British Virgin Islands Population: 35,802


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First inhabited by Arawak and later by Carib Indians, the Virgin Islands were settled by the Dutch in 1648 and then annexed by the English in 1672. The islands were part of the British colony of the Leeward Islands from 1872-1960; they were granted autonomy in 1967. The economy is closely tied to the larger and more populous US Virgin Islands to the west; the US dollar is the legal currency. On 6 September 2017, Hurricane Irma devastated the island of Tortola. An estimated 80% of residential and business structures were destroyed or damaged, communications disrupted, and local roads rendered impassable.

    Strong ties to nearby US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico
Location: Caribbean, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico
Geographic coordinates: 18 30 N, 64 30 W
Area: 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

Size comparison: about 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC
Land Boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 80 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 3 nm exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate: subtropical; humid; temperatures moderated by trade winds
Terrain: coral islands relatively flat; volcanic islands steep, hilly
Natural resources: NEGL; pleasant climate, beaches foster tourism
Land use: agricultural land: 46.7% (2011 est.) arable land: 6.7% (2011 est.)
permanent crops: 6.7% (2011 est.) permanent pasture: 33.3% (2011 est.) forest: 24.3% (2011 est.)
other: 29% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: n/a
Natural hazards: hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October)
Current Environment Issues: limited natural freshwater resources except for a few seasonal streams and springs on Tortola; most of the islands' water supply comes from desalination plants; sewage and mining/industry waste contribute to water pollution, threatening coral reefs
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Nationality: noun: British Virgin Islander(s)
adjective: British Virgin Islander
Ethnic groups: African/black 76.3%, Latino 5.5%, white 5.4%, mixed 5.3%, Indian 2.1%, East Indian 1.6%, other 3%, unspecified 0.8% (2010 est.)
Languages: English (official)
Religions: Protestant 70.2% (Methodist 17.6%, Church of God 10.4%, Anglican 9.5%, Seventh Day Adventist 9.0%, Pentecostal 8.2%, Baptist 7.4%, New Testament Church of God 6.9%, other Protestant 1.2%), Roman Catholic 8.9%, Jehovah's Witness 2.5%, Hindu 1.9%, other 6.2%, none 7.9%, unspecified 2.4% (2010 est.)
Population: 35,802 (July 2018 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 16.72% (male 2,949 /female 3,036)
15-24 years: 12.98% (male 2,223 /female 2,425)
25-54 years: 49.05% (male 8,230 /female 9,330)
55-64 years: 11.93% (male 2,073 /female 2,199)
65 years and over: 9.32% (male 1,611 /female 1,726) (2018 est.)
Median age: total: 36.7 years
male: 36.5 years
female: 36.9 years (2018 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.2% (2018 est.)
Birth rate: 11.1 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate: 5.2 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate: 16.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 47.7% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: 2.42% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population: 15,000 ROAD TOWN (capital) (2018)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.88 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.93 male(s)/female
total population: 0.91 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 11.7 deaths/1,000 live births male: 13.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 78.9 years male: 77.5 years
female: 80.4 years (2018 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.3 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 98% of population
rural: 98% of population
total: 98% of population

urban: 2% of population
rural: 2% of population
total: 2% of population (2010 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 97.5% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 97.5% of population (2015 est.)
total: 97.5% of population (2015 est.)

urban: 2.5% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 2.5% of population (2015 est.)
total: 2.5% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: n/a
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: n/a
HIV/AIDS - deaths: n/a
Education expenditures: 6.3% of GDP (2015)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 14 years male: n/a female: n/a (2015)
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Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: British Virgin Islands
abbreviation: BVI
etymology: the myriad islets, cays, and rocks surrounding the major islands reminded explorer Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 of Saint Ursula and her 11,000 virgin followers (Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Virgenes), which over time shortened to the Virgins (las Virgenes)
Government type: parliamentary democracy (House of Assembly); self-governing overseas territory of the UK
Capital: name: Road Town
geographic coordinates: 18 25 N, 64 37 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: name refers to the nautical term "roadstead" or "roads," a body of water less sheltered than a harbor but where where ships can lie reasonably safely at anchor sheltered from rip currents, spring tides, or ocean swells
Administrative divisions: none (overseas territory of the UK)
Independence: none (overseas territory of the UK)
National holiday: Territory Day, 1 July (1956)
Constitution: several previous; latest effective 15 June 2007 (The Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007)
Legal system: English common law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Gus JASPERT (since 22 August 2017)

head of government: Premier Andrew FAHIE (since 26 February 2019)

cabinet: Executive Council appointed by the governor from members of the House of Assembly elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed premier by the governor
Legislative branch: description: unicameral House of Assembly (15 seats; 13 members - 9 in single-seat constituencies and 4 at-large seats directly elected by simple majority vote and 2 ex-officio members - the attorney general and the speaker - chosen from outside the House; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 25 February 2019 (next to be held in 2023)

