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(formerly British Honduras)

World Factbook (1982) Belize.jpg
(See reference map III)


22,973 km2; 38% agricultural (5% cultivated), 46% exploitable forest, 16% urban, waste, water, offshore islands or other

Land boundaries: 515 km


Limits of territorial waters (claimed): 3 nm (fishing 12 nm)

Coastline: 386 km


Population: 150,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate 1.8%

Nationality: noun—Belizean(s); adjective—Belizean

Ethnic divisions: 51% Negro, 22% mestizo, 19% Amerindian, 8% other

Religion: 50% Roman Catholic; Anglican, Seventh-Day Adventist, Methodist, Baptist, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mennonite

Language: English, Spanish, Maya, and Carib

Literacy: 70%-80%

Labor force: 40,000; 39% agriculture, 14% manufacturing, 8% commerce, 12% construction and transport, 20% services, 7% other; shortage of skilled labor and all types of technical personnel; over 15% are unemployed

Organized labor: 8% of labor force


Official name: Belize

Type: became an independent state on 21 September 1981; a member of the Commonwealth

Capital: Belmopan

Legal system: English law

Branches: 18-member elected National Assembly and eight-member Senate (either house may choose its speaker or president, respectively, from outside its elected membership); Cabinet; judiciary

Government leaders: Prime Minister George C. PRICE; Governor General Minita GORDON

Suffrage: universal adult (probably 21)

Elections: Parliamentary elections held November 1979

Political parties and leaders: People's United Party (PUP), George Price; United Democratic Party (UDP), Theodore Aranda

Voting strength (National Assembly): PUP 13 seats, UDP 5 seats

Communists: negligible

Other political or pressure groups: United Workers Union, which is connected with PUP

Member of: CARICOM, ISO


GDP: $140 million (1979), $960 per capita (1979 est.); real growth rate 1980, 4% (est.)

Agriculture: main products—sugarcane, citrus fruits, corn, molasses, rice, beans, bananas, livestock products; net importer of food; caloric intake, 2,500 calories per day per capita

Major industries: sugar refining, garments, timber and forest products, furniture, rum, soap

Electric power: 16,000 kW capacity (1980); 42 million kWh produced (1980), 288 kWh per capita

Exports: $130 million (f.o.b., 1980 est.); sugar, garments, fish, molasses, citrus fruits

Imports: $141 million (c.i.f., 1980 est.); machinery and transportation equipment, food, manufactured goods, fuels

Major trade partners: exports—US 43%, UK 37%, Trinidad and Tobago 6%, Mexico 2%; imports— US 52%, UK 17%, Netherlands Antilles 5% (1979 est.)

Aid: economic—authorized from US, including Ex-lm (FY70-80), 5.3 million; bilateral ODA and OOF commitments from Western (non-US) countries (1970-79), $93.4 million

Budget: revenues, $88 million; expenditures, $88 million (projected budget for April 1981 through March 1982)

Monetary conversion rate: 2 Belize dollars=US$l

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: none

Highways: 2,575 km total; 340 km paved, 1,190 km gravel, 735 km improved earth and 310 km unimproved earth

Inland waterways: 800 km river network used by shallow-draft craft

Ports: 1 major (Belize), 4 minor

Civil air: 1 major transport aircraft, leased in

Airfields: 37 total, 28 usable; 4 with permanent-surface runways; 1 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: 5,800 telephones in automatic and manual network (2.7 per 100 popl.); radio-relay system; 6 AM stations and 1 FM station; 1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT station


Military manpower: males 15-49, 35,000; 21,000 fit for military service; 1,600 reach military age (18) annually