Map Jamaica
Maps copyright Hammond World Atlas Corp.

Flag of Jamaica


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 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 obtained increasing 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.
Location: Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba
Area land: 10,831 sq km
Area water: 160 sq km
Coastline: 1,022 km
Country name conventional long form: none
Country name conventional short form: Jamaica
Country name former: none
Population: 2,868,380 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 30.1% (male 438,888/female 424,383); 15-64 years: 62.3% (male 882,548/female 904,242); 65 years and over: 7.6% (male 97,717/female 120,602) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: 0.733% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 19.2 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 6.54 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: -5.34 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female; total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 14.6 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 15.18 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 14 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 73.45 years; male: 71.79 years; female: 75.19 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 2.17 children born/woman (2011 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.);
Nationality: noun: Jamaican(s); adjective: Jamaican;
Ethnic groups: black 91.2%, mixed 6.2%, other or unknown 2.6% (2001 census);
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);
Languages: English, English patois;
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school; total population: 87.9%; male: 84.1%; female: 91.6% (2003 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $23.93 billion (2010 est.); $24.12 billion (2009 est.); $24.81 billion (2008 est.);

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate): $13.74 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: -0.8% (2010 est.); -2.8% (2009 est.); -0.9% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $8,400 (2010 est.); $8,500 (2009 est.); $8,800 (2008 est.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 5.7%; industry: 29.7%; services: 64.6% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 16.5% (2003 est.);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.1%; highest 10%: 35.8% (2004);
Labor force: 1.317 million (2010 est.);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 17%; industry: 19%; services: 64% (2006);
Unemployment rate: 12.9% (2010 est.); 11.4% (2009 est.);
Budget: revenues: $3.611 billion; expenditures: $4.644 billion (2010 est.);
Industries: tourism, bauxite/alumina, agro processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products, telecommunications;
Industrial production growth rate: -2% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 7.324 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 6.345 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2008 est.);

Statistics: CIA World Factbook.


Jamaica Gleaner, The

(Privately-owned, Independent), Kingston

Jamaica Observer

(Privately-owned, Independent), Kingston

Jamaica in the News

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Displaying 1 to 4 of 6 items.

Jamaica: Corporate Exploitation by the Bauxite Ore Industry

The decades-long mining of Jamaica’s bauxite, an essential component of aluminum, has ecologically ravaged a tropical paradise.

The Bird Flu Pandemic: Panic and Prevention

Countries around the world have taken preventive measures against a potential outbreak of bird flu, which has killed more than 60 people in Southeast Asia since it was first discovered in 2003.

Was Aristide Forced Out?

The Jamaica Gleaner endorses the Caribbean Community's call for a U.N.-led investigation into the circumstances under which Jean-Bertrand Aristide relinquished the presidency of Haiti.

Caribbean Disdain for Haiti

'There is a Caribbean ambivalence toward Haiti which this newspaper finds unfortunate and, frankly, distasteful,' an unsigned editorial from the Jamaica Gleaner begins.