Virgin Islands( Central America and Caribbean )


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Background:
The Danes secured control over the southern Virgin Islands of Saint Thomas, Saint John, and Saint Croix during the 17th and early 18th centuries. Sugarcane, produced by African slave labor, drove the islands' economy during the 18th and early 19th centuries. In 1917, the US purchased the Danish holdings, which had been in economic decline since the abolition of slavery in 1848.
Geography
Location:
Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico
Geographic coordinates:
18 20 N, 64 50 W
Area:
total: 1,910 sq km
land: 346 sq km
water: 1,564 sq km
Area comparative:
twice the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
Coastline:
188 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:
subtropical, tempered by easterly trade winds, relatively low humidity, little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season September to November
Terrain:
mostly hilly to rugged and mountainous with little level land
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Crown Mountain 474 m
Natural resources:
sun, sand, sea, surf
Land use:
arable land: 2.86%
permanent crops: 2.86%
other: 94.29% (2011)
Irrigated land:
1 sq km (2011)
Total renewable water resources:
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic or industrial or agricultural):
Natural hazards:
several hurricanes in recent years; frequent and severe droughts and floods; occasional earthquakes
Environment current issues:
lack of natural freshwater resources
Environment international agreements:
Geography note:
important location along the Anegada Passage - a key shipping lane for the Panama Canal; Saint Thomas has one of the best natural deepwater harbors in the Caribbean
People and Society
Nationality:
noun: Virgin Islander(s) (US citizens)
adjective: Virgin Islander
Ethnic groups:
black 76.2%, white 13.1%, Asian 1.1%, other 6.1%, mixed 3.5% (2000 census)
Languages:
English 74.7%, Spanish or Spanish Creole 16.8%, French or French Creole 6.6%, other 1.9% (2000 census)
Religions:
Protestant 59% (Baptist 42%, Episcopalian 17%), Roman Catholic 34%, other 7%
Population:
104,170 (July 2014 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 17.8% (male 9,386/female 9,207)
15-24 years: 10.3% (male 4,931/female 5,801)
25-54 years: 39% (male 18,350/female 22,231)
55-64 years: 14.3% (male 7,123/female 7,796)
65 years and over: 17.8% (male 8,758/female 10,587) (2014 est.)
Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 60.2 %
youth dependency ratio: 33.3 %
elderly dependency ratio: 26.9 %
potential support ratio: 3.7 (2014 est.)
Median age:
total: 44.2 years
male: 44.5 years
female: 44 years (2014 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.56% (2014 est.)
Birth rate:
10.49 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Death rate:
8.24 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Net migration rate:
-7.84 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Urbanization:
urban population: 95.5% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: -0.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas population:
CHARLOTTE AMALIE (capital) 60,000 (2011)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.85 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.83 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.87 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.88 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 6.79 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.03 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
Maternal mortality rate:
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.75 years
male: 76.7 years
female: 82.97 years (2014 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.75 children born/woman (2014 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate:
78.4%
note: percent of women aged 18-44 (2002)
Health expenditures:
Physicians density:
Hospital bed density:
Drinking water source:
improved: urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved: urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2012 est.)
Sanitation facility access:
improved: urban: 96.4% of population
rural: 96.4% of population
total: 96.4% of population
unimproved: urban: 3.6% of population
rural: 3.6% of population
total: 3.6% of population (2012 est.)
HIV or AIDS adult prevalence rate:
NA
HIV or AIDS people living with HIV or AIDS:
NA
HIV or AIDS deaths:
NA
Obesity adult prevalence rate:
Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
Education expenditures:
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90-95% est.
male: NA
female: NA (2005 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
Child labor children ages 5-14:
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
Government
Country name:
conventional long form: United States Virgin Islands
conventional short form: Virgin Islands
former: Danish West Indies
abbreviation: USVI
Government type:
NA
Capital:
name: Charlotte Amalie
geographic coordinates: 18 21 N, 64 56 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
none (territory of the US); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are three islands at the second order; Saint Croix, Saint John, Saint Thomas
Independence:
none (territory of the US)
National holiday:
Transfer Day (from Denmark to the US), 31 March (1917)
Constitution:
22 July 1954 - the Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands functions as a constitution for this territory of the US (2013)
Legal system:
US common law
International law organization participation:
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal; note - island residents are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Barack H. OBAMA (since 20 January 2009); Vice President Joseph R. BIDEN (since 20 January 2009)
head of government: Governor John DeJONGH (since 1 January 2007)
cabinet: NA
elections: under the US Constitution, residents of unincorporated territories, such as the Virgin Islands, do not vote in elections for US president and vice president; however, they may vote in the Democratic and Republican presidential primary elections; governor and lieutenant governor elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held on 2 November 2010 (next to be held in November 2014)
election results: John DeJONGH reelected governor; percent of vote - John DeJONGH 56.3%, Kenneth MAPP 43.6%
Legislative branch:
unicameral Senate (15 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve two-year terms)
elections: last held on 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2014)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Democratic Party 10, ICM 2, independent 3
note: the Virgin Islands elects one non-voting representative to the US House of Representatives; election last held 6 November 2012 (next to be held on November 2014)
Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands (consists of the chief justice and 2 associate justices); note - court established by US Congress in 2004 and assumed appellate jurisdiction in 2007
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Virgin Islands Senate; justices initially serve renewable 10-year terms; chief justice elected to position by peers for a 3-year term
subordinate courts: Superior Court (renamed in 2004 vice the Territorial Court); US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (has appellate jurisdiction over the District Court of the Virgin Islands; it is a territorial court and is not associated with a US federal judicial district); District Court of the Virgin Islands
Political parties and leaders:
Democratic Party [Arturo WATLINGTON]
Independent Citizens' Movement or ICM [Usie RICHARDS]
Republican Party [Gary SPRAUVE]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA
International organization participation:
IOC, UPU, WFTU (NGOs)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (territory of the US)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (territory of the US)
Flag description:
white field with a modified US coat of arms in the center between the large blue initials V and I; the coat of arms shows a yellow eagle holding an olive branch in its right talon and three arrows in the left with a superimposed shield of seven red and six white vertical stripes below a blue panel; white is a symbol of purity, the letters stand for the Virgin Islands
National symbol(s):
National anthem:
name: "Virgin Islands March"
lyrics/music: multiple/Alton Augustus ADAMS, Sr.
