British Virgin Islands Population: 34,232

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 History
First inhabited by Arawak and later by Carib Indians, the Virgin Islands were settled by the Dutch in 1648 and then annexed by the English in 1672. The islands were part of the British colony of the Leeward Islands from 1872-1960; they were granted autonomy in 1967. 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
Strong ties to nearby US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico
Location: Caribbean, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico
Geographic coordinates: 18 30 N, 64 30 W
Area: total: 151 sq km
land: 151 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

Size comparison: about 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC
Land Boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 80 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 3 nm exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate: subtropical; humid; temperatures moderated by trade winds
Terrain: coral islands relatively flat; volcanic islands steep, hilly
Elevation extremes:
Natural resources: NEGL; pleasant climate, beaches foster tourism
Land use: agricultural land: 46.7% arable land 6.7%; permanent crops 6.7%; permanent pasture 33.3% forest: 24.3%
other: 29% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October)
Current Environment Issues: limited natural freshwater resources except for a few seasonal streams and springs on Tortola; most of the islands' water supply comes from desalination plants
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 People
Nationality: noun: British Virgin Islander(s)
adjective: British Virgin Islander
Ethnic groups: African/black 76.3%, Latino 5.5%, white 5.4%, mixed 5.3%, Indian 2.1%, East Indian 1.6%, other 3%, unspecified 0.8% (2010 est.)
Languages: English (official)
Religions: Protestant 70.2% (Methodist 17.6%, Church of God 10.4%, Anglican 9.5%, Seventh Day Adventist 9.0%, Pentecostal 8.2%, Baptist 7.4%, New Testament Church of God 6.9%, other Protestant 1.2%), Roman Catholic 8.9%, Jehovah's Witness 2.5%, Hindu 1.9%, other 6.2%, none 7.9%, unspecified 2.4% (2010 est.)
Population: 34,232 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 16.79% (male 2,826/female 2,920)
15-24 years: 13.77% (male 2,257/female 2,456)
25-54 years: 49.57% (male 7,987/female 8,983)
55-64 years: 11.27% (male 1,881/female 1,977)
65 years and over: 8.6% (male 1,431/female 1,514) (2016 est.)
Median age: total: 36.2 years
male: 36 years
female: 36.3 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.28% (2016 est.)
Birth rate: 11 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate: 5.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate: 16.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 46.2% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.8% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: ROAD TOWN (capital) 13,000 (2014)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.89 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.95 male(s)/female
total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 12.6 deaths/1,000 live births male: 14.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 78.6 years male: 77.2 years
female: 80.1 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.28 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 98% of population
rural: 98% of population
total: 98% of population

unimproved:
urban: 2% of population
rural: 2% of population
total: 2% of population (2010 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 97.5% of population
rural: 97.5% of population
total: 97.5% of population

unimproved:
urban: 2.5% of population
rural: 2.5% of population
total: 2.5% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Education expenditures: 4.4% of GDP (2010)
Literacy:
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 14 years male: NA
female: NA (2009)
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 Government
Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: British Virgin Islands
abbreviation: BVI
etymology: the myriad islets, cays, and rocks surrounding the major islands reminded explorer Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 of Saint Ursula and her 11,000 virgin followers (Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Virgenes), which over time shortened to the Virgins (las Virgenes)
Government type: parliamentary democracy (House of Assembly); self-governing overseas territory of the UK
Capital: name: Road Town
geographic coordinates: 18 25 N, 64 37 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: none (overseas territory of the UK)
Independence: none (overseas territory of the UK)
National holiday: Territory Day, 1 July (1956)
Constitution: several previous; latest effective 15 June 2007 (2016)
Legal system: English common law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor John DUNCAN (since 15 August 2014)

head of government: Premier Orlando SMITH (since 9 November 2011)

cabinet: Executive Council appointed by the governor from members of the House of Assembly elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed premier by the governor
Legislative branch: description: unicameral House of Assembly (13 seats; 9 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies and 4 at-large seats by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms); note - the Assembly includes the attorney general, a non-voting ex officio member

elections: last held on 8 June 2015 (next to be held in 2019)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NDP 9, VIP 3, PEP 1
Judicial branch: highest court(s): the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the itinerant superior court of record for the 9-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to include the British Virgin Islands; the ECSC - with its headquarters on St. Lucia - is headed by the chief justice and is comprised of the Court of Appeal with 3 justices and the High Court with 16 judges; sittings of the Court of Appeal and High Court rotate among the 9 member states; 3 High Court judges reside in member states; 3 High Court judges reside on the British Virgin Islands judge selection and term of office: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court chief justice appointed by Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65; High Court judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 62

