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Jamaica Flag

Country Profile

Capital City: Kingston (pop. 628 000)

Other Cities:
Montego Bay (pop. 97 000) Montego Bay City visitors guide. Negril Negril visitors guide.

Local Time: UTC -5h

Jamaica is the third largest of the Caribbean islands, situated 90 miles south of Cuba, 600 miles south of Florida, USA, and 100 miles south-west of Haiti.
Location: Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba.
Area: ~11 000 sq. km.
Terrain: Mountainous, less than one-fifth of the land is relatively flat.

Climate: Jamaica's climate is tropical marine. The mountainous terrain, the north-east trade winds and land-sea breezes modify the climate.

Type: Constitutional parliamentary democracy.
Independence: 6 August 1962 (from the UK)
At Independence, Jamaica became a member of the Commonwealth, with Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State. The Queen is represented in Jamaica by the Governor-General.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Jamaican(s).
Population: (2000): 2.65 million.
Ethnic Groups: multi-ethnic society, with blacks predominating - 90.9%, East Indian 1.3%, Chinese 0.2%, White 0.2%, mixed 7.3%, other 0.1%.
Religions: Anglican, Baptist and other Protestant, Roman Catholic, Rastafarian, Jewish.
Languages: English (official), most Jamaicans speak an English-based dialect which is known as patois. Literacy: 80%


Currency: Jamaican Dollar (JMD)

Natural resources: Bauxite, gypsum, limestone.

Agriculture products: Sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, yams, vegetables, poultry, goats, milk, crustaceans, and mollusks.

Industries: Tourism, bauxite/alumina, textiles, agro processing, wearing apparel, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products, telecommunications.

Exports partners:
USA 29.6%, UK 11%, Canada 10.8%, France 7.9%, Norway 6.8%, Germany 6.2%, China 6%, Netherlands 4.4% (2003)

Imports partners: USA 39.8%, Trinidad and Tobago 9.7%, Germany 5.6%, Venezuela 4.5%, France 4.5%, Japan 4.2% (2003)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Jamaica

Government of Jamaica

Jamaica Houses of Parliament

Jamaica Information Service

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

Jamaican High Commission

Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the United Nations

Jamaican Embassies and High Commissions Overseas

Diplomatic Representation in Jamaica

Statistical Institute of Jamaica

Map of Jamaica

Map of Central America and the Caribbean



Background:  Jamaica gained full independence within the British
Commonwealth in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the
1970s led to recurrent violence and a dropoff in tourism. Elections
in 1980 saw the democratic socialists voted out of office. Subsequent
governments have been open market oriented. Political violence marred
elections during the 1990s.

Geography Jamaica

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 baselines exclusive
economic zone:  the continental margin contiguous zone: 24 NM

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: 16% permanent crops: 9% other: 75% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  250 sq km (1998 est.)

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, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation,
Nuclear Test Ban, 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

Population:  2,680,029 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 29.1% (male 399,249; female 380,864) 15-64
years: 64.1% (male 858,433; female 859,174) 65 years and over: 6.8%
(male 81,321; female 100,988) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  0.56% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  17.74 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  5.45 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  -6.65 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.81
male(s)/female total population: 1 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  13.71 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   77.73 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  2.05 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.71% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  9,900 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  650 (1999 est.)

Nationality:  noun: Jamaican(s) adjective: Jamaican

Ethnic groups:  black 90.9%, East Indian 1.3%, white 0.2%, Chinese 0.2%,
mixed 7.3%, other 0.1%

Religions:  Protestant 61.3% (Church of God 21.2%, Baptist 8.8%, Anglican
5.5%, Seventh-Day Adventist 9%, Pentecostal 7.6%, Methodist 2.7%, United
Church 2.7%, Brethren 1.1%, Jehovah's Witness 1.6%, Moravian 1.1%),
Roman Catholic 4%, other, including some spiritual cults 34.7%

