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Virgin Islands


Virgin Islands
Introduction Virgin Islands
Background: During the 17th century, the
archipelago was divided into two
territorial units, one English and
the other Danish. Sugarcane,
produced by slave labor, drove the
islands' economy during the 18th and
early 19th centuries. In 1917, the
US purchased the Danish portion,
which had been in economic decline
since the abolition of slavery in

Geography Virgin Islands
Location: Caribbean, islands between the
Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic
Ocean, east of Puerto Rico
Geographic coordinates: 18 20 N, 64 50 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 352 sq km
water: 3 sq km
land: 349 sq km
Area - comparative: twice the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 188 km
Maritime claims: exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate: subtropical, tempered by easterly
trade winds, relatively low
humidity, little seasonal
temperature variation; rainy season
May to November
Terrain: mostly hilly to rugged and
mountainous with little level land
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Crown Mountain 474 m
Natural resources: sun, sand, sea, surf
Land use: arable land: 15%
permanent crops: 6%
other: 79% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: NA sq km
Natural hazards: several hurricanes in recent years;
frequent and severe droughts and
floods; occasional earthquakes
Environment - current issues: lack of natural freshwater resources
Geography - note: important location along the Anegada
Passage - a key shipping lane for
the Panama Canal; Saint Thomas has
one of the best natural deepwater
harbors in the Caribbean

People Virgin Islands
Population: 123,498 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 26.7% (male 16,926;
female 16,012)
15-64 years: 64.2% (male 35,801;
female 43,443)
65 years and over: 9.1% (male 4,851;
female 6,465) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.04% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 15.85 births/1,000 population (2002
Death rate: 5.58 deaths/1,000 population (2002
Net migration rate: 0.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population
(2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.82 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/
total population: 0.87 male(s)/
female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 9.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2002
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 78.43 years
female: 82.53 years (2002 est.)
male: 74.55 years
Total fertility rate: 2.24 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Virgin Islander(s)
adjective: Virgin Islander
Ethnic groups: black 80%, white 15%, other 5%
note: West Indian (45% born in the
Virgin Islands and 29% born
elsewhere in the West Indies) 74%,
US mainland 13%, Puerto Rican 5%,
other 8%
Religions: Baptist 42%, Roman Catholic 34%,
Episcopalian 17%, other 7%
Languages: English (official), Spanish, Creole
Literacy: definition: NA
total population: NA%
male: NA%
female: NA%

Government Virgin Islands
Country name: conventional long form: United
States Virgin Islands
conventional short form: Virgin
former: Danish West Indies
Dependency status: organized, unincorporated territory
of the US with policy relations
between the Virgin Islands and the
US under the jurisdiction of the
Office of Insular Affairs, US
Department of the Interior
Government type: NA
Capital: Charlotte Amalie
Administrative divisions: none (territory of the US); there
are no first-order administrative
divisions as defined by the US
Government, but there are three
islands at the second order; Saint
Croix, Saint John, Saint Thomas
National holiday: Transfer Day (from Denmark to the
US), 27 March (1917)
Constitution: Revised Organic Act of 22 July 1954
Legal system: based on US laws
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal; note -
indigenous inhabitants are US
citizens but do not vote in US
presidential elections
Executive branch: chief of state: President George W.
BUSH of the US (since 20 January
2001); Vice President Richard B.
CHENEY (Since 20 January 2001)
election results: Dr. Charles Wesley
TURNBULL elected governor; percent
of vote - Dr. Charles W. TURNBULL
(Democrat) 58.9%, former Governor
Roy L. SCHNEIDER (ICM) 41.1%
elections: US president and vice
president elected on the same ticket
for four-year terms; governor and
lieutenant governor elected on the
same ticket by popular vote for
four-year terms; election last held
3 November 1998 (next to be held NA
November 2002)
head of government: Governor Dr.
Charles Wesley TURNBULL (since 5
January 1999) and Lieutenant
Governor Gererd LUZ James II (since
5 January 1999)
cabinet: NA
Legislative branch: unicameral Senate (15 seats; members
are elected by popular vote to serve
two-year terms)
elections: last held 7 November 2000
(next to be held NA November 2002)
election results: percent of vote by
party - NA%; seats by party -
Democratic Party 6, ICM 2,
independents 4, no party affiliation
note: the Virgin Islands elects one
non-voting representative to the US
House of Representatives; election
last held 7 November 2000 (next to
be held NA November 2002); results -
(Democrat) elected
Judicial branch: US District Court of the Virgin
Islands (under Third Circuit
jurisdiction); Territorial Court
(judges appointed by the governor
for 10-year terms)
Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party [Arturo
WATLINGTON]; Independent Citizens'
Movement or ICM [Usie RICHARDS];
Republican Party [Gary SPRAUVE]
Political pressure groups and NA
International organization ECLAC (associate), Interpol
participation: (subbureau), IOC
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (territory of the US)
Diplomatic representation from the none (territory of the US)
Flag description: white, with a modified US coat of
arms in the center between the large
blue initials V and I; the coat of
arms shows a yellow eagle holding an
olive branch in one talon and three
arrows in the other with a
superimposed shield of vertical red
and white stripes below a blue panel