note: adopted 1963; serves as a local anthem; as a territory of the United States, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is official (see United States)
Economy
Economy overview:
Tourism, trade, and other services are the primary economic activities, accounting for roughly 57% of GDP and about half of total civilian employment in 2010. The islands hosted nearly 2.74 million visitors - 2.2 million cruise ship and 536,000 air passengers - in 2011. Industry and government each account for about one-fifth of GDP. The manufacturing sector consists of rum distilling, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and watch assembly. The agriculture sector is small, with most food being imported. The islands are vulnerable to damage from storms. The government is working to improve fiscal discipline, to support construction projects in the private sector, to expand tourist facilities, to reduce crime, and to protect the environment.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.577 billion (2004 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$NA
GDP real growth rate:
2% (2002 est.)
GDP per capita (PPP):
$14,500 (2004 est.)
Gross national saving:
GDP composition, by end use:
GDP composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 19%
services: 80% (2003 est.)
Agriculture products:
fruit, vegetables, sorghum; Senepol cattle
Industries:
tourism, watch assembly, rum distilling, construction, pharmaceuticals, electronics
Industrial production growth rate:
NA%
Labor force:
49,820 (2007 est.)
Labor force by occupation:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 19%
services: 80% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate:
6.2% (2004)
Population below poverty line:
28.9% (2002)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income Gini index:
Budget:
revenues: $837 million
expenditures: $837 million (FY08/09)
Taxes and other revenues:
Budget surplus or deficit:
Public debt:
Fiscal year:
1 October - 30 September
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.2% (2003)
Central bank discount rate:
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
Stock of narrow money:
Stock of broad money:
Stock of domestic credit:
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Current account balance:
Exports:
$4.234 billion (2001)
Exports commodities:
refined petroleum products
Exports partners:
Imports:
$4.609 billion (2001)
Imports commodities:
crude oil, foodstuffs, consumer goods, building materials
Imports partners:
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Debt external:
$NA
Stock of direct foreign investment at home:
Stock of direct foreign investment abroad:
Exchange rates:
the US dollar is used
Energy
Electricity production:
794 million kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity consumption:
767.3 million kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity exports:
0 kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity imports:
0 kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity installed generating capacity:
323,000 kW (2010 est.)
Electricity from fossil fuels:
100% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from hydroelectric plants:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from other renewable sources:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Crude oil production:
14,880 bbl/day (2012 est.)
Crude oil exports:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil imports:
402,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products production:
423,900 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products consumption:
106,100 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products exports:
316,100 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products imports:
5,732 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Natural gas production:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas consumption:
0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas exports:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas imports:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
18.59 million Mt (2011 est.)
Communications
Telephones mobile cellular:
80,300 (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern system with total digital switching, uses fiber-optic cable and microwave radio relay
domestic: full range of services available
international: country code - 1-340; submarine cable connections to US, the Caribbean, Central and South America; satellite earth stations - NA (2010)
Telephones main lines in use:
75,800 (2010)
Broadcast media:
about a dozen TV broadcast stations including 1 public TV station; multi-channel cable and satellite TV services are available; 24 radio stations (2009)
Internet country code:
.vi
Internet users:
30,000 (2009)
Internet hosts:
4,790 (2012)
Transportation
Airports:
2 (2013)
Airports with paved runways:
total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
Airports with unpaved runways:
Heliports:
Pipelines:
Railways:
Roadways:
total: 1,260 km (2008)
Merchant marine:
Ports and terminals:
major seaport(s): Charlotte Amalie, Christiansted, Cruz Bay, Frederiksted, Limetree Bay
Military
Military branches:
Military service age and obligation:
Manpower available for military service:
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 17,542
females age 16-49: 20,946 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 744
female: 788 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
Transnational Issues
Disputes international:
none
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Trafficking in persons: