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Virgin Islands
(territory of the US)

 
Flag of Virgin Islands
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Coordinates:
18.33 N  64.83 W

 
 
Introduction  Geography  People  Government  Economy
 
Communications  Transportation  Military  Transnational Issues

Map of Virgin Islands

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Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Virgin Islands Top of Page
Background:
Definition Field Listing
During the 17th century, the archipelago was divided into two territorial units, one English and the other Danish. Sugarcane, produced by slave labor, drove the islands' economy during the 18th and early 19th centuries. In 1917, the US purchased the Danish portion, which had been in economic decline since the abolition of slavery in 1848.
   Geography    Virgin Islands Top of Page
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
18 20 N, 64 50 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Central America and the Caribbean
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 1,910 sq km
land: 346 sq km
water: 1,564 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
twice the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
0 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
188 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
subtropical, tempered by easterly trade winds, relatively low humidity, little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season September to November
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
mostly hilly to rugged and mountainous with little level land
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Crown Mountain 475 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
sun, sand, sea, surf
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 5.71%
permanent crops: 2.86%
other: 91.43% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
several hurricanes in recent years; frequent and severe droughts and floods; occasional earthquakes
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
lack of natural freshwater resources
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
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    Virgin Islands Top of Page
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
108,605 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 22.4% (male 12,261/female 12,056)
15-64 years: 66.4% (male 34,174/female 37,949)
65 years and over: 11.2% (male 5,385/female 6,780) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 37.1 years
male: 36.2 years
female: 38 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
-0.12% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
13.96 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.43 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-8.73 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.91 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 7.86 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 8.93 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.72 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 79.05 years
male: 75.24 years
female: 83.09 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.17 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: Virgin Islander(s) (US citizens)
adjective: Virgin Islander
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
black 76.2%, white 13.1%, Asian 1.1%, other 6.1%, mixed 3.5% (2000 census)
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Baptist 42%, Roman Catholic 34%, Episcopalian 17%, other 7%
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
English 74.7%, Spanish or Spanish Creole 16.8%, French or French Creole 6.6%, other 1.9% (2000 census)
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90-95% est.
male: NA%
female: NA% (2005 est.)
   Government    Virgin Islands Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: United States Virgin Islands
conventional short form: Virgin Islands
former: Danish West Indies
Dependency status:
Definition Field Listing
organized, unincorporated territory of the US with policy relations between the Virgin Islands and the US under the jurisdiction of the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Charlotte Amalie
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
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
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Transfer Day (from Denmark to the US), 27 March (1917)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
Revised Organic Act of 22 July 1954
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on US laws
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal; island residents are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President George W. BUSH of the US (since 20 January 2001); Vice President Richard B. CHENEY (since 20 January 2001)
head of government: Governor Dr. Charles Wesley TURNBULL (since 5 January 1999)
cabinet: NA
elections: under the US Consitution, residents of unincorporated territories, such as the Virgin Islands, do not vote in elections for US president and vice president; governor and lieutenant governor elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held 5 November 2002 (next to be held November 2006)
election results: Dr. Charles Wesley TURNBULL reelected governor; percent of vote - Dr. Charles Wesley TURNBULL (Democrat) 50.5%, John de JONGH 24.4%
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral Senate (15 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve two-year terms)
elections: last held 2 November 2004 (next to be held 7 November 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Democratic Party 10, ICM 4, independent 1
note: the Virgin Islands elects one non-voting representative to the US House of Representatives; election last held 6 November 2002 (next to be held 2 November 2004); results - Donna M. CHRISTIAN-CHRISTENSON (Democrat) reelected
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
US District Court of the Virgin Islands (under Third Circuit jurisdiction); Territorial Court (judges appointed by the governor for 10-year terms)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Democratic Party [Arturo WATLINGTON]; Independent Citizens' Movement or ICM [Usie RICHARDS]; Republican Party [Gary SPRAUVE]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
NA
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
IOC, UPU
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
none (territory of the US)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
none (territory of the US)
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
white, 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 one talon and three arrows in the other with a superimposed shield of vertical red and white stripes below a blue panel
   Economy    Virgin Islands Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Tourism is the primary economic activity, accounting for 80% of GDP and employment. The islands normally host 2 million visitors a year. The manufacturing sector consists of petroleum refining, textiles, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and watch assembly. The agricultural sector is small, with most food being imported. International business and financial services are small but growing components of the economy. One of the world's largest petroleum refineries is at Saint Croix. The islands are subject to substantial 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):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.577 billion (2004 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
NA
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$14,500 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 1%
industry: 19%
services: 80% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
43,980 (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 1%
industry: 19%
services: 80% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.2% (2004)
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
2.2% (2003)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
fruit, vegetables, sorghum; Senepol cattle
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
tourism, petroleum refining, watch assembly, rum distilling, construction, pharmaceuticals, textiles, electronics
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA%
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.04 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
967.3 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
14,650 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
105,000 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
$NA
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
refined petroleum products
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US, Puerto Rico (2004)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$NA
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
crude oil, foodstuffs, consumer goods, building materials
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US, Puerto Rico (2004)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$NA
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 October - 30 September
   Communications    Virgin Islands Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
70,900 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
41,000 (2002)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
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; 2 submarine cable connections (Taino Carib, Americas-1); satellite earth stations - NA
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 6, FM 16, shortwave 0 (2006)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
5 (2006)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.vi
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,818 (2005)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
30,000 (2002)
   Transportation    Virgin Islands Top of Page
Airports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2005)
Roadways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 1,257 km (2004)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Charlotte Amalie, Limetree Bay
   Military    Virgin Islands Top of Page
Military - note:
Definition Field Listing
defense is the responsibility of the US
   Transnational Issues    Virgin Islands Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
none

This page was last updated on 20 July, 2006


Source: CIA Factbook