Economy Virgin Islands
Economy - overview: Tourism is the primary economic
activity, accounting for more than
70% of GDP and 70% of employment.
The islands normally host 2 million
visitors a year. The manufacturing
sector consists of petroleum
refining, textiles, electronics,
pharmaceuticals, and watch assembly.
The agricultural sector is small,
with most food being imported.
International business and financial
services are a small but growing
component of the economy. One of the
world's largest petroleum refineries
is at Saint Croix. The islands are
subject to substantial damage from
storms. The government is working to
improve fiscal discipline, support
construction projects in the private
sector, expand tourist facilities,
reduce crime, and protect the
GDP: purchasing power parity - $1.8
billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: NA%
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $15,000
(2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%
Labor force: 48,356 (2002 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 1%, industry 20%,
services 79% (1990 est.)
Unemployment rate: 4.9% (March 1999)
Budget: revenues: $364.4 million
expenditures: $364.4 million,
including capital expenditures of
$NA (1990 est.)
Industries: tourism, petroleum refining, watch
assembly, rum distilling,
construction, pharmaceuticals,
textiles, electronics
Industrial production growth rate: NA%
Electricity - production: 1.02 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (1999)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption: 948.6 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1999)
Agriculture - products: fruit, vegetables, sorghum; Senepol
Exports: $NA
Exports - commodities: refined petroleum products
Exports - partners: US, Puerto Rico
Imports: $NA
Imports - commodities: crude oil, foodstuffs, consumer
goods, building materials
Imports - partners: US, Puerto Rico
Debt - external: $NA
Economic aid - recipient: $NA
Currency: US dollar (USD)
Currency code: USD
Exchange rates: the US dollar is used
Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September

Communications Virgin Islands
Telephones - main lines in use: 62,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 2,000 (1992)
Telephone system: general assessment: NA
domestic: modern, uses fiber-optic
cable and microwave radio relay
international: submarine cable and
satellite communications; satellite
earth stations - NA
Radio broadcast stations: AM 5, FM 11, shortwave 0 (2002)
Radios: 107,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 2 (2002)
Televisions: 68,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .vi
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 50 (2000)
Internet users: 12,000 (2000)

Transportation Virgin Islands
Railways: 0 km
Highways: total: 856 km
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km (2000)
Waterways: none
Ports and harbors: Charlotte Amalie, Christiansted,
Cruz Bay, Port Alucroix
Merchant marine: none (2002 est.)
Airports: 2 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2001)

Military Virgin Islands
Military - note: defense is the responsibility of the

Transnational Issues Virgin Islands
Disputes - international: none
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