Fast Facts on Jamaica

Map of Jamaica

People

Population: 2,889,187 people (July 2012 est.)

Languages: English, Creole

Major 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) Ethnic groups:African 76.3%, Afro-European 15.1%, East Indian and Afro-East Indian 3%, white 3.2%, Chinese and Afro-Chinese 1.2%, other 1.2%

Growth rate: 0.714% (2012 est.)

Birth rate: 18.89 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate: 6.59 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Fertility rate: 2.12 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Male life expectancy: 71.78 years

Female life expectancy: 75.15 years

Infant mortality rate: 14.3 deaths/1,000 live births

Economy: (dollars are in USD)

Labor force: 1.09 million

Unemployment rate: 14.2% (2012 est.)

Inflation rate CPI: 9.19% (2013)

GDP (purchasing power parity): $25.18 billion (2012 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate): $15.26 billion (2012 est.)

Budget: $3.83 billion (revenues)

PUBLIC DEBT: 127.3% of GDP (2012 est.)

EXPORTS TOTAL VALUE: $1.624 billion (2011)
Commodities: alumina, bauxite, sugar, bananas and rum

IMPORTS TOTAL VALUE: $6.614 billion (2011)
Commodities: machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, fuel, food and chemicals

HIGHWAYS: 18,700 km (2011)

Government

Jamaica is a constitutional monarchy and as a member of the British Commonwealth, the Queen of England, Elizabeth II is the titular head of the country. A Governor General represents her in Jamaica. The Jamaican Parliament consists of two Houses, the Senate, also called the Upper House, and the House of Representatives, also known as the Lower House.

The members of the House of Representatives are elected under universal adult suffrage, with a maximum of five years between elections. There are 60 constituencies, each represented by one Member of Parliament. The Senate comprises twenty-one members appointed by the Governor General, thirteen on the advice of the Prime Minister and eight on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition.

The Senate functions mainly as a review chamber and reviews legislation passed by the House of Representatives. The Cabinet is the principal instrument of government policy. It consists of the Prime Minister and minimum of thirteen other Ministers of Government, who must be members of one of the two Houses of Parliament. However, not more than four members of the Cabinet may be members of the Senate. The Minister of Finance must be an elected member of the House of Representatives. Local Government is organized on a parish basis, with two parishes, Kingston and St. Andrew, amalgamated and administered by the Kingston And St.Andrew Corporation (KSAC).

The island’s 60 constituencies are subdivided into 187 electoral divisions, each of which is represented by a Parish Councillor for Local Government.

Geography

Jamaica is the third largest of the Caribbean islands. Situated in the Caribbean Sea, it lies 965.4 km (600 miles) south of Florida, 160.9 km (100 miles) southwest of Haiti and 144.81 km (90 miles) south of Cuba.