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Jamaica Country Guide

Explore Jamaica in North America

Jamaica with the capital city Kingston is located in North America (Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea). It covers some 10,991 square kilometres (slightly smaller than Connecticut) with 2,801,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Jamaica

The topography includes mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain. The average density of population is approximately 255 per km². The notable climate conditions in Jamaica can be described as tropical with hot, humid and temperate interior. Possible natural disasters include hurricanes (especially July to November).

To reach someone in Jamaica dial +1-876 prior to a number. There are 302,300 installed telephones. And there are 2,971,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900/1800/1900 MHz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".jm". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 110V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Jamaica

Jamaica Flag Icon

Diagonal yellow cross divides the flag into four triangles - green (top and bottom) and black (hoist side and outer side); green represents hope, vegetation, and agriculture, black reflects hardships overcome and to be faced, and yellow recalls golden sunshine and the island's natural resources.

The island - discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated and replaced by African slaves. England seized the island in 1655 and established a plantation economy based on sugar, cocoa, and coffee. The abolition of slavery in 1834 freed a quarter million slaves, many of whom became small farmers. Jamaica gradually increased its independence from Britain. In 1958 it joined other British Caribbean colonies in forming the Federation of the West Indies. Jamaica gained full independence when it withdrew from the Federation in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence as rival gangs affiliated with the major political parties evolved into powerful organized crime networks involved in international drug smuggling and money laundering. Violent crime, drug trafficking, and poverty pose significant challenges to the government today. Nonetheless, many rural and resort areas remain relatively safe and contribute substantially to the economy.

Geography Quick-Facts

SummaryContinent: North America
Capital: Kingston
Size10,991 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 4,243 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly smaller than Connecticut
CurrencyName Dollar, Currency Code:JMD
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD).jm
Telephone Country Prefix+1-876
Mobile Phone Connections2,971,000
Landline Phone Connections302,300

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Area10,991 (sq km)168

People and Society

Value nameValueWorld Rank
Population2,909,714 139
Population growth rate0.70 (%)141
Birth rate18.65 (births/1,000 population)102
Death rate6.63 (deaths/1,000 population)146
Net migration rate-4.99 (migrant(s)/1,000 population)190
Maternal mortality rate110.00 (deaths/100,000 live births)67
Infant mortality rate13.98 (deaths/1,000 live births)119
Life expectancy at birth73.44 (years)122
Total fertility rate2.09 (children born/woman)114
Health expenditures4.80 (% of GDP)148
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate1.70 (%)33
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS32,000 68
HIV/AIDS - deaths1,200 64
Obesity - adult prevalence rate24.10 (%)67
Children under the age of 5 years underweight1.90 (%)118
Education expenditures6.40 (% of GDP)31
Unemployment, youth ages 15-2430.10 (%)24


Value nameValueWorld Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity)25,620,000,000 122
GDP - real growth rate0.10 (%)177
GDP - per capita (PPP)9,300 123
Labor force1,325,000 134
Unemployment rate14.20 (%)140
Distribution of family income - Gini index45.50 38
Investment (gross fixed)19.50 (% of GDP)106
Taxes and other revenues25.10 (% of GDP)123
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-6.10 (% of GDP)175
Public debt127.30 (% of GDP)7
Inflation rate (consumer prices)6.80 (%)175
Commercial bank prime lending rate19.51 (%)17
Stock of narrow money2,028,000,000 125
Stock of broad money7,309,000,000 116
Stock of domestic credit7,229,000,000 109
Market value of publicly traded shares6,626,000,000 79
Industrial production growth rate-2.00 (%)155
Current account balance-1,523,000,000 129
Exports1,718,000,000 146
Imports6,019,000,000 121
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold1,900,000,000 124
Debt - external14,600,000,000 87


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Electricity - production5,208,000,000 (kWh)118
Electricity - consumption4,801,000,000 (kWh)114
Electricity - installed generating capacity1,198,000 (kW)119
Electricity - from fossil fuels93.50 (% of total installed capacity)71
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants1.80 (% of total installed capacity)138
Electricity - from other renewable sources4.70 (% of total installed capacity)40
Crude oil - imports23,780 (bbl/day)69
Refined petroleum products - production22,790 (bbl/day)95
Refined petroleum products - consumption78,520 (bbl/day)89
Refined petroleum products - exports9,145 (bbl/day)87
Refined petroleum products - imports68,410 (bbl/day)58
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy9,217,000 (Mt)103


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Telephones - main lines in use272,100 123
Telephones - mobile cellular2,975,000 128
Internet hosts3,906 149
Internet users1,581,000 80


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Airports27 125
Roadways22,121 (km)103
Merchant marine14 102


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Military expenditures0.90 (% of GDP)144

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

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