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Country summary





Government type

constitutional parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm


2,825,928 (July 2010 est.)[1]

Population growth

0.755% (2010 est.)[1]

Life expectancy

73.53 years[1]


12.9% (2009 est.)[1]

Index of Economic Freedom


Corruption Perceptions Index


Doing Business ranking


The island - discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino Indians, 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 obtained increasing 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.[1]

Economical characteristics

  • Currency: Jamaican dollar (ISO code: JMD)
  • Central bank discount rate: NA%[1]
  • Commercial banks lending rate: 16.83% (31 December 2008)[1]
  • Stock of money (M1): $1.253 billion (31 December 2008)[1]
  • Quasi money (with M1 makes M2): $4.244 billion (31 December 2008)[1]

Notable events:


Statistic / Year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
GDP (million USD)[6] 8 831 9 009 9 105 9 677 9 399 10 135 11 152 11 989 12 849 14 614
Govt. debt (% of GDP)[7] 122.486 122.002 117.121 112.559 112.889
Govt. revenue (% of GDP)[8] 31.448 30.944 31.491 32.176 29.149
Govt. expenses (% of GDP)[9] 34.430 31.017 32.314 34.120 33.245
Debt to revenue (years) 3.895 3.943 3.719 3.498 3.873


Note: statistical data was rounded. Different sources may use different methodologies for their estimates. Debt to revenue is calculated by dividing the two variables from their original ('unrounded') values. It represents how long it would a government take to repay its entire debt if it used its whole revenue for this purpose.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 CIA - The World Factbook. "Jamaica", from The World Factbook. Referenced 2010-09-30.
  2. Heritage Foundation. "Jamaica", Economic Freedom Score. A lower ranking is better; but please be careful when comparing between different countries or years. Referenced 2010-09-30.
  3. Transparency International. "Jamaica", Corruption Perceptions Index 2009. A lower ranking is better; but please note that the numbers cannot be compared between countries or years due to different methodology. Referenced 2010-09-30.
  4. Doing Business. "Jamaica", Doing Business 2010 (part of The World Bank Group). A lower ranking is better; but please be careful when comparing between different countries or years. Referenced 2010-09-30.
  5. Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff. "This Time is Different", Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0-691-14216-6, p. 370. (The list does not claim to be complete.) Referenced 2011-07-20.
  6. World Bank. "Jamaica: GDP", from World Bank Data. Referenced 2010-09-30.
  7. World Bank. "Jamaica: government debt", from World Bank Data. Referenced 2010-09-30.
  8. World Bank. "Jamaica: government revenue", from World Bank Data. Referenced 2010-09-30.
  9. World Bank. "Jamaica: government expenses", from World Bank Data. Referenced 2010-09-30.