page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Barbados
Location of Barbados
 
Map of Barbados
Introduction ::Barbados
The island was uninhabited when first settled by the British in 1627. Slaves worked the sugar plantations established on the island until 1834 when slavery was abolished. The economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century. The gradual introduction of social and political reforms in the 1940s and 1950s led to complete independence from the UK in 1966. In the 1990s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance.
Geography ::Barbados
Caribbean, island in the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela
13 10 N, 59 32 W
total: 430 sq km
country comparison to the world: 200
land: 430 sq km
water: 0 sq km
2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
0 km
97 km
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
tropical; rainy season (June to October)
relatively flat; rises gently to central highland region
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Hillaby 336 m
petroleum, fish, natural gas
arable land: 37.21%
permanent crops: 2.33%
other: 60.46% (2005)
50 sq km (2003)
0.1 cu km (2003)
total: 0.09 cu km/yr (33%/44%/22%)
per capita: 333 cu m/yr (2000)
infrequent hurricanes; periodic landslides
pollution of coastal waters from waste disposal by ships; soil erosion; illegal solid waste disposal threatens contamination of aquifers
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
easternmost Caribbean island
People ::Barbados
284,589 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
0-14 years: 19.2% (male 27,383/female 27,352)
15-64 years: 71.3% (male 99,829/female 103,049)
65 years and over: 9.5% (male 10,464/female 16,512) (2009 est.)
total: 35.8 years
male: 34.7 years
female: 36.9 years (2009 est.)
0.383% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
12.55 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
8.41 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
-0.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
urban population: 40% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.01 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.63 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 12.29 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 143
male: 13.89 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.67 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 73.94 years
country comparison to the world: 95
male: 71.65 years
female: 76.26 years (2009 est.)
1.68 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
1.2% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49
2,200 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
fewer than 100 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
noun: Barbadian(s) or Bajan (colloquial)
adjective: Barbadian or Bajan (colloquial)
black 90%, white 4%, Asian and mixed 6%
Protestant 63.4% (Anglican 28.3%, Pentecostal 18.7%, Methodist 5.1%, other 11.3%), Roman Catholic 4.2%, other Christian 7%, other 4.8%, none or unspecified 20.6% (2008 est.)
English
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 99.7%
male: 99.7%
female: 99.7% (2002 est.)
total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2001)
6.9% of GDP (2005)
country comparison to the world: 24
Government ::Barbados
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Barbados
parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
name: Bridgetown
geographic coordinates: 13 06 N, 59 37 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
11 parishes and 1 city*; Bridgetown*, Christ Church, Saint Andrew, Saint George, Saint James, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Lucy, Saint Michael, Saint Peter, Saint Philip, Saint Thomas
30 November 1966 (from the UK)
Independence Day, 30 November (1966)
30 November 1966
English common law; no judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
18 years of age; universal
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Clifford Straughn HUSBANDS (since 1 June 1996)
head of government: Prime Minister David THOMPSON (since 16 January 2008)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; the prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister
bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (21 seats; members appointed by the governor general - 12 on the advice of the Prime Minister, 2 on the advice of the opposition leader, and 7 at his discretion) and the House of Assembly (30 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Assembly - last held 15 January 2008 (next to be called in 2013)
election results: House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - DLP 52.5%, BLP 47.3%; seats by party - DLP 20, BLP 10
Supreme Court of Judicature consists of a High Court and a Court of Appeal (judges are appointed by the Service Commissions for the Judicial and Legal Services); Caribbean Court of Justice or CCJ is the highest court of appeal; based in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Barbados Labor Party or BLP [Mia MOTTLEY]; Democratic Labor Party or DLP [David THOMPSON]; People's Empowerment Party or PEP [David COMISSIONG]
Barbados Secondary Teachers' Union or BSTU [Patrick FROST]; Barbados Union of Teachers or BUT [Herbert GITTENS]; Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados or CTUSAB, (includes the BWU, NUPW, BUT, and BSTU) [Leroy TROTMAN]; Barbados Workers Union or BWU [Leroy TROTMAN]; Clement Payne Labor Union [David COMISSIONG]; National Union of Public Workers [Joseph GODDARD]
ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
chief of mission: Ambassador John BEALE
chancery: 2144 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-9200
FAX: [1] (202) 332-7467
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York
consulate(s): Los Angeles
chief of mission: Ambassador Mary M. OURISMAN
embassy: U.S. Embassy, Wildey Business Park, Wildey, St. Michael BB 14006
mailing address: P. O. Box 302, Bridgetown BB 11000; CMR 1014, APO AA 34055
telephone: [1] (246) 227-4399
FAX: [1] (246) 431-0179
three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), gold, and blue with the head of a black trident centered on the gold band; the band colors represent the blue of the sea and sky and the gold of the beaches; the trident head represents independence and a break with the past (the colonial coat of arms contained a complete trident)
Economy ::Barbados
Historically, the Barbadian economy was dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities. However, in recent years the economy has diversified into light industry and tourism with about three-quarters of GDP and 80% of exports being attributed to services. Growth has rebounded since 2003, bolstered by increases in construction projects and tourism revenues, reflecting its success in the higher-end segment, but the sector will likely face declining revenues with the global economic downturn. The country enjoys one of the highest per capita incomes in the region. Offshore finance and information services are important foreign exchange earners and thrive from having the same time zone as eastern US financial centers and a relatively highly educated workforce. The government continues its efforts to reduce unemployment, to encourage direct foreign investment, and to privatize remaining state-owned enterprises. The public debt-to-GDP ratio of about 80% will likely widen as the THOMPSON administration engages in a more expansionary fiscal policy.
