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Cayman Islands


The Cayman Islands were colonized from Jamaica by the British during the 18th and 19th centuries. Administered by Jamaica since 1863, they remained a British dependency after 1962 when the former became independent.
Geography Cayman Islands
Caribbean, island group in Caribbean Sea, nearly one-half of the way from Cuba to Honduras
Geographic coordinates:
19 30 N, 80 30 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
total: 262 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 262 sq km
Area - comparative:
1.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
160 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive fishing zone: 200 NM
tropical marine; warm, rainy summers (May to October) and cool, relatively dry winters (November to April)
low-lying limestone base surrounded by coral reefs
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: The Bluff 43 m
Natural resources:
fish, climate and beaches that foster tourism
Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
hurricanes (July to November)
Environment - current issues:
no natural fresh water resources; drinking water supplies must be met by rainwater catchments
Geography - note:
important location between Cuba and Central America
People Cayman Islands
43,103 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 21.4% (male 4,608; female 4,616)
15-64 years: 70.6% (male 14,858; female 15,593)
65 years and over: 8% (male 1,607; female 1,821) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 36.5 years
male: 36.2 years
female: 36.8 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.71% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
13.11 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
4.76 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
18.75 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: major destination for Cubans trying to migrate to the US (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 8.41 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.16 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 9.64 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.81 years
male: 77.21 years
female: 82.45 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.9 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Caymanian(s)
adjective: Caymanian
Ethnic groups:
mixed 40%, white 20%, black 20%, expatriates of various ethnic groups 20%
United Church (Presbyterian and Congregational), Anglican, Baptist, Church of God, other Protestant, Roman Catholic
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 98%
male: 98%
female: 98% (1970 est.)
Government Cayman Islands
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Cayman Islands
Dependency status:
overseas territory of the UK
Government type:
British crown colony
George Town
Administrative divisions:
8 districts; Creek, Eastern, Midland, South Town, Spot Bay, Stake Bay, West End, Western
none (overseas territory of the UK)
National holiday:
Constitution Day, first Monday in July
1959, revised 1972 and 1992
Legal system:
British common law and local statutes
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); Governor Bruce DINWIDDY (since 29 May 2002)
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; the governor is appointed by the monarch; the chief secretary is appointed by the governor
head of government: Chief Secretary W. McKeeva BUSH (since NA December 2001)
cabinet: Executive Council (three members appointed by the governor, four members elected by the Legislative Assembly)
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Assembly (18 seats, three appointed members from the Executive Council and 15 elected by popular vote; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 8 November 2000 (next to be held 17 November 2004)
election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - NA
Judicial branch:
Summary Court; Grand Court; Cayman Islands Court of Appeal
Political parties and leaders:
no national teams (loose groupings of political organizations) were formed for the 2000 elections; United Democratic Party or UDP [leader McKeeva BUSH]; People's Progressive Movement or PPM [leader Kurt TIBBETTS]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Caricom (associate), CDB, Interpol (subbureau), IOC, UNESCO (associate)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK)
Flag description:
blue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Caymanian coat of arms centered on the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms includes a pineapple and turtle above a shield with three stars (representing the three islands) and a scroll at the bottom bearing the motto HE HATH FOUNDED IT UPON THE SEAS
Economy Cayman Islands
Economy - overview:
With no direct taxation, the islands are a thriving offshore financial center. More than 40,000 companies were registered in the Cayman Islands as of 1998, including almost 600 banks and trust companies; banking assets exceed $500 billion. A stock exchange was opened in 1997. Tourism is also a mainstay, accounting for about 70% of GDP and 75% of foreign currency earnings. The tourist industry is aimed at the luxury market and caters mainly to visitors from North America. Total tourist arrivals exceeded 1.2 million in 1997, with 600,000 from the US. About 90% of the islands' food and consumer goods must be imported. The Caymanians enjoy one of the highest outputs per capita and one of the highest standards of living in the world.
purchasing power parity - $1.27 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1.7% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $35,000 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 1.4%
industry: 3.2%
services: 95.4% (1994 est.)
Population below poverty line:
NA% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.8% (2002)
Labor force:
19,820 (1995)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 1.4%, industry 12.6%, services 86% (1995)
Unemployment rate:
4.1% (1997)
revenues: $265.2 million
expenditures: $248.9 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997)
tourism, banking, insurance and finance, construction, construction materials, furniture
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
381.9 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
355.2 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
2,400 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Oil - imports:
Agriculture - products:
vegetables, fruit; livestock, turtle farming
$1.2 million (1999)
Exports - commodities:
turtle products, manufactured consumer goods
Exports - partners:
mostly US
$457.4 million (1999)
Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, manufactured goods
Imports - partners:
US, Trinidad and Tobago, UK, Netherlands Antilles, Japan
Debt - external:
$70 million (1996)
Economic aid - recipient:
$NA (1999)
Caymanian dollar (KYD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Caymanian dollars per US dollar - 0.82 (29 October 2001), 0.83 (3 November 1995), 0.85 (22 November 1993)
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Communications Cayman Islands
Telephones - main lines in use:
38,000 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
17,000 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: NA
international: country code - 1-345; 1 submarine coaxial cable; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 0 (1998)
36,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
1 with cable system
7,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
16 (2000)
Internet users:
Transportation Cayman Islands
total: 785 km
paved: 785 km (2000)
Ports and harbors:
Cayman Brac, George Town
Merchant marine:
total: 137 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 2,827,837 GRT/4,555,974 DWT
by type: bulk 27, cargo 7, chemical tanker 36, container 2, liquefied gas 1, petroleum tanker 25, refrigerated cargo 33, roll on/roll off 4, short-sea/passenger 1, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: Germany 9, Greece 25, Hong Kong 3, Italy 14, Norway 4, Singapore 1, Spain 11, Sweden 13, Switzerland 1, United Kingdom 18, United States 43
registered in other countries: 2 (2003 est.)
3 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2003 est.)
Military Cayman Islands
Military branches:
no regular military forces; Royal Cayman Islands Police Force
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the UK
Transnational Issues Cayman Islands
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
offshore financial center; vulnerable to drug transshipment to the US and Europe