The World Factbook (1990)/Jamaica


World Factbook (1990) Jamaica.jpg

 See regional map III


Total area: 10,990 km²; land area: 10,830 km²

Comparative area: slightly smaller than Connecticut

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 1,022 km

Maritime claim:

Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior

Terrain: mostly mountains with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain

Natural resources: bauxite, gypsum, limestone

Land use: 19% arable land; 6% permanent crops; 18% meadows and pastures; 28% forest and woodland; 29% other; includes 3% irrigated

Environment: subject to hurricanes (especially July to November); deforestation; water pollution

Note: strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for Panama Canal


Population: 2,441,396 (July 1990), growth rate 0.6% (1990)

Birth rate: 21 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 5 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -10 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 16 deaths/ 1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 75 years male, 79 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 2.3 children born/woman (1990)

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

Ethnic divisions: 76.3% African, 15.1% Afro-European, 3.4% East Indian and Afro-East Indian, 3.2% white, 1.2% Chinese and Afro-Chinese, 0.8% other

Religion: predominantly Protestant (including Anglican and Baptist), some Roman Catholic, some spiritualist cults

Language: English, Creole

Literacy: 74%

Labor force: 728,700; 32% agriculture, 28% industry and commerce, 27% services, 13% government; shortage of technical and managerial personnel (1984)

Organized labor: 25% of labor force (1989)


Long-form name: none

Type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Kingston

Administrative divisions: 14 parishes; Clarendon, Hanover, Kingston, Manchester, Portland, Saint Andrew, Saint Ann, Saint Catherine, Saint Elizabeth, Saint James, Saint Mary, Saint Thomas, Trelawny, Westmoreland

Independence: 6 August 1962 (from UK)

Constitution: 6 August 1962

Legal system: based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: Independence Day (first Monday in August), 6 August 1990

Executive branch: British monarch, governor general, prime minister, Cabinet

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of an upper house or Senate and a lower house or House of Representatives

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Florizel A. GLASSPOLE (since 2 March 1973);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Michael MANLEY (since 9 February 1989)

Political parties and leaders: People's National Party (PNP), Michael Manley; Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), Edward Seaga; Workers' Party of Jamaica (WPJ), Trevor Munroe

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: House of Representatives—last held 9 February 1989 (next to be held by February 1994); results—PNP 57%, JLP 43%; seats—(60 total) PNP 45, JLP 15

Communists: Workers' Party of Jamaica (Marxist-Leninist)

Other political or pressure groups: Rastafarians (black religious/racial cultists, pan-Africanists)


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Keith JOHNSON; Chancery at Suite 355, 1850 K Street NW, Washington DC 20006; telephone (202) 452-0660; there are Jamaican Consulates General in Miami and New York; US—Ambassador Glen HOLDEN; Embassy at 3rd Floor, Jamaica Mutual Life Center, 2 Oxford Road, Kingston; telephone [809] 929-4850

Flag: diagonal yellow cross divides the flag into four triangles green (top and bottom) and black (hoist side and fly side)


Overview: The economy is based on sugar, bauxite, and tourism. In 1985 it suffered a setback with the closure of some facilities in the bauxite and alumina industry, a major source of hard currency earnings. Since 1986 an economic recovery has been under way. In 1987 conditions began to improve for the bauxite and alumina industry because of increases in world metal prices. The recovery has also been supported by growth in the manufacturing and tourism sectors. In September 1988, Hurricane Gilbert inflicted severe damage on crops and the electric power system, a sharp but temporary setback to the economy. By October 1989 the economic recovery from the hurricane was largely complete and real growth was up about 3% for 1989.

GDP: $3.8 billion, per capita $1,529; real growth rate 3.0% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 15% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 18.7% (1988)

Budget: revenues $1.1 billion; expenditures $1.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY88 est.)

Exports: $948 million (f.o.b., 1989 est.); commodities—bauxite, alumina, sugar, bananas; partners—US 40%, UK, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Norway

Imports: $1.6 billion (c.i.f., 1989 est.); commodities—petroleum, machinery, food, consumer goods, construction goods; partners—US 46%, UK, Venezuela, Canada, Japan, Trinidad and Tobago

External debt: $4.4 billion (1989 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 3% (1989 est.)

Electricity: 1,437,000 kW capacity; 2,390 million kWh produced, 960 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: tourism, bauxite mining, textiles, food processing, light manufactures

Agriculture: accounts for about 9% of GDP, one-third of work force, and 17% of exports; commercial crops—sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, potatoes, and vegetables; livestock and livestock products include poultry, goats, milk; not self-sufficient in grain, meat, and dairy products

Illicit drugs: illicit cultivation of cannabis has decreased, with production shifting from large to small plots and nurseries to evade aerial detection and eradication

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $1.1 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $1.2 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $27 million; Communist countries (1974-88), $349 million

Currency: Jamaican dollar (plural—dollars); 1 Jamaican dollar (J$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Jamaican dollars (J$) per US$1—6.5013 (January 1990), 5.7446 (1989), 5.4886 (1988), 5.4867 (1987), 5.4778 (1986), 5.5586 (1985)

Fiscal year: 1 April-31 March


Railroads: 370 km, all 1.435-meter standard gauge, single track

Highways: 18,200 km total; 12,600 km paved, 3,200 km gravel, 2,400 km improved earth

Pipelines: refined products, 10 km

Ports: Kingston, Montego Bay

Merchant marine: 5 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 13,048 GRT/21,412 DWT; includes 1 cargo, 1 container, 1 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 1 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 1 bulk

Civil air: 6 major transport aircraft

Airports: 41 total, 25 usable; 14 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 2 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 2 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: fully automatic domestic telephone network; 127,000 telephones; stations—10 AM, 17 FM, 8 TV; 2 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth stations; 3 coaxial submarine cables

Defense Forces

Branches: Jamaica Defense Force (includes Coast Guard and Air Wing)

Military manpower: males 15-49, 620,400; 440,967 fit for military service; no conscription; 27,014 reach minimum volunteer age (18) annually

Defense expenditures: 1.1% of GDP (1987)