Belize 1991Belize

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Belize - Introduction 1991
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Background: Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize (formerly British Honduras) until 1981. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. The country is plagued by high unemployment growing involvement in the South American drug trade and increased urban crime.

Belize - Geography 1991
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Geographic coordinates

Map reference


Land boundaries:
516 km total
Guatemala 266 km, Mexico 250 km

Coastline: 386 km

Maritime claims: Territorial sea:3 nm

Climate: tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to February)

Terrain: flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south


Natural resources: arable land: potential, timber, fish
Land use

Land use: arable land: 2%; permanent crops: NEGL%; meadows and pastures 2%; forest and woodland 44%; other 52%, includes irrigated NEGL%

Irrigated land

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards

Note: national capital moved 80 km inland from Belize City to Belmopan because of hurricanes; only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean

Belize - People 1991
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Population: 228,069 (July 1991), growth rate 3.6% (1991)

Nationality: noun--Belizean(s; adjective--Belizean

Ethnic groups: Creole 39.7%, Mestizo 33.1%, Maya 9.5%, Garifuna 7.6%, East Indian 2.1%, other 8.0%

Languages: English (official), Spanish, Maya, Garifuna (Carib)

Religions: Roman Catholic 62%, Protestant 30% (Anglican 12%, Methodist 6%, Mennonite 4%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3%, Pentecostal 2%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1%, other 2%), none 2%, unknown 3%, other 3% (1980)

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate

Birth rate: 38 births/1000 population (1991)

Death rate: 5 deaths/1000 population (1991)

Net migration rate: 4 migrants/1000 population (1991)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: frequent devastating hurricanes (September to December) and coastal flooding (especially in south; deforestation

Air pollutants

Sex ratio

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 35 deaths/1000 live births (1991)

Life expectancy at birth: male 67 years, female 72 years (1991)

Total fertility rate: 4.7 children born/woman (1991)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Literacy: 91% (male 91%, female 91%) age 15 and over having ever attended school (1970)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Belize - Government 1991
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Country name: conventional long form: none

Government type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Belmopan

Administrative divisions: 6 districts; Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, Toledo

Dependent areas

Independence: 21 September 1981 (from UK; formerly British Honduras)

National holiday: Independence Day, 21 September

Constitution: 21 September 1981

Legal system: English law

International law organization participation


Suffrage: universal at age 18

Executive branch: Chief of State--Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Dame Elmira Minita GORDON (since 21 September 1981; Head of Government--Prime Minister George Cadle PRICE (since 4 September 1989)

Legislative branch: British Forces Belize, Belize Defense Force (including Army, Navy, Air Force, and Volunteer Guard), Belize National Police

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: ACP, C, CARICOM, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, GATT, IBRD, IDA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, INTERPOL, IOC, IOM, (observer), ITU, LORCS, NAM, OAS, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WMO

Diplomatic representation
In the us: Ambassador James V. HYDE; Chancery at Suite 2J, 3,400 International Drive NW, Washington DC 20,008; telephone (202) 363-4,505; US--Ambassador Eugene L. SCASSA; Embassy at Gabourel Lane and Hutson Street, Belize City (mailing address is P. O. Box 286, Belize City; telephone [501] 77,161 through 77,163

Flag descriptionflag of Belize: blue with a narrow red stripe along the top and the bottom edges; centered is a large white disk bearing the coat of arms; the coat of arms features a shield flanked by two workers in front of a mahogany tree with the related motto SUB UMBRA FLOREO (I Flourish in the Shade) on a scroll at the bottom, all encircled by a green garland Belize BelizeBelize

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Belize - Economy 1991
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Economy overview: The economy is based primarily on agriculture and merchandising. Agriculture accounts for more than 30% of GDP and provides 75% of export earnings, while sugar, the chief crop, accounts for almost 40% of hard currency earnings. The US, Belize's main trading partner, is assisting in efforts to reduce dependency on sugar with an agricultural diversification program.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: accounts for 30% of GDP (including fish and forestry; commercial crops include sugarcane, bananas, coca, citrus fruits; expanding output of lumber and cultured shrimp; net importer of basic foods

Industries: garment production, citrus concentrates, sugar refining, rum, beverages, tourism

Industrial production growth rate: 9.7% (1989; accounts for 16% of GDP

Labor force: 51,500; agriculture 30.0%, services 16.0%, government 15.4%, commerce 11.2%, manufacturing 10.3%; shortage of skilled labor and all types of technical personnel (1985)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 12% (1988)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Budget: revenues $87.4 million; expenditures $130.5 million, including capital expenditures of $53.5 million (FY90 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 April-31 March

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $108 million (f.o.b., 1990 est.)
Commodities: sugar, clothing, seafood, molasses, citrus, wood and wood products
Partners: US 47%, UK, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada (1987)

Imports: $204 million (c.i.f., 1990 est.)
Commodities: machinery and transportation equipment, food, manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals
Partners: US 55%, UK, Netherlands Antilles, Mexico (1987)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $169 million (December 1990)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Belizean dollars (Bz$) per US$1--2.00 (fixed rate)

Belize - Energy 1991
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Electricity access

Electricity production

Electricity consumption

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Belize - Communication 1991
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Belize - Military 1991
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Military expenditures
Percent of gdp: $4.8 million, 1.8% of GDP (1990 est.)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Belize - Transportation 1991
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 42 total, 32 usable; 3 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 2,439 m; 2 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Airports with paved runways

Airports with unpaved runways





Waterways: 825 km river network used by shallow-draft craft; seasonally navigable

Merchant marine

Ports and terminals

Belize - Transnational issues 1991
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Disputes international: claimed by Guatemala, but boundary negotiations to resolve dispute are nearing completion

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: an illicit producer of cannabis for the international drug trade; eradication program cut marijuana production from 200 metric tons in 1987 to 66 metric tons in 1989; transshipment point for cocaine


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