The World Factbook (1990)/Barbados

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World Factbook (1990) Barbados.jpg

 See regional map III


Total area: 430 km²; land area: 430 km²

Comparative area: slightly less than 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 97 km

Maritime claims:

Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; rainy season (June to October)

Terrain: relatively flat; rises gently to central highland region

Natural resources: crude oil, fishing, natural gas

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

Environment: subject to hurricanes (especially June to October)

Note: easternmost Caribbean island


Population: 262,688 (July 1990), growth rate 0.6% (1990)

Birth rate: 18 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 8 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -5 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 16 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 73 years male, 77 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 2.1 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Barbadian(s); adjective—Barbadian

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

Religion: 70% Anglican, 9% Methodist, 4% Roman Catholic, 17% other, including Moravian

Language: English

Literacy: 99%

Labor force: 112,300; 37% services and government; 22% commerce, 22% manufacturing and construction; 9% transportation, storage, communications, and financial institutions; 8% agriculture; 2% utilities (1985 est.)

Organized labor: 32% of labor force


Long-form name: none

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—there may a new city of Bridgetown

Independence: 30 November 1966 (from UK)

Constitution: 30 November 1966

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

National holiday: Independence Day, 30 November (1966)

Executive branch: British monarch, governor general, prime minister, deputy prime minister, Cabinet

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of an upper house or Senate and a lower house or House of Assembly

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Judicature

Leaders: Chief of State—Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Hugh SPRINGER (since 24 February 1984);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Lloyd Erskine SANDIFORD (since 2 June 1987)

Political parties and leaders: Democratic Labor Party (DLP), Erskine Sandiford; Barbados Labor Party (BLP), Henry Forde; National Democratic Party (NDP), Richie Haynes

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: House of Assembly—last held 28 May 1986 (next to be held by May 1991); results—DLP 59.4%, BLP 40.6%; seats—(27 total) DLP 24, BLP 3; note—a split in the DLP in February 1989 resulted in the formation of the NDP, changing the status of seats to DLP 20, NDP 4, BLP 3

Communists: negligible

Other political or pressure groups: Industrial and General Workers Union, Bobby Clarke; People's Progressive Movement, Eric Sealy; Workers' Party of Barbados, Dr. George Belle

Member of: ACP, CARICOM, Commonwealth, FAO, G-77, GATT, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, IDB—Inter-American Development Bank, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, ISO, ITU, IWC—International Wheat Council, NAM, OAS, PAHO, SELA, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Sir William DOUGLAS; Chancery at 2144 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 939-9200 through 9202; there is a Barbadian Consulate General in New York and a Consulate in Los Angeles; US—Ambassador-nominee G. Philip HUGHES; Embassy at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Building, Broad Street, Bridgetown (mailing address is P. O. Box 302, Bridgetown or FPO Miami 34054); telephone (809) 436-4950 through 4957

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 $5,250 gives Barbados the highest standard 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. The tourist industry is now a major employer of the labor force and a primary source of foreign exchange. A high unemployment rate of about 19% in 1988 remains one of the most serious economic problems facing the country.

GDP: $1.3 billion, per capita $5,250 (1988 est.); real growth rate 3.7% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.7% (1988)

Unemployment: 18.6% (1988)

Budget: revenues $476 million; expenditures $543 million, including capital expenditures of $94 million (FY86)

Exports: $173 million (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—sugar and molasses, electrical components, clothing, rum, machinery and transport equipment; partners—US 30%, CARICOM, UK, Puerto Rico, Canada

Imports: $582 million (c.i.f., 1988); commodities—foodstuffs, consumer durables, raw materials, crude oil; partners—US 34%, CARICOM, Japan, UK, Canada

External debt: $635 million (December 1989 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate -5.4% (1987 est.)

Electricity: 132,000 kW capacity; 460 million kWh produced, 1,780 kWh per capita (1989)

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

Agriculture: accounts for 10% of GDP; major cash crop is sugarcane; other crops—vegetables and cotton; not self-sufficient in food

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-84), $14 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $144 million

Currency: Barbadian dollars (plural—dollars); 1 Barbadian dollar (Bds$) = 100 cents

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

Fiscal year: 1 April-31 March


Highways: 1,570 km total; 1,475 km paved, 95 km gravel and earth

Ports Bridgetown

Merchant marine: 2 cargo ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 3,200 GRT/7,338 DWT

Civil air: 2 major transport aircraft

Airports: 1 with permanent-surface runways 2,440-3,659 m

Telecommunications: islandwide automatic telephone system with 89,000 telephones; tropospheric scatter link to Trinidad and St. Lucia; stations—3 AM, 2 FM, 2 (1 is pay) TV; 1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: Barbados Defense Force, Royal Barbados Police Force

Military manpower: males 15-49, 67,677; 47,566 fit for military service, no conscription

Defense expenditures: 0.6% of GDP (1986)