subordinate courts: Magistrates' Courts
Political parties and leaders: National Democratic Party or NDP [Orlando SMITH];; Virgin Islands Party or VIP [Julian FRASER]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Family Support Network Woman's Desk other: environmentalists
International organization participation: Caricom (associate), CDB, Interpol (subbureau), IOC, OECS, UNESCO (associate), UPU
National symbol(s): zenaida dove, white cedar flower; national colors: yellow, green, red, white, blue
National anthem:

note: as a territory of the United Kingdom, "God Save the Queen" is official (see United Kingdom)
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (overseas territory of the UK)
Diplomatic representation from the US: none (overseas territory of the UK)
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 Economy
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. More than 934,000 tourists, mainly from the US, visited the islands in 2008. Because of traditionally close links with the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands has used the US dollar as its currency since 1959. Livestock raising is the most important agricultural activity; poor soils limit the islands' ability to meet domestic food requirements. 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. 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. More than 934,000 tourists, mainly from the US, visited the islands in 2008. Because of traditionally close links with the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands has used the US dollar as its currency since 1959. Livestock raising is the most important agricultural activity; poor soils limit the islands' ability to meet domestic food requirements. 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $500 million (2010 est.) GDP (purchasing power parity): $500 million (2010 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $1.095 billion (2008) GDP (official exchange rate): $1.095 billion (2008)
GDP - real growth rate: 1.3% (2010 est.) -0.6% (2008 est.) 1.3% (2010 est.) -0.6% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $42,300 (2010 est.) GDP - per capita (PPP): $42,300 (2010 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 68.9%
government consumption: 8.9%
investment in fixed capital: 25%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 91.8%
imports of goods and services: -94.6% (2016 est.) household consumption: 68.9% government consumption: 8.9% investment in fixed capital: 25% investment in inventories: 0% exports of goods and services: 91.8% imports of goods and services: -94.6% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 68.9%
government consumption: 8.9%
investment in fixed capital: 25%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 91.8%
imports of goods and services: -94.6% (2016 est.) household consumption: 68.9% government consumption: 8.9% investment in fixed capital: 25% investment in inventories: 0% exports of goods and services: 91.8% imports of goods and services: -94.6% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - products: fruits, vegetables; livestock, poultry; fish fruits, vegetables; livestock, poultry; fish
Industries: tourism, light industry, construction, rum, concrete block, offshore banking center tourism, light industry, construction, rum, concrete block, offshore banking center
Industrial production growth rate: 2.2% (2016 est.) 2.2% (2016 est.)
Labor force: 12,770 (2004) 12,770 (2004)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 0.6%
industry: 40%
services: 59.4% (2005) agriculture: 0.6% industry: 40% services: 59.4% (2005)
Unemployment rate: 8.7% (2010 est.) 8.7% (2010 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA% NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA% lowest 10%: NA% highest 10%: NA%
Budget: revenues: $300 million
expenditures: $300 million (2016 est.) revenues: $300 million expenditures: $300 million (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 27.4% of GDP (2016 est.) 27.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March 1 April - 31 March
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.1% (2016 est.) 0.9% (2015 est.) Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.1% (2016 est.) 0.9% (2015 est.)
Current account balance: $362.6 million (2011 est.) $279.8 million (2010 est.) $362.6 million (2011 est.) $279.8 million (2010 est.)
Exports: $23 million (2015 est.) $23 million (2015 est.) $23 million (2015 est.) $23 million (2015 est.)
Exports - commodities: rum, fresh fish, fruits, animals; gravel, sand rum, fresh fish, fruits, animals; gravel, sand
Imports: $200 million (2015 est.) $200 million (2015 est.) $200 million (2015 est.) $200 million (2015 est.)
Imports - commodities: building materials, automobiles, foodstuffs, machinery building materials, automobiles, foodstuffs, machinery
Debt - external: $36.1 million (1997) $36.1 million (1997)
Exchange rates: the US dollar is used the US dollar is used
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 Energy
Electricity - production: 100 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 100 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 44,000 kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 1,200 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 1,209 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 200,000 Mt (2013 est.)
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 Communications
Cellular Phones in use: total: 42,000 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 126 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: good overall telephone service

domestic: fixed-line connections exceed 35 per 100 persons and mobile cellular subscribership is roughly 125 per 100 persons

international: country code - 1-284; connected via submarine cable to Bermuda; the East Caribbean Fiber System (ECFS) submarine cable provides connectivity to 13 other islands in the eastern Caribbean (2015)
Broadcast media: 1 private TV station; multi-channel TV is available from cable and satellite subscription services; about a half-dozen private radio stations (2007)
Internet country code: .vg
Internet users: total: 14,600 percent of population: 43.6% (July 2015 est.)
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 Transportation
Airports: 4 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 2

914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 2

914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)
Roadways: total 200 km
paved: 200 km (2007)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Road Harbor
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 Military
Defense is the responsibility of the UK
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: none
Illicit drugs: transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for the US and Europe; large offshore financial center makes it vulnerable to money laundering
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   Source: CIA - The World Factbook
 

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