British Virgin Islands 1998British%20Virgin%20Islands

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British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands 


British Virgin Islands - Introduction 1998
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Background: First settled by the Dutch in 1648 the islands were soon after (1672) annexed 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.

British Virgin Islands - Geography 1998
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Location: Caribbean, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico

Geographic coordinates: 18 30 N, 64 30 W

Map referenceCentral America and the Caribbean

Total: 150 km²
Land: 150 km²
Water: 0 km²
Note: includes the island of Anegada
Comparative: about 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 80 km

Maritime claims
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 3 nm

Climate: subtropical; humid; temperatures moderated by trade winds

Terrain: coral islands relatively flat; volcanic islands steep, hilly

Extremes lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
Extremes highest point: Mount Sage 521 m

Natural resources: NEGL
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 20%
Permanent crops: 7%
Permanent pastures: 33%
Forests and woodland: 7%
Other: 33% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA km²

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October)

Note: strong ties to nearby US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico

British Virgin Islands - People 1998
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Population: 18,705 (July 1998 est.)
Growth rate: 2.41% (1998 est.)

Noun: British Virgin Islander(s)
Adjective: British Virgin Islander

Ethnic groups: black 90%, white, Asian

Languages: English (official)

Religions: Protestant 86% (Methodist 45%, Anglican 21%, Church of God 7%, Seventh-Day Adventist 5%, Baptist 4%, Jehovah's Witnesses 2%, other 2%), Roman Catholic 6%, none 2%, other 6% (1981)

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 21% (male 2,008; female 1,957)
15-64 years: 74% (male 7,079; female 6,689)
65 years and over: 5% (male 535; female 437) (July 1998 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 2.41% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 16.15 births/1000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 4.76 deaths/1000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 12.67 migrant(s)/1000 population (1998 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: 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 catchment)
International agreements party to: NA
International agreements signed but not ratified: NA

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.22 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 22.97 deaths/1000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 74.94 years
Male: 74.19 years
Female: 75.73 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.72 children born/woman (1998 est.)

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

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 97.8% (1991 est.)
Male: NA%
Female: NA%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

British Virgin Islands - Government 1998
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Country name
Conventional long form: none
Conventional short form: British Virgin Islands
Abbreviation: BVI

Government type: NA

Capital: Road Town

Administrative divisions: none (dependent territory of the UK)

Dependent areas

Independence: none (dependent territory of the UK)

National holiday: Territory Day, 1 July

Constitution: 1 June 1977

Legal system: English law

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II of the UK (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor David MACKILLIGIN (since NA June 1995): ead of
Government: Chief Minister Ralph T. O'NEAL (since 15 May 1995; appointed after the death of former Chief Minister H. Lavity STOUTT)
Cabinet: Executive Council appointed by the governor from members of the Legislative Council
Elections: none; the queen is a hereditary monarch; governor appointed by the queen; chief minister appointed by the governor from among the members of the Legislative Council

Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Council (13 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote, 1 member from each of 9 electoral districts, 4 at large members; members serve five-year terms)
Elections: last held 20 February 1995 (next to be held NA February 2000)
Election results: percent of vote by party_NA; seats by party_VIP 6, CCM 2, UP 2, independents 3

Judicial branch: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, one judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of the islands and presides over the High Court

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: Caricom (associate), CDB, ECLAC (associate), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, OECS (associate), UNESCO (associate)

Diplomatic representation
In the us: none (dependent territory of the UK)
From the us: none (dependent territory of the UK)

Flag descriptionflag of British%20Virgin%20Islands: 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)

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

British Virgin Islands - Economy 1998
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Economy overview: The economy, one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean, is highly dependent on tourism, which generates an estimated 45% of the national income. In 1985, the government began offering offshore registration to companies wishing to incorporate in the islands, and incorporation fees now generate substantial revenues. An estimated 210,000 companies were on the offshore registry by yearend 1996. 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 traditional close links with the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands has used the dollar as their currency since 1959.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 4.5% (1996 est.)

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: 3%
Industry: 14%
Services: 83% (1989)

Agriculture products: fruits, vegetables; livestock, poultry; fish

Industries: tourism, light industry, construction, rum, concrete block, offshore financial center

Industrial production growth rate: 4% (1985)

Labor force
Total: 4,911 (1980)
By occupation: tourism NA%
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 3% (1995)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $77.1 million
Expenditures: $76.4 million, including capital expenditures of $N/A (FY93/94)

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: total value:$3.4 million (f.o.b., 1990)
Commodoties: rum, fresh fish, fruits, animals; gravel, sand
Partners: Virgin Islands (US), Puerto Rico, US

Imports: total value:$11.5 million (c.i.f., 1988)
Commodoties: building materials, automobiles, foodstuffs, machinery
Partners: Virgin Islands (US), Puerto Rico, US

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $4.5 million (1985)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: US currency is used

British Virgin Islands - Energy 1998
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 42 million kWh (1995)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 3,224 kWh (1995)

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

British Virgin Islands - Communication 1998
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: worldwide telephone service
Domestic: NA
International: submarine cable to Bermuda

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

British Virgin Islands - Military 1998
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Military expenditures

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

British Virgin Islands - Transportation 1998
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 3 (1997 est.)
With paved runways total: 2
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 1
With paved runways under 914 m: 1 (1997 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 1
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 2
914 to 1523 m: 1
Under 914 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 1
914 to 1523 m: 1 (1997 est.)



Railways: 0 km



Merchant marine: none (1995 est.)

Ports and terminals

British Virgin Islands - Transnational issues 1998
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Disputes international: none

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs


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