Sint Maarten Population: 42,677


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Although sighted by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 and claimed for Spain, it was the Dutch who occupied the island in 1631 and began exploiting its salt deposits. The Spanish retook the island in 1633, but the Dutch continued to assert their claims. The Spanish finally relinquished the island of Saint Martin to the French and Dutch, who divided it between themselves in 1648. The establishment of cotton, tobacco, and sugar plantations dramatically expanded African slavery on the island in the 18th and 19th centuries; the practice was not abolished in the Dutch half until 1863. The island's economy declined until 1939 when it became a free port; the tourism industry was dramatically expanded beginning in the 1950s. In 1954, Sint Maarten and several other Dutch Caribbean possessions became part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as the Netherlands Antilles. In a 2000 referendum, the citizens of Sint Maarten voted to become a self-governing country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, effective October 2010. On 6 September 2017, Hurricane Irma hit Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, causing extensive damage to roads, communications, electrical power, and housing. The UN estimated the storm destroyed or damaged 90% of the buildings, and Princess Juliana International Airport was heavily damaged and closed to commercial air traffic for five weeks.

    The northern border is shared with the French overseas collectivity of Saint Martin; together, these two entities make up the smallest landmass in the world shared by two self-governing states
Location: Caribbean, located in the Leeward Islands (northern) group; Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean Sea; Sint Maarten lies east of the US Virgin Islands
Geographic coordinates: 18 4 N, 63 4 W
Area: total: 34 sq km
land: 34 sq km
water: 0 sq km

note: Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin

Size comparison: one-fifth the size of Washington, DC
Land Boundaries: total: 16 km border countries (1): Saint Martin (France) 16 km
Coastline: 58.9 km (for entire island)
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical marine climate, ameliorated by northeast trade winds, results in moderate temperatures; average rainfall of 150 cm/year; hurricane season stretches from July to November
Terrain: low, hilly terrain, volcanic origin
Natural resources: fish, salt
Natural hazards: subject to hurricanes from July to November
Current Environment Issues: scarcity of potable water (increasing percentage provided by desalination); inadequate solid waste management; pollution from construction, chemical runoff, and sewage harms reefs
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Ethnic groups: Saint Maarten 29.9%, Dominican Republic 10.2%, Haiti 7.8%, Jamaica 6.6%, Saint Martin 5.9%, Guyana 5%, Dominica 4.4%, Curacao 4.1%, Aruba 3.4%, Saint Kitts and Nevis 2.8%, India 2.6%, Netherlands 2.2%, US 1.6%, Suriname 1.4%, Saint Lucia 1.3%, Anguilla 1.1%, other 7.6%, unspecified 1.7% (2011 est.) note:   data represent population by country of birth
Languages: English (official) 67.5%, Spanish 12.9%, Creole 8.2%, Dutch (official) 4.2%, Papiamento (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect) 2.2%, French 1.5%, other 3.5% (2001 est.)
Religions: Protestant 41.9% (Pentecostal 14.7%, Methodist 10.0%, Seventh Day Adventist 6.6%, Baptist 4.7%, Anglican 3.1%, other Protestant 2.8%), Roman Catholic 33.1%, Hindu 5.2%, Christian 4.1%, Jehovah's Witness 1.7%, Evangelical 1.4%, Muslim/Jewish 1.1%, other 1.3% (includes Buddhist, Sikh, Rastafarian), none 7.9%, no response 2.4% (2011 est.)
Population: 42,677 (July 2018 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 18.5% (male 4,110 /female 3,785)
15-24 years: 14.19% (male 3,049 /female 3,009)
25-54 years: 40.93% (male 8,539 /female 8,930)
55-64 years: 16.52% (male 3,356 /female 3,694)
65 years and over: 9.85% (male 2,017 /female 2,188) (2018 est.)
Median age: total: 41.2 years
male: 39.8 years
female: 42.2 years (2018 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.39% (2018 est.)
Birth rate: 13.1 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate: 5.4 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate: 6.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 100% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: 1.56% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population: 1327 PHILIPSBURG (capital) (2011)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 7.9 deaths/1,000 live births male: 8.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 78.5 years male: 76.1 years
female: 80.9 years (2018 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.04 children born/woman (2018 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: n/a
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: n/a
HIV/AIDS - deaths: n/a
Education expenditures: n/a
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Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Sint Maarten
local long form: Land Sint Maarten (Dutch); Country of Sint Maarten (English)
local short form: Sint Maarten (Dutch and English)
former: Netherlands Antilles; Curacao and Dependencies
etymology: explorer Christopher COLUMBUS named the island after Saint MARTIN of Tours because the 11 November 1493 day of discovery was the saint's feast day
Government type: parliamentary democracy (Parliament of Sint Maarten) under a constitutional monarchy
Capital: name: Philipsburg
geographic coordinates: 18 1 N, 63 2 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