Languages:  English, patois English

Literacy:   age 15 and over has ever attended school total population:
Government Jamaica

Country name:  conventional long form: none conventional short form:

Government type:  constitutional parliamentary democracy

Capital:  Kingston

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

Independence:  6 August 1962 (from UK)

National holiday:  Independence Day, first Monday in 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 Sir Howard Felix COOKE (since 1
August 1991) head of government: Prime Minister Percival James PATTERSON
(since 30 March 1992) and Deputy Prime Minister Seymour MULLINGS (since
NA 1993) cabinet:  minister elections: none; the monarch is hereditary;
governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the
prime minister; prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed 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 eight seats) and the
House of Representatives (60 seats; members are elected by popular vote
to serve five-year terms) elections: last held 18 December 1997 (next
to be held by March 2002) election results: percent of vote by party -
NA%; seats by party - PNP 50, JLP 10

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 [Edward SEAGA];
National Democratic Movement or NDM [Bruce GOLDING]; People's National
Party or PNP [Percival James PATTERSON]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  New Beginnings Movement or NBM;
Rastafarians (black religious/racial cultists, pan-Africanists)

International organization participation:  ACP, C, Caricom, CCC, CDB,
IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU,

Diplomatic representation in the US:   Ambassador Seymour MULLINGS
consulate(s) general:  chancery: 1520 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington,
DC 20036

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Sue McCourt COBB embassy: Jamaica Mutual Life Center, 2 Oxford Road,
3rd floor, Kingston 5 mailing address: use
 [1] (876) 929-4850 through 4859 FAX:
Flag description:  diagonal yellow cross divides the flag into four
triangles - green (top and bottom) and black (hoist side and outer side)

Economy Jamaica

Economy - overview:  The economy, which depends heavily on tourism and
bauxite, has been stagnant since 1995. After five years of recession,
the economy grew 0.8% in 2000 and 1.1% in 2001, but the global economic
slowdown, particularly in the United States after the 11 September
terrorist attacks, has stunted the economic recovery. Serious problems
include: high interest rates; increased foreign competition; a pressured,
sometimes sliding, exchange rate; a widening merchandise trade deficit;
and a growing internal debt, the result of government bailouts to
various ailing sectors of the economy, particularly the financial
sector. Depressed economic conditions have led to increased civil unrest,
including a mounting crime rate. Jamaica's medium-term prospects will
depend upon encouraging investment, maintaining a competitive exchange
rate, selling off reacquired firms, and implementing proper fiscal and
monetary policies.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $9.8 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  1.1% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $3,700 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 7% industry: 28% services: 65%
(2000 est.)

Population below poverty line:  34.2% (1992 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 28.9% (1996)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:  36.4 (1996)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  6.9% (2001 est.)

Labor force:  1.13 million (1998)

Labor force - by occupation:  services 60%, agriculture 21%, industry 19%

Unemployment rate:  16% (2000 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $2.23 billion expenditures: $2.56 billion, including
capital expenditures of $232.5 million (FY99/00 est.)

Industries:  tourism, bauxite, textiles, food processing, light
manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products

Industrial production growth rate:  -2% (2000 est.)

Electricity - production:  6.74 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 89.44% hydro: 3.22%
other: 7.34% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  6.27 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, potatoes,
vegetables; poultry, goats, milk

Exports:  $1.6 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Exports - commodities:  alumina, bauxite; sugar, bananas, rum

Exports - partners:  US 35.7%, EU (excluding UK) 15.9%, UK 13%, Canada
10.5% (1999)

Imports:  $3.1 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Imports - commodities:  machinery and transport equipment, construction
materials, fuel, food, chemicals, fertilizers

Imports - partners:  US 47.8%, Caricom countries 12.4%, Latin America
7.2%, EU (excluding UK) 4.7% (1999)

Debt - external:  $5.2 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $102.7 million (1995)

