Background: Dominica was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonized by Europeans due chiefly to the fierce resistance of the native Caribs. France ceded possession to Great Britain in 1763, which made the island a colony in 1805. In 1980, two years after independence, Dominica's fortunes improved when a corrupt and tyrannical administration was replaced by that of Mary Eugenia CHARLES, the first female prime minister in the Caribbean, who remained in office for 15 years. Some 3,000 Carib Indians still living on Dominica are the only pre-Columbian population remaining in the eastern Caribbean.
Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about half way between Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago
Area land: 751 sq km
Area water: 0 sq km
Coastline: 148 km
Country name conventional long form: Commonwealth of Dominica
Country name conventional short form: Dominica
Country name former: Commonwealth of Dominica
Population: 72,969 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 22.9% (male 8,551/female 8,188); 15-64 years: 66.8% (male 25,007/female 23,730); 65 years and over: 10.3% (male 3,246/female 4,247) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: 0.214% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 15.62 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 8.06 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: -5.43 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female; total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 12.78 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 17.11 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 8.23 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 75.98 years; male: 73.03 years; female: 79.08 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 2.07 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA;
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA;
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA;
Nationality: noun: Dominican(s); adjective: Dominican;
Ethnic groups: black 86.8%, mixed 8.9%, Carib Amerindian 2.9%, white 0.8%, other 0.7% (2001 census);
Religions: Roman Catholic 61.4%, Seventh Day Adventist 6%, Pentecostal 5.6%, Baptist 4.1%, Methodist 3.7%, Church of God 1.2%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.2%, other Christian 7.7%, Rastafarian 1.3%, other or unspecified 1.6%, none 6.1% (2001 census);
Languages: English (official), French patois;
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school; total population: 94%; male: 94%; female: 94% (2003 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $765.4 million (2010 est.); $754.8 million (2009 est.); $757.1 million (2008 est.);
GDP (official exchange rate): $375 million (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 1.4% (2010 est.); -0.3% (2009 est.); 3.2% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $10,500 (2010 est.); $10,400 (2009 est.); $10,400 (2008 est.);
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 17.7%; industry: 32.8%; services: 49.5% (2004 est.);
Population below poverty line: 30% (2002 est.);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%; highest 10%: NA%;
Labor force: 25,000 (2000 est.);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 40%; industry: 32%; services: 28% (2000 est.);
Unemployment rate: 23% (2000 est.);
Budget: revenues: $343 million; expenditures: $277 million (2009);
Industries: soap, coconut oil, tourism, copra, furniture, cement blocks, shoes;
Industrial production growth rate: NA%;
Electricity - production: 85 million kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 79.05 million kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2008 est.);
Statistics: CIA World Factbook.
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Dominica's pursuit of an independent foreign policy and its insistence on maintaining cordial relations with Caracas might sorely test the tolerance of a putative McCain administration.
The 2006 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award was recently awarded to Sonia Pierre.
As the largest exporter of immigrants to New York City, the Dominican Republic is represented by approximately 10 percent of the 1.1 million students within the New York City public school system.
In an unsigned editorial, the Dominican newspaper Hoy lambastes governments and aid organizations for talking a good line on Haiti, but not doing enough.