$5.425 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
$5.388 billion (2007 est.)
$5.216 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$3.682 billion (2008 est.)
0.7% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187
3.3% (2007 est.)
3.9% (2006 est.)
$19,100 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
$19,100 (2007 est.)
$18,500 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 6%
industry: 16%
services: 78% (2000 est.)
175,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169
agriculture: 10%
industry: 15%
services: 75% (1996 est.)
10.7% (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
NA%
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
revenues: $847 million (including grants)
expenditures: $886 million (2000 est.)
5.5% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 24
12% (31 December 2007)
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 77
10.8% (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 104
$1.478 billion (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 97
$2.717 billion (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 104
$3.533 billion (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 85
$5.599 billion (31 December 2007)
$4.954 billion (31 December 2006)
sugarcane, vegetables, cotton
tourism, sugar, light manufacturing, component assembly for export
-3.2% (2000 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
1.003 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
939.9 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 kWh (2008 est.)
1,100 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
9,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
1,750 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
10,390 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139
2.17 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
29.17 million cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
29.17 million cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 201
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 200
141.6 million cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
$-254 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
$385 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 168
manufactures, sugar and molasses, rum, other foods and beverages, chemicals, electrical components
Trinidad and Tobago 15.5%, Jamaica 13.6%, Brazil 9.9%, US 8.6%, UK 7.8%, Saint Lucia 7.2%, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 4.5% (2008)
$1.586 billion (2006)
country comparison to the world: 157
consumer goods, machinery, foodstuffs, construction materials, chemicals, fuel, electrical components
US 27.8%, Trinidad and Tobago 26.3%, Russia 7.3%, Germany 4.2% (2008)
$620 million (2007)
country comparison to the world: 135
$620 million (2007)
$668 million (2003)
country comparison to the world: 159
Barbadian dollars (BBD) per US dollar - NA (2007), 2 (2006), 2 (2005), 2 (2004), 2 (2003)
Communications ::Barbados
150,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 132
406,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 160
general assessment: fixed-line teledensity of roughly 50 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone density approaching 150 per 100 persons
domestic: island-wide automatic telephone system
international: country code - 1-246; landing point for the East Caribbean Fiber System (ECFS) submarine cable with links to 13 other islands in the eastern Caribbean extending from the British Virgin Islands to Trinidad; satellite earth stations - 1 (Intelsat -Atlantic Ocean); tropospheric scatter to Trinidad and Saint Lucia (2008)
AM 2, FM 6, shortwave 0 (2004)
1 (plus 2 cable channels) (2004)
.bb
235 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 185
188,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 139
Transportation ::Barbados
1 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 212
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2009)
total: 1,600 km
country comparison to the world: 176
paved: 1,600 km (2004)
total: 85
country comparison to the world: 53
by type: bulk carrier 15, cargo 50, chemical tanker 7, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 3, refrigerated cargo 6, roll on/roll off 2
foreign-owned: 80 (Canada 9, Greece 12, India 1, Iran 2, Lebanon 1, Norway 38, Sweden 7, Syria 1, UK 9)
registered in other countries: 1 (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1) (2008)
Bridgetown
Military ::Barbados
Royal Barbados Defense Force: Troops Command, Barbados Coast Guard (2009)
18 years of age for voluntary military service (younger requires parental consent); no conscription (2008)
males age 16-49: 75,265
females age 16-49: 75,389 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 58,596
females age 16-49: 58,866 (2009 est.)
male: 2,015
female: 2,007 (2009 est.)
0.5% of GDP (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
the Royal Barbados Defense Force includes a land-based Troop Command and a small Coast Guard; the primary role of the land element is to defend the island against external aggression; the Command consists of a single, part-time battalion with a small regular cadre that is deployed throughout the island; it increasingly supports the police in patrolling the coastline to prevent smuggling and other illicit activities (2007)
Transnational Issues ::Barbados
Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago abide by the April 2006 Permanent Court of Arbitration decision delimiting a maritime boundary and limiting catches of flying fish in Trinidad and Tobago's exclusive economic zone; joins other Caribbean states to counter Venezuela's claim that Aves Island sustains human habitation, a criterion under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which permits Venezuela to extend its EEZ/continental shelf over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean Sea
one of many Caribbean transshipment points for narcotics bound for Europe and the US; offshore financial center