Jamaica Travel Information

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The Nature Conservancy in Jamaica

Facts About Jamaica

Background: Jamaica gained full independence within the British Commonwealth in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence and a dropoff in tourism. Elections in 1980 saw the democratic socialists voted out of office. Subsequent governments have been open market oriented. Political violence marred elections during the 1990s.
Government type: constitutional parliamentary democracy
Capital: Kingston
Currency: 1 Jamaican dollar (J$) = 100 cents

Geography of Jamaica

Location: Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba
Geographic coordinates: 18 15 N, 77 30 W
total: 10,990 sq km
land: 10,830 sq km
water: 160 sq km
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: 14%
permanent crops: 6%
permanent pastures: 24%
forests and woodland: 17%
other: 39% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 350 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: hurricanes (especially July to November)
Environment - current 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.
Environment - international 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
Geography - note: strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for Panama Canal.

People of Jamaica

Population: 2,731,832 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  29.7%
15-64 years:  63.52%
65 years and over:  6.78%
Population growth rate: 0.51% 
Birth rate: 18.12 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 5.48 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -7.52 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 14.16 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  75.42 years
male:  73.45 years
female:  77.49 years 
Total fertility rate: 2.08 children born/woman 
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.)

SOURCE: The World Factbook

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Jamaica > Map Economy History