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Jamaica Facts

Jamaica Facts | Jamaica Information | Jamaica Statistics | Jamaica

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 JAMAICAN POLITICAL
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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 siezed 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 which 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 created by 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.
 
 
Common Name: Jamaica Local Official Name: Jamaica
Abbreviated Name: Jamaica Official Name: Jamaica
Official Script Name: Jamaica Local Common Name: Jamaica
Former Name: Jamaica Territory of: NA
 
Head of State: Queen ELIZABETH II
 
Government Type: constitutional parliamentary democracy
 
Independence: 1962 August 6 (from UK)
 
Constitution: 1962 August 6
 
National Holiday: Independence Day, first Monday in August
 
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, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
 
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
 
Dependent Areas: NA
 
Legal System: based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
 
Suffrage: 18 years
 
Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches: 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: 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; 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
 
Party Leaders: Jamaica Labor Party or JLP [Edward SEAGA]; National Democratic Movement or NDM [Bruce GOLDING]; People's National Party or PNP [Percival James PATTERSON]
 
International Disputes: NA
 
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 
 
 
 JAMAICAN GEOGRAPHY
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Location of Jamaica: Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba
 
Continent: North America Land Area Total: 10,991 sq km 
Region: Caribbean Land Area Land: 10,831 sq km
Capitol City: Kingston Land Area Water: 160 sq km
      
Latitude: 018 15 N Border Boundary Land: 0 km
Longitude: 077 30 W Border Boundary Coastline: 1,022 km 
  
Arable Land: 15.83 % Pastures: 0.00 %
Crops: 10.01 % Woodlands and Forests: 0.00
  
Highest Elevation: 2,256 m Location: Blue Mountain Peak
Lowest Elevation: 0 m Location: Caribbean Sea
  
Largest City in Jamaica: Kingston Kingston Largest City Population: 655,000
  
Threatened Species: 240
 
Environmental 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
 
Environmental 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
 
Irrigated Land: 250
 
Bordering Countries: NA
 
Natural Resources: bauxite, gypsum, limestone
 
Geographical Terrain: mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain
 
Comparative Area of Jamaica: slightly smaller than Connecticut
 
Jamaica's Geography: strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for the Panama Canal
 

 JAMAICAN CLIMATE
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General Climate: tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior
 
Natural Hazards: hurricanes (especially July to November)
 
 
 JAMAICAN ECONOMY
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Economic 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: $9,800,000,000 USD Currency: Jamaican dollar
GDP per Capita: $3,700 USD Currency Code: JMD
GDP Growth Rate: 1.10 %
  
Currency Exchange Rate History: Jamaican dollars per US dollar - 47.277 (December 2001), 45.996 (2001), 42.701 (2000), 39.044 (1999), 36.550 (1998), 35.404 (1997)
  
  
GDP of Agriculture: 7.00 % GDP of Industry: 28.00 %
GDP of Services: 65.00 %  
   
Inflation Rate: 6.90 % Population in Poverty: 34.20 %
Unemployment Rate: 16.00 % Tourism: 1,248,000.00 visitors each year
   
Consumption by lowest 10%: 2.90 % Budget Revenue in USD: $2,230,000,000 USD
Consumption by upper 10%: 28.90 % Budget Expenditures in USD: $2,560,000,000 USD
   
Electricity Production: 6,740,000,000 kWh Electricity Exports: 0 kWh
Electricity Consumption: 6,270,000,000 kWh Electricity Imports: 0 kWh

Electricity Production by Source:
 
Fossil Fuel Electricity Production: 89.44% Nuclear Electricity Production: 0.00%
Hydro Electricity Production: 3.22% Other Electricity Production: 7.34%
   
Oil Production: 0 barrels per day Natural Gas Production: 0 cu m
Oil Consumption: 0 barrels per day Natural Gas Consumption: 0 cu m
Oil Exports: 0 barrels per day Natural Gas Exports: 0 cu m
Oil Imports: 0 barrels per day Natural Gas Imports: 0 cu m
Proven Oil Reserves: 0 barrels Proven Natural Gas Reserves: 0 cu m
   
External Debt: $5,200,000,000 USD Received in economic aid: $102,700,000 USD
  Donated in economic aid: $0 USD
   
Agricultural Products: sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, potatoes, vegetables; poultry, goats, milk
 
Primary Industries: tourism, bauxite, textiles, food processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products
 
