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 Caribbean, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico

Geographic Coordinates:

 18 30 N, 64 30 W


 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

Area - Comparative:

 About 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC

Land Boundaries:

 0 km


 80 km (Rank: 170)

Maritime Claims:

 Territorial sea: 3 nm
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


 Subtropical; humid; temperatures moderated by trade winds


 Coral islands relatively flat; volcanic islands steep, hilly

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
Highest point: Mount Sage 521 m

Natural Resources:


Land Use:

 Arable land: 20%
Permanent crops: 6.67%
Other: 73.33% (2005)

Natural Hazards:

 Hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October)

Environment - Current Issues:

 Limited natural freshwater resources (except for a few seasonal streams and springs on Tortola, most of the islands' water supply comes from wells and rainwater catchments)

Geography - Note:

 Strong ties to nearby US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico

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

Ethnic Groups:

 Black 82%, white 6.8%, other 11.2% (includes Indian and mixed) (2008)


 English (official)


 Protestant 84% (Methodist 33%, Anglican 17%, Church of God 9%, Seventh-Day Adventist 6%, Baptist 4%, other 15%), Roman Catholic 10%, Jehovah's Witnesses 2%, other 2%, none 2% (1991)


 25,383 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 19.6% (male 2,526/female 2,457)
15-64 years: 74.1% (male 9,631/female 9,174)
65 years and over: 6.3% (male 827/female 768) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 32.9 years
Male: 32.9 years
Female: 32.8 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 1.741% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 14.5 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 4.49 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 7.41 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 41% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 1.7% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 ROAD TOWN (capital) 9,000 (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.07 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 13.63 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 15.47 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 11.71 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 77.63 years
Male: 76.32 years
Female: 78.99 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 1.71 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 98% of population
Rural: 98% of population
Total: 98% of population
Urban: 2% of population
Rural: 2% of population
Total: 2% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 100% of population
Rural: 100% of population
Total: 100% of population (2008)

Education Expenditures:

 3.2% of GDP (2007)


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

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 15 years
Male: 15 years
Female: 16 years (2009)

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Country Name:

 Conventional long form: none
Conventional short form: British Virgin Islands
Abbreviation: BVI


 Name: Road Town
Geographic coordinates: 18 27 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)

Dependency Status:

 Overseas territory of the UK; internal self-governing


 None (overseas territory of the UK)

National Holiday:

 Territory Day, 1 July (1956)


 June 13, 2007

Legal System:

 English common law


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Boyd MCCLEARY (since 20 August 2010)

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: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition usually appointed premier by the governor

Legislative Branch:

 Unicameral House of Assembly (13 elected seats, a speaker elected by the 13 members of the House of Assembly, and 1 non-voting ex officio member in the attorney general; members are elected by direct popular vote, 1 member from each of nine electoral districts, 4 at-large members; members serve four-year terms)

Elections: last held on 7 November 2011 (next to be held in 2015)

Election results: percent of vote by party - NDP 49.4%, VIP 42%; seats by party - NDP 9, VIP 4

Judicial Branch:

 Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, consisting of the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal (one judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of the islands and presides over the High Court); Magistrate's Court; Juvenile Court; Court of Summary Jurisdiction

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Concerned Citizens Movement or CCM [Ethlyn SMITH]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Orlando SMITH]; United Party or UP [Gregory MADURO]; Virgin Islands Party or VIP [Ralph T. O'NEAL]

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 The Family Support Network; The Women's Desk
Other: environmentalists

International Organization Participation:

 Caricom (associate), CDB, Interpol (subbureau), IOC, OECS, UNESCO (associate), UPU

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 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); the islands were named by COLUMBUS in 1493 in honor of Saint Ursula and her 11 virgin followers (some sources say 11,000) who reputedly were martyred by the Huns in the 4th or 5th century; the figure on the banner holding a lamp represents the saint, the other lamps symbolize her followers

National Anthem:

 Note: as a territory of the United Kingdom, "God Save the Queen" is official (see United Kingdom)


 (overseas territory of the UK)

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Economy - Overview:

 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. 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. Livestock raising is the most important agricultural activity; poor soils limit the islands' ability to meet domestic food requirements. Because of traditionally close links with the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands has used the US dollar as its currency since 1959.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $853.4 million (2004 est.)

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $1.095 billion (2008)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 -0.6% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $38,500 (2004 est.)

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 0.9%
Industry: 10.6%
Services: 88.5% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 12,770 (2004)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 0.6%
Industry: 40%
Services: 59.4% (2005)

Unemployment Rate:

 3.6% (1997)

Population Below Poverty Line:


Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: NA%
Highest 10%: NA%

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 23.2% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $300 million
Expenditures: $300 million (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 27.4% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 0% of GDP (2010 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 3.8% (2010 est.)
3.3% (2009 est.)

Agriculture - Products:

 Fruits, vegetables; livestock, poultry; fish


 Tourism, light industry, construction, rum, concrete block, offshore financial center

Industrial Production Growth Rate:


Electricity - Production:

 45 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 100%
Hydro: 0%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 41.85 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 1,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 752 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 $362.6 million (2010 est.)
$328.6 million (2009 est.)


 $35.2 million (2010 est.)
$33.6 million (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Rum, fresh fish, fruits, animals; gravel, sand


 $228.4 million (2010 est.)
$217.6 million (2009 est.) (2002 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Building materials, automobiles, foodstuffs, machinery

Debt - External:

 $36.1 million (1997)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert United States Dollar to Any Currency

The US dollar is used

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 20,100 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 24,500 (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: good overall telephone service

Domestic: fixed line connections exceed 80 per 100 persons and mobile cellular subscribership is roughly 100 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 (2010)

Broadcast Media:

 1 private TV station; multi-channel TV is available from cable and satellite subscription services; about a half dozen private radio stations operating (2007)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 0 (2004)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 1 (plus 1 cable company) (1997)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 497 (2010)

Internet Users:

 4,000 (2002)

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 4 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
Under 914 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2010)


 Total: 200 km
Paved: 200 km (2007)

Merchant Marine:

 Registered in other countries: 1 (Panama 1) (2008)

Ports and Terminals:

 Road Harbor

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Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 7,266 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 6,057
Females age 16-49: 5,805 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 168
Female: 162 (2010 est.)

Military - Note:

 Defense is the responsibility of the UK

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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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Last Updated: December 2011

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