[Country map of Barbados]



Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

total area: 430 sq km
land area: 430 sq km
comparative area: slightly less than 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 97 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: none

Climate: tropical; rainy season (June to October)

Terrain: relatively flat; rises gently to central highland region

Natural resources: petroleum, fishing, natural gas

Land use:
arable land: 77%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 9%
forest and woodland: 0%
other: 14%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

current issues: pollution of coastal waters from waste disposal by ships; soil erosion; illegal solid waste disposal threatens contamination of aquifers
natural hazards: hurricanes (especially June to October); periodic landslides
international agreements: party to - Climate Change, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity

Note: easternmost Caribbean island


Population: 256,395 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 24% (female 30,175; male 31,507)
15-64 years: 66% (female 86,103; male 82,727)
65 years and over: 10% (female 15,849; male 10,034) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.24% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 15.45 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 8.27 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -4.82 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 19.2 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.16 years
male: 71.47 years
female: 77.06 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.78 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Barbadian(s)
adjective: Barbadian

Ethnic divisions: African 80%, European 4%, other 16%

Religions: Protestant 67% (Anglican 40%, Pentecostal 8%, Methodist 7%, other 12%), Roman Catholic 4%, none 17%, unknown 3%, other 9% (1980)

Languages: English

Literacy: age 15 and over has ever attended school (1970)
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99%

Labor force: 124,800 (1992)
by occupation: services and government 41%, commerce 15%, manufacturing and construction 18%, transportation, storage, communications, and financial institutions 8%, agriculture 6%, utilities 2% (1992 est.)


conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Barbados

Digraph: BB

Type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Bridgetown

Administrative divisions: 11 parishes; Christ Church, Saint Andrew, Saint George, Saint James, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Lucy, Saint Michael, Saint Peter, Saint Philip, Saint Thomas
note: the new city of Bridgetown may be given parish status

Independence: 30 November 1966 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 30 November (1966)

Constitution: 30 November 1966

Legal system: English common law; no judicial review of legislative acts

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Dame Nita BARROW (since 6 June 1990)
head of government: Prime Minister Owen Seymour ARTHUR (since 6 September 1994); Deputy Prime Minister Billie MILLER (since 6 September 1994)
cabinet: Cabinet; appointed by the governor general on advice of the prime minister

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament
Senate: consists of a 21-member body appointed by the governor general
House of Assembly: election last held 6 September 1994 (next to be held by January 1999); results - percentage vote by party NA; seats - (28 total) DLP 8, BLP 19, NDP 1

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Judicature

Political parties and leaders: Democratic Labor Party (DLP),David THOMPSON; Barbados Labor Party (BLP), Owen ARTHUR; National Democratic Party (NDP), Richard HAYNES

Other political or pressure groups: Barbados Workers Union, Leroy TROTMAN; People's Progressive Movement, Eric SEALY; Workers' Party of Barbados, Dr. George BELLE; Clement Payne Labor Union, David COMMISSIONG


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Courtney BLACKMAN
chancery: 2144 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-9218, 9219
FAX: [1] (202) 332-7467
consulate(s) general: Miami and New York
consulate(s): Los Angeles

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Jeanette W. HYDE
embassy: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Building, Broad Street, Bridgetown
mailing address: P. O. Box 302, Bridgetown; FPO AA 34055
telephone: [1] (809) 436-4950
FAX: [1] (809) 429-5246

Flag: three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), yellow, and blue with the head of a black trident centered on the gold band; the trident head represents independence and a break with the past (the colonial coat of arms contained a complete trident)


Overview: A per capita income of $9,200 gives Barbados one of the highest standards of living of all the small island states of the eastern Caribbean. Historically, the economy was based on the cultivation of sugarcane and related activities. In recent years, however, the economy has diversified into manufacturing and tourism. A moderate recovery that began in late 1993 after 3 years of contraction is mainly due to increased tourism and expansion in the construction sector. Economic prospects for 1995 depend mostly on continued growth in the industrialized countries, especially in Europe, which would spur further expansion in tourism.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $2.4 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 3% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $9,200 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: 20.5% (1994 est.)

revenues: $509 million
expenditures: $636 million, including capital expenditures of $86 million (FY94/95 est.)

Exports: $161 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: sugar and molasses, rum, other foods and beverages, chemicals, electrical components, clothing
partners: US 13%, UK 10%, Trinidad and Tobago 9%, Windward Islands 8%

Imports: $703 million (c.i.f., 1993 est.)
commodities: consumer goods, machinery, foodstuffs, construction materials, chemicals, fuel, electrical components
partners: US 36%, UK 11%, Trinidad and Tobago 11%, Japan 3%

External debt: $652 million (1991 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 2% (FY93/94 est.); accounts for about 10% of GDP

capacity: 152,100 kW
production: 510 million kWh
consumption per capita: 1,841 kWh (1993)

Industries: tourism, sugar, light manufacturing, component assembly for export

Agriculture: accounts for 6% of GDP; major cash crop is sugarcane; other crops - vegetables, cotton; not self-sufficient in food

Illicit drugs: one of many Caribbean transshipment points for narcotics bound for the US and Europe

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $15 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $171 million

Currency: 1 Barbadian dollar (Bds$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Barbadian dollars (Bds$) per US$1 - 2.0113 (fixed rate)

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March


Railroads: 0 km

total: 1,570 km
paved: 1,475 km
unpaved: gravel, earth 95 km

Ports: Bridgetown

Merchant marine:
total: 12 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 61,563 GRT/103,632 DWT
ships by type: bulk 4, cargo 6, oil tanker 2

total: 1
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 1


Telephone system: 89,000 telephones
local: island wide automatic telephone system;
intercity: NA
international: 1 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth station; tropospheric scatter link to Trinidad and Saint Lucia

broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 2, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 2 (1 pay)
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Royal Barbados Defense Force (includes the Ground Forces and Coast Guard), Royal Barbados Police Force

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 71,153; males fit for military service 49,488 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $NA, NA% of GDP