Industrial Growth Rate: -2.00 %
  
  
Import Amount in USD: $3,100,000,000 USD - machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, fuel, food, chemicals, fertilizers
 
Import Partners: US 47.8%, Caricom countries 12.4%, Latin America 7.2%, EU (excluding UK) 4.7%
 
Export Amount in USD: $1,600,000,000 USD - alumina, bauxite; sugar, bananas, rum
 
Export Partners: US 35.7%, EU (excluding UK) 15.9%, UK 13%, Canada 10.5%
 
    
GINI Index: 36.40%
 
Labor Force Number of People: 1,130,000
 
Labor Force by Occupations: services 60%, agriculture 21%, industry 19%
 
  
 JAMAICAN COMMUNICATIONS
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Radio Broadcast Stations: 23 Number of People with Radios: 1,215,000
Television Broadcast Stations: 7 Number of People with Televisions: 460,000
Number of People with Mainline Telephones: 353,000 Number of People with Mobile Phones: 54,640
 
Internet Service Providers: 21 Internet Users: 60,000
 
Internet Country Code: .jm Newspapers: 63
Two Letter Country Code: JM Weights and Measures:
Phone Country Code: +1-876 Electricity Voltage: Volts
  
Telephone Systems: general assessment: fully automatic domestic telephone network domestic: NA international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); 3 coaxial submarine cables
 
  
 JAMAICAN TRANSPORTATION
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Highways: 13,433 km Railways: 272 km
Gas And Oil Pipelines: 10 km Waterways: 0 km
Airports: 11 Heliports: 0
 
Motor Vehicles: 85 per 1,000 people CO2 Emissions: 10,728,000 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
  Per capita CO2 emissions: 4.30 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
  
Merchant Marines: 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
 
Ports and Harbors: Alligator Pond, Discovery Bay, Kingston, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, Rocky Point, Port Esquivel (Longswharf)
 
  
 JAMAICAN PEOPLE
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Population: 2,758,124 people type - nationality Birth Rate: 20.82 births per 1,000 people
Population Density: 236.00 people per sq km Death Rate: 6.52 deaths per 1,000 people
Population Growth: 0.80% per year Fertility Rate per Women: 2.41 babies born per woman
 
Population Male 0-14: 464,297 Population Female 0-14: 449,181
Population Male 15-64: 808,718 Population Female 15-64: 835,394
Population Male 65+: 90,100 Population Female 65+: 110,434
 
Population 0-14: 33.10% Literacy Rate: 87.90%
Population 15-64: 59.60% Literacy rate of Males: 84.10%
Population 65+: 7.30% Literacy rate of Females: 91.60%
 
Population that is Male: 49.00 % Population that is Female: 51.00%
Life expectancy at birth in years: 73.24 years Infant mortality rate - baby deaths per 1000 births: 15.98 Babies die per 1,000 births
Life expectancy at birth for Males: 71.54 years Life expectancy at birth for Females: 75.03 years
 
Rate of AIDS/HIV infection: 1.20% Number of people living with AIDS or HIV: 22,000
Number of people who died of AIDS: 900
   
Disease Risk:
 
Diseases:
 
Net Migration Rate per 1,000 people: -6.27
 
Nationality: JAMAICAN
 
Ethnic Groups: black 90.9%, East Indian 1.3%, white 0.2%, Chinese 0.2%, mixed 7.3%, other 0.1% 
 
  
Primary Language: English
 
Other Languages: English, patois English
 
 
Primary Religion: Protestant
 
Other Religions: Protestant 61.3% (Church of God 21.2%, Seventh-Day Adventist 9%, Baptist 8.8%, Pentecostal 7.6%, Anglican 5.5%, Methodist 2.7%, United Church 2.7%, Jehovah's Witness 1.6%, Brethren 1.1%, Moravian 1.1%), Roman Catholic 4%, other including some spiritual cu
 
  
 JAMAICAN MILITARY
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Branches: Jamaica Defense Force (including Ground Forces, Coast Guard, and Air Wing), Jamaica Constabulary Force
 
Manpower Fit to Serve: 18 years of age years
 
Manpower Available: 747,043 People
 
Manpower Fit to Serve: 523,550 People
 
Amount of Manpower Available each Year: 27,729 People per year
 
Expenditures: $30,000,000 USD per year
 
Expenditures as a Percentage of GDP: 0.00
 
 
Note: Phrasebase uses a variety of sources when compiling the facts and information presented above. This information is continually updated throughout the year.
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