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Countries > Jamaica Jamaica Flag

Languages   One language is spoken in Jamaica. We have 972 products available for that language.

Capital: Kingston
Population: 2,650,000
Click to Listen Play the National Anthem
Jamaica Map


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

total: 10,990 sq km
land: 10,830 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
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 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%
permanent pastures: 24%
forests and woodland: 17%
other: 39% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 250 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards: hurricanes (especially July to November)

Environment - current issues: 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, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified : none of the selected agreements

Geography - note: strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for Panama Canal


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:
total population: 75.64 years
male : 73.65 years
female: 77.73 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate:2.05 children born/woman (2002 est.)

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, Creole

definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 85%
male: 80.8%
female: 89.1% (1995 est.)


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

Data code: JM

Government type: parliamentary democracy

National 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 of the UK (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 : Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections: none; the queen is a hereditary monarch; governor general appointed by the queen 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 13 seats, opposition 8 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, ECLAC, FAO, G-15, G-19, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNITAR, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

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

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Sue McCourt COBB
embassy: Jamaica Mutual Life Center, 2 Oxford Road, 3rd floor, Kingston
mailing address : use embassy street address
telephone: [1] (876) 929-4850 through 4859
FAX: [1] (876) 926-6743

Flag description: diagonal yellow cross divides the flag into four triangles - green (top and bottom) and black (hoist side and outer side)


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 - $9.8 billion (2001 est.)

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

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 6.9% (2001 est.)

Labor force:
total:1.13 million (1998)
by occupation: services 60%, agriculture 21%, industry 19% (1998)

Unemployment rate: 16% (2000 est.)

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

Industries: bauxite, tourism, textiles, food processing, light manufactures

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

Electricity - capacity: 848,400 kW (1995)

Electricity - production:6.74 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 6.27 billion kWh (2000)

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

total value: $1.6 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities: alumina, bauxite, sugar, bananas, rum
partners:US 35.7%, EU (excluding UK) 15.9%, UK 13%, Canada 10.5% (1999)

total value: $3.1 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities: machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, fuel, food, chemicals
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: 1 Jamaican dollar (JMD) = 100 cents

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


Telephones: 353,000 (1996)

Telephone system: fully automatic domestic telephone network
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); 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)


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

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

Pipelines: petroleum products 10 km

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

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:
total: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m : 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 5 (2001)

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


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

Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age

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

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males: 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

Disputes - international: none

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for cocaine from Central and South America to North America and Europe; illicit cultivation of cannabis; government has an active cannabis eradication program

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