election results: percent of vote by party - VIP 46.5%, NDP 28.2%, PVIM 17.4%, PU 8%; seats by party - VIP 8, NDP 3, PVIM 1, PU 1; composition - men 12, women 3, percent of women 20%
Judicial branch: highest courts: the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the superior court of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States; the ECSC - headquartered on St. Lucia - consists of the Court of Appeal - headed by the chief justice and 4 judges - and the High Court with 18 judges; the Court of Appeal is itinerant, travelling to member states on a schedule to hear appeals from the High Court and subordinate courts; High Court judges reside in the member states, with 3 in the British Virgin Islands judge selection and term of office: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court chief justice appointed by Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65; High Court judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 62

subordinate courts: Magistrates' Courts
Political parties and leaders: National Democratic Party or NDP [Myron WALWYN] People's Empowerment Party or PEP [Alvin CHRISTOPHER] Progressive Virgin Islands Movement or PVIM [Ronnie SKELTON] Progressives United or PU [Julian FRASER] Virgin Islands Party or VIP [Andrew FAHIE]
International organization participation: Caricom (associate), CDB, Interpol (subbureau), IOC, OECS, UNESCO (associate), UPU
National symbol(s): zenaida dove, white cedar flower;
national colors: yellow, green, red, white, blue
National anthem:

note: as a territory of the United Kingdom, "God Save the Queen" is official (see United Kingdom)
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (overseas territory of the UK)
Diplomatic representation from the US: none (overseas territory of the UK)
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The economy, one of the most stable and prosperous in the Caribbean, is highly dependent on tourism, which generates an estimated 45% of the national income. More than 934,000 tourists, mainly from the US, visited the islands in 2008. Because of traditionally close links with the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands has used the US dollar as its currency since 1959. Livestock raising is the most important agricultural activity; poor soils limit the islands' ability to meet domestic food requirements. 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $500 million (2017 est.) $490.2 million (2016 est.) $481.1 million (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $1.028 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2% (2017 est.) 1.9% (2016 est.) 1.8% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $34,200 (2017 est.) GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 25.1% (2017 est.) government consumption: 7.5% (2017 est.) investment in fixed capital: 21.7% (2017 est.) investment in inventories: 20.4% (2017 est.) exports of goods and services: 94.7% (2017 est.) imports of goods and services: -69.4% (2017 est.) GDP - composition, by sector of origin: agriculture: 0.2% (2017 est.) industry: 6.8% (2017 est.) services: 93.1% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products: fruits, vegetables; livestock, poultry; fish
Industries: tourism, light industry, construction, rum, concrete block, offshore banking center
Industrial production growth rate: 1.1% (2017 est.)
Labor force: 12,770 (2004)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 0.6%
industry: 40%
services: 59.4% (2005)
Unemployment rate: 2.9% (2015 est.)
Population below poverty line: n/a
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: n/a
highest 10%: n/a
Budget: revenues: 400 million (2017 est.)
expenditures: 400 million (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 38.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.) Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): 0% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.1% (2017 est.) 1.1% (2016 est.)
Current account balance: $362.6 million (2011 est.) $279.8 million (2010 est.)
Exports: $23 million (2017 est.) $23 million (2015 est.)
Exports - commodities: rum, fresh fish, fruits, animals; gravel, sand
Imports: $300 million n/a (2017 est.) $210 million (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities: building materials, automobiles, foodstuffs, machinery
Debt - external: $36.1 million (1997)
Exchange rates: the US dollar is used
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Electricity - production: 126.3 million kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 117.5 million kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 45,200 kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 97% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 3% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 20,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 1,227 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 183,300 Mt (2017 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total subscriptions: 42,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 126 (July 2106 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: good overall telephone service; major expansion sectors include the mobile telephony and data segments, which continue to appeal to operator investment; several operators licensed to provide services within individual markets, most of them are small and localised (2018)

domestic: fixed-line connections exceed 29 per 100 persons and mobile cellular subscribership is roughly 125 per 100 persons (2018)

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
Broadcast media: 1 private TV station; multi-channel TV is available from cable and satellite subscription services; about a half-dozen private radio stations
Internet country code: .vg
Internet users: total: 14,600
percent of population: 43.6% (July 2016 est.)
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Airports: 4 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2017)
under 914 m: 1 (2017)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)
Roadways: total 200 km
(2007) paved: 200 km (2007)
Merchant marine: total 25

by type: general cargo 4, other 21 (2018)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Road Harbor
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Defense is the responsibility of the UK
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: none
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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   Source: CIA - The World Factbook

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