Currency:  Jamaican dollar (JMD)

Currency code:  JMD

Exchange rates:  Jamaican dollars per US dollar - 47.277 (December 2001),
45.996 (2001), 42.701 (2000), 39.044 (1999), 36.550 (1998), 35.404 (1997)

Fiscal year:  1 April - 31 March

Communications Jamaica

Telephones - main lines in use:  353,000 (1996)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  54,640 (1996)

Telephone system:   fully automatic domestic telephone network domestic:
3 coaxial submarine cables

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

Radios:  1.215 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  7 (1997)

Televisions:  460,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .jm

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  21 (2000)

Internet users:  60,000 (2000)

Transportation Jamaica

Railways:  total: 272 km standard gauge: 272 km 1.435-m gauge; note -
207 km, belonging to the Jamaica Railway Corporation, were in common
carrier service but are no longer operational; the remaining track is
privately owned and used to transport bauxite (2000)

Highways:  total: 19,000 km paved: 13,433 km unpaved: 5,567 km (1997)

Waterways:  none

Pipelines:  petroleum products 10 km

Ports and harbors:  Alligator Pond, Discovery Bay, Kingston, Montego Bay,
Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, Rocky Point, Port Esquivel (Longswharf)

Merchant marine:  total: 1 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 21,954
GRT/25,250 DWT ships by type: petroleum tanker 1, includes some
foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Latvia 2,
United States 2 (2002 est.)

Airports:  35 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:   1 914 to 1,523 m: Airports - with
unpaved runways:  total: 24 914 to 1,523 m: 2 under 914 m: 22 (2001)

Military Jamaica

Military branches:  Jamaica Defense Force (including Ground Forces,
Coast Guard, and Air Wing), Jamaica Constabulary Force

Military manpower - military age:  18 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 747,043 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 523,550
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 27,729
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $30 million (FY95/96 est.)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  NA%

Transnational Issues Jamaica

Disputes - international:  none

Illicit drugs:  major transshipment point for cocaine from South
America to North America and Europe; illicit cultivation of cannabis;
government has an active manual cannabis eradication program; corruption
is a major concern

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

Jamaica News
Jamaica Gleaner

The Jamaica Observer

The Jamaica Star

Radio Jamaica  

Arts & Culture
Institute of Jamaica

Jamaica Photo Gallery

National Library of Jamaica

Reggae Music
Dread Library


Rootz Reggae & Kulcha

Reggae Sumfest

Bob Marley

The Bob Marley Foundation

Burning Spear

Misty in Roots

Third World

Business & Economy
Bank of Jamaica

Jamaica Stock Exchange

Jamaican Products
Appleton Rum Jamaica

Blue Mountain Coffee

Jamaican Coffee

Jamaican sugar cane

Air Jamaica

Seaports Of Jamaica

Destination Jamaica - Travel and Tourism Guides

Discover Jamaica

Jamaica Irie



Jamaica's South Coast

Jamaica Travel Net

What to do in Jamaica

Montego Bay


National Library of Jamaica

College of Agriculture (CASE)

Northern Caribbean University

University of the West Indies

National Environment & Planning Agency (NEPA) Home Page

Jamaica Sustainable Development Network

Jamaica Country Profile - Summary

Environmental Concerns in Jamaica

Cultural and ethnic groups of Jamaica

Accompong - the Maroon Capital

Jamaican Rootz History

The Maroons of Jamaica

The Maroons

The Maroons

The Maroons and Moore Town

Marcus Garvey and the Early Rastafarians: Continuity and Discontinuity

Rastafarianism: An Overview

Genealogy of Jamaica

A Brief History of Jamaica

History of Jamaica

The History of Jamaica

History of Jamaica

Pieces of the Past

Politics and History of Jamaica

Jamaican Language Site

Speak Jamaican


CrazyJamaica Links Directory

Jamaica Virtual Online Reference Library

NetSearch Jamaica!





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