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British Virgin Islands
(overseas territory of the UK)

 
Flag of British Virgin Islands
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Coordinates:
18.50 N  64.50 W

 
 
Introduction  Geography  People  Government  Economy
 
Communications  Transportation  Military  Transnational Issues

Map of British Virgin Islands

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Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    British Virgin Islands Top of Page
Background:
Definition Field Listing
First settled by the Dutch in 1648, the islands were annexed in 1672 by the English. The economy is closely tied to the larger and more populous US Virgin Islands to the west; the US dollar is the legal currency.
   Geography    British Virgin Islands Top of Page
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Caribbean, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
18 30 N, 64 30 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Central America and the Caribbean
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 153 sq km
land: 153 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: comprised of 16 inhabited and more than 20 uninhabited islands; includes the islands of Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Jost van Dyke
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
about 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
0 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
80 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 3 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
subtropical; humid; temperatures moderated by trade winds
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
coral islands relatively flat; volcanic islands steep, hilly
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Sage 521 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
NEGL
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 20%
permanent crops: 6.67%
other: 73.33% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October)
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
limited natural fresh water resources (except for a few seasonal streams and springs on Tortola, most of the islands' water supply comes from wells and rainwater catchments)
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
strong ties to nearby US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico
   People    British Virgin Islands Top of Page
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
23,098 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 20.5% (male 2,403/female 2,331)
15-64 years: 74.3% (male 8,811/female 8,340)
65 years and over: 5.3% (male 636/female 577) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 31.4 years
male: 31.6 years
female: 31.2 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.97% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
14.89 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.42 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
9.22 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.1 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 16.72 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 19.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 76.68 years
male: 75.56 years
female: 77.84 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.72 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: British Virgin Islander(s)
adjective: British Virgin Islander
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
black 83%, white, Indian, Asian and mixed
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Protestant 86% (Methodist 33%, Anglican 17%, Church of God 9%, Seventh-Day Adventist 6%, Baptist 4%, Jehovah's Witnesses 2%, other 15%), Roman Catholic 10%, none 2%, other 2% (1991)
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
English (official)
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.8% (1991 est.)
male: NA%
female: NA%
   Government    British Virgin Islands Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: British Virgin Islands
abbreviation: BVI
Dependency status:
Definition Field Listing
overseas territory of the UK; internal self-governing
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Road Town
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
none (overseas territory of the UK)
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
none (overseas territory of the UK)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Territory Day, 1 July
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
1 June 1977, amended in 2000
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
English law
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor David PEAREY (since 18 April 2006)
head of government: Chief Minister Dr. Orlando D. SMITH (since 17 June 2003)
cabinet: Executive Council appointed by the governor from members of the Legislative Council
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed chief minister by the governor
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral Legislative Council (13 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote, 1 member from each of nine electoral districts, 4 at-large members; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 16 May 2003 (next to be held in 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NDP 8, VIP 5
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, consisting of the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal (one judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of the islands and presides over the High Court); Magistrate's Court; Juvenile Court; Court of Summary Jurisdiction
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Concerned Citizens Movement or CCM [Ethlyn SMITH]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Orlando SMITH]; United Party or UP [Gregory MADURO]; Virgin Islands Party or VIP [Ralph T. O'NEAL]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
NA
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Caricom (associate), CDB, Interpol (subbureau), IOC, OECS (associate), UNESCO (associate), UPU
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
none (overseas territory of the UK)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
none (overseas territory of the UK)
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
blue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Virgin Islander coat of arms centered in the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms depicts a woman flanked on either side by a vertical column of six oil lamps above a scroll bearing the Latin word VIGILATE (Be Watchful)
   Economy    British Virgin Islands Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
The economy, one of the most stable and prosperous in the Caribbean, is highly dependent on tourism, generating an estimated 45% of the national income. An estimated 350,000 tourists, mainly from the US, visited the islands in 1998. Tourism suffered in 2002 because of the lackluster US economy. In the mid-1980s, the government began offering offshore registration to companies wishing to incorporate in the islands, and incorporation fees now generate substantial revenues. Roughly 400,000 companies were on the offshore registry by yearend 2000. The adoption of a comprehensive insurance law in late 1994, which provides a blanket of confidentiality with regulated statutory gateways for investigation of criminal offenses, made the British Virgin Islands even more attractive to international business. Livestock raising is the most important agricultural activity; poor soils limit the islands' ability to meet domestic food requirements. Because of traditionally close links with the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands has used the US dollar as its currency since 1959.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$853.4 million (2004 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
NA
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$38,500 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 1.8%
industry: 6.2%
services: 92% (1996 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12,770 (2004)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3% (1995)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.5% (2003)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $121.5 million
expenditures: $115.5 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (1997)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
fruits, vegetables; livestock, poultry; fish
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
tourism, light industry, construction, rum, concrete block, offshore financial center
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA%
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
34.55 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
32.13 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2003)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
410 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$25.3 million (2002)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
rum, fresh fish, fruits, animals; gravel, sand
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Virgin Islands (US), Puerto Rico, US (2004)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$187 million (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
building materials, automobiles, foodstuffs, machinery
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Virgin Islands (US), Puerto Rico, US (2004)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$36.1 million (1997)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$NA
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
US dollar (USD)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
the US dollar is used
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 April - 31 March
   Communications    British Virgin Islands Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
11,700 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8,000 (2002)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: worldwide telephone service
domestic: NA
international: country code - 1-284; submarine cable to Bermuda
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 0 (2004)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
1 (plus one cable company) (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.vg
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
480 (2005)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4,000 (2002)
   Transportation    British Virgin Islands Top of Page
Airports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2005)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2005)
Roadways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 177 km
paved: 177 km (2002)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
registered in other countries: 1 (North Korea 1) (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Road Town
   Military    British Virgin Islands Top of Page
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 6,410 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 5,295 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 201 (2005 est.)
Military - note:
Definition Field Listing
defense is the responsibility of the UK
   Transnational Issues    British Virgin Islands Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
none
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for the US and Europe; large offshore financial center makes it vulnerable to money laundering

This page was last updated on 20 July, 2006


Source: CIA Factbook