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The World Factbook 2002

         
  British Virgin Islands  
Flag of British Virgin Islands
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  Introduction
  Geography
  People
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  Economy
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  Transportation
  Military
  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.


This page was last updated on 1 January 2002


Map of British Virgin Islands

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    British Virgin Islands
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
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
total: 153 sq km
note: comprised of 16 inhabited and more than 20 uninhabited islands; includes the island of Anegada
water: 0 sq km
land: 153 sq km
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
exclusive fishing zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 3 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: 7%
other: 73% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
NA sq km
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
Population:
Definition Field Listing
21,272 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 22.4% (male 2,401; female 2,351)
15-64 years: 72.7% (male 7,962; female 7,509)
65 years and over: 4.9% (male 565; female 484) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.16% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing
15.09 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing
4.42 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
10.91 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.17 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing
19.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing
total population: 75.85 years
female: 76.84 years (2002 est.)
male: 74.9 years
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.72 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing
NA%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing
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 2%), 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
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
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 Francis J. SAVAGE (since NA)
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; chief minister appointed by the governor from among the members of the Legislative Council
head of government: Chief Minister Ralph T. O'NEAL (since 15 May 1995)
cabinet: Executive Council appointed by the governor from members of the Legislative Council
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral Legislative Council (13 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote, one member from each of 9 electoral districts, four at-large members; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 17 May 1999 (next to be held NA 2003)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - VIP 7, CCM 1, NDP 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, ECLAC (associate), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, OECS (associate), UNESCO (associate)
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
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. 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, is expected to make 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 dollar as its currency since 1959.
GDP:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $311 million (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
4.4% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $16,000 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 1.8%
industry: 6.2%
services: 92% (1996 est.)
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
3.3% (2000)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing
4,911 (1980)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing
3% (1995)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $121.5 million
expenditures: $115.5 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997)
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
tourism, light industry, construction, rum, concrete block, offshore financial center
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
4% (1985)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing
42 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (1999)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
39.1 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (1999)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
fruits, vegetables; livestock, poultry; fish
Exports:
Definition Field Listing
$6.2 million (2000 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
rum, fresh fish, fruits, animals; gravel, sand
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Virgin Islands (US), Puerto Rico, US
Imports:
Definition Field Listing
$230 million (2000 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
building materials, automobiles, foodstuffs, machinery
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Virgin Islands (US), Puerto Rico, US
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing
$36.1 million (1997)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Currency:
Definition Field Listing
US dollar (USD)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
USD
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
the US dollar is used
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 April - 31 March
   Communications    British Virgin Islands
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing
10,000 (1996)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: worldwide telephone service
domestic: NA
international: submarine cable to Bermuda
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios:
Definition Field Listing
9,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
1 (plus one cable company) (1997)
Televisions:
Definition Field Listing
4,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.vg
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
16 (2000)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing
NA
   Transportation    British Virgin Islands
Railways:
Definition Field Listing
0 km
Highways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 177 km
paved: 177 km
unpaved: 0 km (2000)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing
none
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Road Town
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 70,285 GRT/6,946 DWT
ships by type: passenger 1 (2002 est.)
Airports:
Definition Field Listing
3 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2001)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2001)
   Military    British Virgin Islands
Military - note:
Definition Field Listing
defense is the responsibility of the UK
   Transnational Issues    British Virgin Islands
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
none
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for the US and Europe

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002


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