note: Sint Maarten is one of four constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the other three are the Netherlands, Aruba, and Curacao
Independence: none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
National holiday: King's Day (birthday of King WILLEM-ALEXANDER), 27 April (1967); note - King's or Queen's Day are observed on the ruling monarch's birthday; celebrated on 26 April if 27 April is a Sunday; local holiday Sint Maarten's Day, 11 November (1985), commemorates the discovery of the island by COLUMBUS on Saint Martin's Day, 11 November 1493; celebrated on both halves of the island
Constitution: previous 1947, 1955; latest adopted 21 July 2010, entered into force 10 October 2010 (regulates governance of Sint Maarten but is subordinate to the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Legal system: based on Dutch civil law system with some English common law influence
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: King WILLEM-ALEXANDER of the Netherlands (since 30 April 2013); represented by Governor General Eugene HOLIDAY (since 10 October 2010)

head of government: Prime Minister Leona ROMEO-MARLIN (since 15 January 2018)

cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the governor-general elections/appointments: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch for a 6-year term; following parliamentary elections, the leader of the majority party usually elected prime minister by Parliament
Legislative branch: description: unicameral Parliament of Sint Maarten (15 seats; members directly elected by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held 26 February 2018 (next to be held in 2022)

election results: percent of vote by party - UD 42.4%,n/a30.5%, US Party 13.2%, SMCP 8.7%; seats by party - UD 7,n/a5, US Party 2, SMCP 1; composition - men 13, women 2, percent of women 13.3%
Judicial branch: highest courts: Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, and of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba or "Joint Court of Justice" (consists of the presiding judge, other members, and their substitutes); final appeals heard by the Supreme Court (in The Hague, Netherlands); note - prior to 2010, the Joint Court of Justice was the Common Court of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba judge selection and term of office: Joint Court judges appointed by the monarch serve for life

subordinate courts: Courts in First Instance
Political parties and leaders: National Alliance orn/a[William MARLIN] Sint Maarten Christian Party or SMCP [Wycliffe SMITH] United Democrats Party or UD [Theodore HEYLIGER] United Sint Maarten Party or US Party [Frans RICHARDSON]
International organization participation: Caricom (observer), ILO, Interpol, UNESCO (associate), UPU, WMO
National symbol(s): brown pelican, yellow sage (flower);
national colors: red, white, blue
National anthem: name: O Sweet Saint Martin's Land
lyrics/music: Gerard KEMPS

note: the song, written in 1958, is used as an unofficial anthem for the entire island (both French and Dutch sides); as a collectivity of France, in addition to the local anthem, "La Marseillaise" is official on the French side (see France); as a constituent part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in addition to the local anthem, "Het Wilhelmus" is official on the Dutch side (see Netherlands)
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Sint Maarten; the Consul General to Curacao is accredited to Sint Maarten
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The economy of Sint Maarten centers around tourism with nearly four-fifths of the labor force engaged in this sector. Nearly 1.8 million visitors came to the island by cruise ship and roughly 500,000 visitors arrived through Princess Juliana International Airport in 2013. Cruise ships and yachts also call on Sint Maarten's numerous ports and harbors. Limited agriculture and local fishing means that almost all food must be imported. Energy resources and manufactured goods are also imported. Sint Maarten had the highest per capita income among the five islands that formerly comprised the Netherlands Antilles.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $365.8 million (2014 est.) $353.5 million (2013 est.) $339.6 million (2012 est.)

note: data are in 2014 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): $304.1 million (2014 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.6% (2014 est.) 4.1% (2013 est.) 1.9% (2012 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $66,800 (2014 est.) $65,500 (2013 est.) $63,900 (2012 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars GDP - composition, by sector of origin: agriculture: 0.4% (2008 est.) industry: 18.3% (2008 est.) services: 81.3% (2008 est.)
Agriculture - products: sugar
Industries: tourism, light industry
Labor force: 23,200 (2008 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 1.1%
industry: 15.2%
services: 83.7% (2008 est.)
Unemployment rate: 12% (2012 est.) 10.6% (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4% (2012 est.) 0.7% (2009 est.)
Exports - commodities: sugar
Imports - commodities:
Exchange rates: Netherlands Antillean guilders (ANG) per US dollar - 1.79 (2017 est.) 1.79 (2016 est.) 1.79 (2015 est.) 1.79 (2014 est.) 1.79 (2013 est.)
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Electricity - production: 304.3 million kWh (2008 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 10,600 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 10,440 bbl/day (2015 est.)
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Telephone system: general assessment: generally adequate facilities (2018)

domestic: extensive interisland microwave radio relay links (2018)

international: country code - 1-721; the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) and the Americas-2 submarine cable systems provide connectivity to Central America, parts of South America, the Caribbean, and the U.S.; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Internet country code: .sx; note - IANA has designated .sx for Sint Maarten, but has not yet assigned it to a sponsoring organization
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Airports: 1 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2017) note: Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) was severely damaged on 6 September 2017 by hurricane Irma, but resumed commercial operations on 10 October 2017
Roadways: total 53 km
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Philipsburg oil terminal(s): Coles Bay oil terminal
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Defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Military branches: no regular military forces (2012)
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 Transnational Issues
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   Source: CIA - The World Factbook

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