Curacao

WorldABC.xyz: facts on every entity in the world

Originally settled by Arawak Indians, Curacao was seized by the Dutch in 1634 along with the neighboring island of Bonaire. Once the center of the Caribbean slave trade, Curacao was hard hit economically by the abolition of slavery in 1863. Its prosperity (and that of neighboring Aruba) was restored in the early 20th century with the construction of the Isla Refineria to service the newly discovered Venezuelan oil fields. In 1954, Curacao and several other Dutch Caribbean possessions were reorganized as the Netherlands Antilles, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In referenda in 2005 and 2009, the citizens of Curacao voted to become a self-governing country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The change in status became effective in October 2010 with the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles.

Geography

Location

Caribbean, an island in the Caribbean Sea, 30 nm off the coast of Venezuela

Geographic coordinates

12.10° N, 69.00° W

Area 200/257

total: 444 sq km

land: 444 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

more than twice the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km

Coastline

364 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive fishing zone: 12 nm

Climate

tropical marine climate, ameliorated by northeast trade winds, results in mild temperatures; semiarid with average rainfall of 60 cm/year

Terrain

generally low, hilly terrain

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

highest point: Mt. Christoffel 372m

Natural resources

calcium phosphates, aloes, sorghum, peanuts, vegetables, tropical fruit

Land use

agricultural land: 10%

arable land 10%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 0%

forest: 0%

other: 90% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

NA

Total renewable water resources

NA

Natural hazards

Curacao is south of the Caribbean hurricane belt and is rarely threatened

Environment - current issues

NA

Geography - note

Curacao is a part of the Windward Islands (southern) group

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Curacaoan

adjective: Curacaoan; Dutch

Ethnic groups

Afro-Caribbean majority; Dutch, French, Latin American, East Asian, South Asian, Jewish minorities

Languages

Papiamento (official) (a creole language that is a mixture of Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, English, and, to a lesser extent, French, as well as elements of African languages and the language of the Arawak) 81.2%, Dutch (official) 8%, Spanish 4%, English (official) 2.9%, other 3.9% (2001 census)

Religions

Roman Catholic 72.8%, Pentecostal 6.6%, Protestant 3.2%, Adventist 3%, Jehovah's Witness 2%, Evangelical 1.9%, other 3.8%, none 6%, unspecified 0.6% (2011 est.)

Population 189/238

148,406 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 20.3% (male 15,334/female 14,739)

15-24 years: 14.7% (male 11,356/female 10,448)

25-54 years: 37.6% (male 27,125/female 28,716)

55-64 years: 13.2% (male 8,545/female 11,150)

65 years and over: 14.2% (male 8,698/female 12,340) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 51.1%

youth dependency ratio: 28.7%

elderly dependency ratio: 22.4%

potential support ratio: 4.5% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 36.1 years

male: 33 years

female: 39.9 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate

0.43% (2015 est.)

Birth rate

NA 13.8 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 98/225

8.2 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 59/222

-1.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 89.3% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 2.04% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

WILLEMSTED (capital) 145,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.09 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.77 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female

total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 7.9 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 8.5 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 7.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 62/224

total population: 78.2 years

male: 75.9 years

female: 80.6 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 107/224

2.07 children born/woman (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths

NA

Government

Country name

Dutch long form: Land Curacao

Dutch short form: Curacao

Papiamentu long form: Pais Korsou

Papiamentu short form: Korsou

former: Netherlands Antilles; Curacao and Dependencies

Government type

parliamentary

Capital

name: Willemstad

geographic coordinates: 12.06° N, 68.55° W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

Independence

none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

National holiday

King's Day, 27 April 1967

Constitution

previous 1947, 1955; latest adopted 5 September 2010, entered into force 10 October 2010 (regulates governance of Curacao but is subordinate to the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands); note - in October 2010, with the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, Curacao became a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Legal system

based on Dutch civil law system with some English common law influence

Citizenship

see the Netherlands

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King WILLEM-ALEXANDER of the Netherlands (since 30 April 2013); represented by Governor Lucille A. GEORGE-WOUT (since 4 November 2013)

head of government: Prime Minister Bernard WHITEMAN (1 September 2015); Prime Minister Ivar ASJES resigned 31 August 2015

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor

elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party is usually elected prime minister by the parliament; next election is scheduled for 2016

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Estates of Curacao or Staten van Curacao (21 seats; members directly elected by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held 19 October 2012 (next to be held in 2016)

election results: percent of vote by party - PS 22.6%, MFK 21.2%, PAR 19.7%, PAIS 17.7%, MAN 9.5%, PNP 5.9%, other 3.4%; seats by party - PS 5, MFK 5, PAR 4, PAIS 4, MAN 2, PNP 1

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Common Court of Justice of Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (consists of judges from the subordinate courts)

judge selection and terms of office: NA

subordinate courts: first instance courts, appeals court; specialized courts

Political parties and leaders

Movementu Futuro Korsou or MFK [Gerrit SCHOTTE]

