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Jamaica

  • Capital Kingston (17°58´N 76°47´W)
  • International airport(s) Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay; Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston; Ian Fleming International Airport, Ocho Rios
  • Official language(s) English
  • Currency Jamaican dollar (JMD)
  • Time UTC -5
  • Region Caribbean
GeographyClimateEconomyCulture
Jamaica lies in the Caribbean Sea, located 145 km south of Cuba between the Cayman Trench and the Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for the Panama Canal. Its land area is 10 830 km2, making it the third largest island in the Caribbean after Cuba and Hispaniola. Kingston is the world's seventh‐largest harbour.

Jamaica is mostly mountainous, with a narrow and irregular coastal plain, and is itself the tip of a submerged mountain. It can be divided in three geographical regions: the eastern mountains, the central valleys and plateaus, and the coastal plains. About two‐thirds of the island, especially the central and western sections, are covered with a thick layer of limestone formed from remnants of corals and seashells.

A remote region in the central valleys and plateaus, known as Cockpit Country, is famous for its unusual limestone landscape with sinkholes (cockpits), as much as 120 m deep in places.
Jamaica's climate is tropical, influenced by the ocean and northeast trade winds. It is hot and humid on the coasts and temperate inland. The monthly average temperatures range from 24 to 27 °C -—
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. Along the coast temperatures range between 22 to 31 °C, and from 15 to 22 °C at higher elevations. Temperatures may dip to as low as ‐10 °C in the peaks of the Blue Mountains.

Rainfall is seasonal, with May, September, October and November as the wettest months. Average annual rainfall is about 2 100 mm, but considerable variations occur from one year to another and from one region to another. The dry season lasts from December to April, occasionally turning into extended drought. -—
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Jamaica lies at the edge of the Atlantic hurricane belt. As a result, it is largely left untouched by hurricanes and tropical storms, which make a direct strike only every 11 years on average. The most destructive were hurricanes Charlie (1951) and Gilbert (1988). Earthquakes occur more often than hurricanes, as the island is located near the northern edge of the Caribbean Plate.
Jamaica's economy is heavily dependent on services, which account for around 70 per cent of GDP since 2000. Remittances from abroad (16 per cent of GDP) and tourism constitute an important source of foreign exchange. -—
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Jamaica received over 4.2 million tourist arrivals in 2019 with an inbound tourism expenditure of almost 22 per cent over GDP -—
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. Agriculture, forestry and fishing account for 8 per cent of GDP and provide one sixth of employment. The main agricultural products include sugarcane, bananas, coconuts, oranges, coffee, cacao and ginger. Jamaica is one of the world's largest exporters and producers of rum, and it exports some beer as well. Jamaica is a large producer of bauxite and alumina. The main manufacturing products are processed foods, textiles, metal and petroleum products, and key destinations include the United States of America, the Netherlands, Canada and Iceland.
Jamaica's folk music includes Mento, which is a form of music and dance with roots in Africa. It has greatly influenced reggae music. Its most famous performer, Robert 'Bob' Marley, was born in Jamaica.

Sports play an important role in the country's culture. Cricket, athletics, football and netball are the most popular sports. Widely known Jamaican sprinters are Usain Bolt and Shelly‐Ann Fraser‐Pryce.

Although Jamaica is a tropical nation, it has a Bobsled team which competes in the Winter Olympics. The 1988 Winter Olympics Jamaican bobsled team inspired the popular Disney film 'Cool Runnings'.
Land areakm2
Arable land%
Forest area%
Coastline
lengthkm
Exclusive economic zonekm2
Nearest
neighbourkm
Economic trendsMaritime transportPopulationInternational tradeEnvironmentInformation and communications technology
Gross domestic product
US dollars at constant prices (2015) in millions
GDP per capita

2019

US$

Productive Capacity Index

2018

Economic and environmental vulnerability index

2019

Consumer Price Index growth

2019

%

Unemployment
rate

Total %
Female %, Male %
Main economic sectors, 2019
Percentage of GDP
Tourist arrivals
Thousands of tourists, percentage of GDP
External financial resources
Percentage of GDP
Public debt as % of GDP

2018

%

Fleet size
Number of ships
Ship type20112019
Total fleet1 4071 407
Oil tankers264266
Bulk carriers311333
General cargo16177
Container ships5249
Other types of ships619682
Port performance
Ranked by 2019 data within SIDS group
Indicators2019SIDS Ranking
Number of port calls3 8335
Median time in port (days)18
Average age of vessels1425
Average size (GT) of vessels30 94712
Container port throuput

2019

TEU

Bilateral connectivity index, 2019
Top 5 partners
Liner shipping connectivity index
Maximum China Q1 2006=100
Total population
Thousands of people, share of urban population
Population development indicators
IndicatorsPeriodValue
Poverty headcount (% of population)20041.7
Human development index20180.7
Human assets index202091
Adult literacy rate (15+ years, both sexes %)....
Gender inequality index20190.4
Life expectancy at birth

years

Population density

2019

persons per km2
Dependency
ratio

2019

Child:
Old-age:
Age structure by gender, 2019
Percentage of total population
Merchandise and services trade
US dollars in millions
Indicators20052010201520192019 (% of GDP)
Merchandise exports1 5321 3281 2631 58610
Merchandise imports4 7395 2254 9936 33940
Services exports2 3302 6343 0594 33627.4
Services imports1 7221 8242 1612 68817
Trade openness
Goods and services

% of GDP

Export concentration index

2019

Food import
dependency
Average 2015-2019

Top 5 partners in merchandise trade, 2019
Exports in millions US dollars
Merchandise exports by product group, 2019
Services exports by category, 2019
CO2 emissions per capita
Kg per capita
CO2 emissions per GDP
Kg per 2010 US$ of GDP
Renewable energy share in total energy consumption, 2017
Percentage of total energy consumption
Material
footprint
per capita

2016

kg

Terrestrial
protected
area

2018

%

Marine
protected
area

2018

%

Disasters indicators
Data not available
Trade in ICT goods

Exports: %
Imports: %
Trade in ICT services

Exports: %
Imports: %
Share of
internet users

%

Fixed broadband vs Mobile broadband subscriptions
Number of subscriptions per 100 people
Sources
Source of data: -—
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except indicators listed below.
References
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