamaica's onerous public debt burden is the result of government bailouts to ailing sectors of the economy, most notably to the financial sector. In early 2010, the Jamaican Government created the Jamaica Debt Exchange in order to retire high-priced domestic bonds and significantly reduce annual debt servicing. Despite the improvement, debt servicing costs still hinder the government''s ability to spend on infrastructure and social programs, particularly as job losses rise in a shrinking economy. Jamaica was hard hit by the effects of the global economic crisis, experiencing economic contractions from 2008-10 and growth remains low. The SIMPSON-MILLER administration faces the difficult prospect of having to achieve fiscal discipline in order 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 that is fueled by the drug trade. As of late 2012, the SIMPSON-MILLER government was working to negotiate a new IMF Stand-by agreement to gain access to additional funds.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $25.62 billion (2012 est.) $25.6 billion (2011 est.) $25.22 billion (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $15.25 billion (2012 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 0.1% (2012 est.) 1.5% (2011 est.) -1.4% (2010 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $9,300 (2012 est.) $9,300 (2011 est.) $9,200 (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars
Gross national saving: 8.4% of GDP (2012 est.) 7% of GDP (2011 est.) 13.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 86.2%
government consumption: 15.9%
investment in fixed capital: 20.7%
investment in inventories: 0.5%
exports of goods and services: 33.3%
imports of goods and services: -56.5% (2012 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 86.2%
government consumption: 15.9%
investment in fixed capital: 20.7%
investment in inventories: 0.5%
exports of goods and services: 33.3%
imports of goods and services: -56.5% (2012 est.)
Agriculture - products: sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, yams, ackees, vegetables; poultry, goats, milk; shellfish
Industries: tourism, bauxite/alumina, agro-processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products, telecommunications
Industrial production growth rate: -2.4% (2012 est.)
Labor force: 1.255 million (2012 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 17%
industry: 19%
services: 64% (2006)
Unemployment rate: 14.3% (2012 est.) 14.1% (2011 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: $3.884 billion
expenditures: $4.499 billion (2012 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 25.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
Public debt: 134.2% of GDP (2012 est.) 131.6% of GDP (2011 est.)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6.9% (2012 est.) 7.5% (2011 est.)
Current account balance: -$1.523 billion (2012 est.) -$1.723 billion (2011 est.)
Exports: $1.747 billion (2012 est.) $1.666 billion (2011 est.)
Exports - commodities: alumina, bauxite, sugar, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals, wearing apparel, mineral fuels
Exports - partners: US 38.7%, Russia 8.1%, Canada 7.8%, Slovenia 5.6% (2012)
Imports: $5.905 billion (2012 est.) $5.881 billion (2011 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 30.1%, Venezuela 14.8%, Trinidad and Tobago 14.4%, China 11.9% (2012)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $1.981 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $2.282 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Debt - external: $14 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $14.35 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $7.223 billion (31 December 2011) $6.626 billion (31 December 2010) $6.201 billion (31 December 2009)
Exchange rates: Jamaican dollars (JMD) per US dollar - 88.751 (2012 est.) 85.893 (2011 est.) 87.196 (2010 est.) 87.89 (2009) 72.236 (2008)
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Electricity - production: 5.208 billion kWh (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 117
Electricity - consumption: 4.801 billion kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 1.198 million kW (2009 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 93.5% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 1.8% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 4.7% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 23,780 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 22,790 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 78,520 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 9,145 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 68,410 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2012 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 9.217 million Mt (2010 est.)
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Telephones in use: 272,100 (2011)
country comparison to the world: 123
Cellular Phones in use: 2.975 million (2011)
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 mobile-cellular teledensity exceeded 110 per 100 persons in 2011

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 provides seamless connectivity to US, parts of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2010)
Broadcast media: privately owned Radio Jamaica Limited and its subsidiaries operate multiple TV stations, subscription cable services, and radio stations; 2 other privately owned television stations; roughly 70 radio stations (2007)
Internet country code: .jm
Internet hosts: 3,906 (2012)
Internet users: 1.581 million (2009)
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Airports: 28 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 123
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) (2005)
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: Discovery Bay (Port Rhoades), Kingston, Montego Bay, Port Antonio, Port Esquivel, Port Kaiser, Rocky Point
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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)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 726,263
females age 16-49: 742,958 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 590,673
females age 16-49: 596,414 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 33,369
female: 32,702 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures: 0.9% of GDP (2012)
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 Transnational Issues
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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