Movishon Antia Nobo or MAN [Hensley KOEIMAN]

Partido Antia Restruktura or PAR [Zita JESUS-LEITO]

Partido pa Adelanto I Inovashon Soshal or PAIS [Alex ROSARIA]

Partido Nashonal di Pueblo or PNP [Humphrey DAVELAAR]

Pueblo Soberano or PS [Ivar ASJES]

Flag description

on a blue field a horizontal yellow band somewhat below the center divides the flag into proportions of 5:1:2; two five-pointed white stars - the smaller above and to the left of the larger - appear in the canton; the blue of the upper and lower sections symbolizes the sky and sea respectively; yellow represents the sun; the stars symbolize Curacao and its uninhabited smaller sister island of Klein Curacao; the five star points signify the five continents from which Curacao's people derive

National symbol(s)

laraha (citrus tree); national colors: blue, yellow, white

National anthem

name: Himmo di Korsou (Anthem of Curacao)

lyrics/music: Guillermo ROSARIO, Mae HENRIQUEZ, Enrique MULLER, Betty DORAN/Frater Candidus NOWENS, Errol "El Toro" COLINA

note: adapted 1978; the lyrics, originally written in 1899, were rewritten in 1978 to make them less colonial in nature

Economy

Economy - overview

Tourism, petroleum refining and bunkering, offshore finance, and transportation and communications are the mainstays of this small island economy, which is closely tied to the outside world. Although GDP grew only slightly during the past decade, Curacao enjoys a high per capita income and a well-developed infrastructure compared with other countries in the region. Curacao has an excellent natural harbor that can accommodate large oil tankers, and the Port of Willemstad hosts a free trade zone and a dry dock. Venezuelan state oil company PdVSA, under a contract in effect until 2019, leases the single refinery on the island from the government, directly employing some 1,000 people; most of the oil for the refinery is imported from Venezuela; most of the refined products are exported to the US and Asia. Almost all consumer and capital goods are imported, with the US, the Netherlands and Venezuela being the major suppliers. The government is attempting to diversify its industry and trade and has signed an Association Agreement with the EU to expand business there. Most of Curacao’s GDP results from services. Curacao has limited natural resources, poor soil, and inadequate water supplies, and budgetary problems complicate reform of the health and education systems. In 2013, the government implemented changes to the sales tax and reformed the public pension and health care systems, including increasing the sales tax from 5% to as high as 9% on some products, raising the age for public pension withdrawals to 65, and requiring citizens to pay higher premiums.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 185/230

$3.128 billion (2012 est.)

$3.02 billion (2011 est.)

$2.96 billion (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$5.6 billion (2012 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 71/225

3.6% (2012 est.)

2% (2011 est.)

0.1% (2010 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 107/230

$15,000 (2004 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.7%

industry: 15.5%

services: 83.8% (2012 est.)

Agriculture - products

aloe, sorghum, peanuts, vegetables, tropical fruit

Industries

tourism, petroleum refining, petroleum transshipment, light manufacturing, financial and business services

Industrial production growth rate

NA%

Labor force 185/233

73,010 (2013)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 1.2%

industry: 16.9%

services: 81.8% (2008 est.)

Unemployment rate 140/207

13% (2013 est.)

9.8% (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 184/219

16.6% of GDP (2012 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 40/220

-0.4% of GDP (2012 est.)

Public debt 132/176

33.2% of GDP (2012 est.)

40.6% of GDP (2011 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 129/226

2.6% (2013 est.)

2.8% (2012 est.)

Exports 147/224

$1.607 billion (2011 est.)

$1.44 billion (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities

petroleum products

Imports 173/223

$1.285 billion (2011 est.)

$1.275 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, food, manufactures

Exchange rates

Netherlands Antillean guilders (ANG) per US dollar -

1.79 (2014)

1.79 (2013)

1.79 (2012 est.)

1.79 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 142/220

1.785 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 153/219

968 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - exports 116/218

0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports 127/219

0 kWh (2009 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 115/215

0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 110/214

531 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 87/212

72,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 33/214

211,100 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 25/213

291,700 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Natural gas - production 167/216

0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 126/215

0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - exports 74/215

0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - imports 173/214

0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 121/212

0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Communications

Telephone system

international: country code - 599

Broadcast media

government-run Telecuracao operates a TV station and a radio station; several privately owned radio stations

Internet country code

.cw

Internet hosts

NA

Internet users

NA

Transportation

Roadways 193/223

total: 550 km

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Willemstad

oil terminal(s): Bullen Baai (Curacao Terminal)

bulk cargo port(s): Fuik Bay (phosphate rock)

Military and Security

Military branches

no regular military forces; the Dutch Government controls foreign and defense policy (2012)

Military service age and obligation

no conscription (2010)