Jamaica: Vital Statistics
10,991 sq km (4,244 sq mi)
Island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba
Kingston (population 672,000; 2004 estimate)
OTHER MAJOR CITIES:
Spanish Town (population 131,060; 2001 estimate)
2,651,000 (2004 estimate)
243 persons per sq km (634 per sq mi)
POPULATION BELOW AGE 15:
28.6 percent (male 395,074; female 376,870; 2003 estimate)
POPULATION GROWTH RATE:
0.61 percent (2003 estimate)
TOTAL FERTILITY RATE:
2.01 children born per woman (2003 estimate)
LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH:
Total population: 75.85 years (male 73.84 years; female 77.97 years; 2003 estimate)
INFANT MORTALITY RATE:
13.26 deaths per 1,000 live births (2003 estimate)
LITERACY RATE (AGE 15 AND OVER WHO HAS EVER ATTENDED SCHOOL):
Total population: 87.9 percent (male 84.1 percent; female 91.6 percent; 2003 estimate)
Education in Jamaica is compulsory for seven years. In 2001 about 94.9 percent of children were enrolled in primary schools and 74.4 percent of teens were enrolled in secondary schools. The University of the West Indies, in Kingston, has in excess of 5,000 enrolled students.
English and patois English are spoken.
Jamaicans are 90.9 percent black, 1.3 percent East Indian, 0.2 percent white, 0.2 percent Chinese, 7.3 percent mixed ethnicities, and 0.1 percent other ethnicities.
61.3 percent of Jamaicans are Protestant (21.2 percent Church of God, 8.8 percent Baptist, 5.5 percent Anglican, 9 percent Seventh-Day Adventist, 7.6 percent Pentecostal, 2.7 percent Methodist, 2.7 percent United Church, 1.1 percent Brethren, 1.6 percent Jehovah's Witness, 1.1 percent Moravian), 4 percent Roman Catholic, and 34.7 percent other religions, including some spiritual cults
Jamaica's climate is tropical, with variations depending on elevation. The average coastal temperature is 27°C (80°F), with trade winds that temper the heat and humidity. Average plateau and mountain area temperatures are 22°C (72°F), and much cooler in the highest areas. Annual rainfall varies by region; in Kingston, the average is 810 mm (32 in). May, June, October, and November comprise the rainy season. In late summer hurricanes and tropical storms are common.
LAND, PLANTS, AND ANIMALS:
Jamaica is mountainous, except for some southern coastal areas, and has a multitude of small, unnavigable rivers. The coastline has several natural harbors, among them Kingston, Montego Bay, and Port Maria. Jamaica sometimes experiences severe earthquakes. Twenty-seven percent of the island's 3,000 plant species are found only in Jamaica, among them more than 200 varieties of flowering plant. Indigenous trees include mahoe, cedar, mahogany, rosewood, ebony, and pimento (allspice). Animals include cuckoos, hummingbirds, and parrots.
Bauxite, gypsum, and limestone
Jamaican dollar (JMD)
GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (GDP):
$10.08 billion (2002 estimate)
GDP PER CAPITA:
$3,800 (2002 estimate)
GDP REAL GROWTH RATE:
1 percent (2002 estimate)
PRIMARY ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES:
Services, agriculture, and industry
Sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, potatoes, vegetables, poultry, goats, and milk
Tourism, bauxite, textiles, food processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, and chemical products
Alumina, bauxite, sugar, bananas, and rum
Machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, fuel, food, chemicals, and fertilizers
PRIMARY TRADE PARTNERS:
United States, Canada, Norway, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Trinidad and Tobago, and Japan
Jamaica is a constitutional parliamentary democracy. The chief of state is Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor General Sir Howard Felix Cooke (since August 1991; appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister). The head of government is Prime Minister Percival James Patterson (since March 1992; the leader of the majority party or majority coalition in the House of Representatives is appointed prime minister by the governor general). The legislative branch is a bicameral Parliament that consists of the twenty-one member Senate (all appointed seats) and the sixty-member House of Representatives (elected by popular vote for five-year terms). The judicial branch includes the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. Political parties include the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), the National Democratic Movement (NDM) and the People's National Party (PNP).