Saint Kitts and Nevis

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Carib Indians occupied the islands of the West Indies for hundreds of years before the British began settlement in 1623. In 1967, the island territory of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla became an associated state of the UK with full internal autonomy. The island of Anguilla rebelled and was allowed to secede in 1971. The remaining islands achieved independence in 1983 as Saint Kitts and Nevis. In 1998, a referendum on Nevis to separate from Saint Kitts fell short of the two-thirds majority vote needed. Nevis continues in its efforts to separate from Saint Kitts.

Geography

Location

Caribbean, islands in the Caribbean Sea, about one-third of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago

Geographic coordinates

17.20° N, 62.45° W

Area 212/257

total: 261 sq km (Saint Kitts 168 sq km; Nevis 93 sq km)

land: 261 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

1.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km

Coastline

135 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin

Climate

tropical, tempered by constant sea breezes; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season (May to November)

Terrain

volcanic with mountainous interiors

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

highest point: Mount Liamuiga 1,156 m

Natural resources

arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 23.1%

arable land 19.2%; permanent crops 0.4%; permanent pasture 3.5%

forest: 42.3%

other: 34.6% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

8 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

0.02 cu km (2011)

Natural hazards

hurricanes (July to October)

Environment - current issues

NA

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

smallest country in the Americas and Western Hemisphere; with coastlines in the shape of a baseball bat and ball, the two volcanic islands are separated by a 3-km-wide channel called The Narrows; on the southern tip of long, baseball bat-shaped Saint Kitts lies the Great Salt Pond; Nevis Peak sits in the center of its almost circular namesake island and its ball shape complements that of its sister island

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Kittitian(s), Nevisian(s)

adjective: Kittitian, Nevisian

Ethnic groups

predominantly black; some British, Portuguese, and Lebanese

Languages

English (official)

Religions

Anglican, other Protestant, Roman Catholic

Population 210/238

51,936 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 20.99% (male 5,457/female 5,445)

15-24 years: 15.1% (male 3,845/female 3,999)

25-54 years: 45.01% (male 11,951/female 11,427)

55-64 years: 10.79% (male 2,806/female 2,800)

65 years and over: 8.1% (male 1,912/female 2,294) (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 34 years

male: 34.2 years

female: 33.9 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 144/233

0.76% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 147/224

13.5 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 130/225

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

Net migration rate 61/222

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

Urbanization

urban population: 32% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 1.27% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

BASSETERRE (capital) 14,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 147/224

total: 8.77 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 6.03 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 11.56 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 97/224

total population: 75.52 years

male: 73.09 years

female: 77.99 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 154/224

1.78 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Health expenditures 117/191

6.4% of GDP (2013)

Hospital bed density

2.3 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 98.3% of population

rural: 98.3% of population

total: 98.3% of population

unimproved:

urban: 1.7% of population

rural: 1.7% of population

total: 1.7% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 87.3% of population

rural: 87.3% of population

total: 87.3% of population

unimproved:

urban: 12.7% of population

rural: 12.7% of population

total: 12.7% of population (2007 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths

NA

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 11/191

28.4% (2014)

Education expenditures 105/173

4.2% of GDP (2007)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 13 years

male: 12 years

female: 13 years (2008)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis

conventional short form: Saint Kitts and Nevis

former: Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis

Government type

parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm

Capital

name: Basseterre

geographic coordinates: 17.18° N, 62.43° W

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

Administrative divisions

14 parishes; Christ Church Nichola Town, Saint Anne Sandy Point, Saint George Basseterre, Saint George Gingerland, Saint James Windward, Saint John Capesterre, Saint John Figtree, Saint Mary Cayon, Saint Paul Capesterre, Saint Paul Charlestown, Saint Peter Basseterre, Saint Thomas Lowland, Saint Thomas Middle Island, Trinity Palmetto Point

Independence

19 September 1983 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 19 September (1983)

Constitution

several previous (preindependence); latest presented 22 June 1983, effective 23 June 1983 (2015)

Legal system

English common law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 14 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Samuel W.T. SEATON (since 2 September 2015); note - SEATON was acting Governor General from 20 May to 2 September 2015

head of government: Prime Minister Timothy HARRIS (since 18 February 2015); Deputy Prime Minister Shawn RICHARDS (since 22 February 2015)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by governor general in consultation with prime minister

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by governor general; deputy prime minister appointed by governor general

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly (14 seats; 11 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 3 appointed by the governor general; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 16 February 2015 (next to be held by 2020)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PAM 4, SKNLP 3, CCM 2, PLP 1, NRP 1

Judicial branch

highest court(s): the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the itinerant superior court of record for the 9-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, which includes Saint Kitts and Nevis; the ECSC - with its headquarters on St. Lucia - is headed by the chief justice and comprised of the Court of Appeal with 3 justices and the High Court with 16 judges; sittings of the Court of Appeal and High Court rotate among the member states; 2 High Court judges reside on Saint Kitts and Nevis; note - the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in 2003 replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) as the final court of appeal on Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Kitts and Nevis is also a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice

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

Concerned Citizens Movement or CCM [Vance AMORY]

Nevis Reformation Party or NRP [Joseph PARRY]

People's Action Movement or PAM [Shawn RICHARDS]

People's Labour Party or PLP [Timothy HARRIS]

Saint Kitts and Nevis Labor Party or SKNLP [Dr. Denzil DOUGLAS]

Political pressure groups and leaders

NA

International organization participation

ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, MIGA, OAS, OECS, OPANAL, OPCW, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WTO

Flag description

divided diagonally from the lower hoist side by a broad black band bearing two white, five-pointed stars; the black band is edged in yellow; the upper triangle is green, the lower triangle is red; green signifies the island's fertility, red symbolizes the struggles of the people from slavery, yellow denotes year-round sunshine, and black represents the African heritage of the people; the white stars stand for the islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis, but can also express hope and liberty, or independence and optimism

National symbol(s)

brown pelican, Royal Poinciana (Flamboyant) tree; national colors: green, yellow, red, black, white

National anthem

name: "Oh Land of Beauty!"

lyrics/music: Kenrick Anderson GEORGES

note: adopted 1983

Economy

Economy - overview

The economy of Saint Kitts and Nevis depends on tourism; since the 1970s, tourism has replaced sugar as the economy’s traditional mainstay. Following the 2005 harvest, the government closed the sugar industry after several decades of losses. To compensate for lost jobs, the government has embarked on a program to diversify the agricultural sector and to stimulate other sectors of the economy, such as export-oriented manufacturing and offshore banking. Roughly 200,000 tourists visited the islands in 2009, but reduced tourism arrivals and foreign investment led to an economic contraction in 2009-2013, and the economy returned to growth only in 2014. Like other tourist destinations in the Caribbean, St. Kitts and Nevis is vulnerable to damage from natural disasters and shifts in tourism demand. The government has made notable progress on reducing its public debt, from 154% of GDP in 2011 to 83% in 2013, although it still faces one of the highest levels in the world, largely attributable to public enterprise losses.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 200/230

$1.358 billion (2015 est.)

$1.294 billion (2014 est.)

$1.22 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$889 million (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 42/225

5% (2015 est.)

6.1% (2014 est.)

6.2% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 80/230

$22,800 (2015 est.)

$21,700 (2014 est.)

$20,400 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 100/179

17.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

21.3% of GDP (2014 est.)

21.2% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 73.6%

government consumption: 10.7%

investment in fixed capital: 29.3%

investment in inventories: 0%

exports of goods and services: 25.3%

imports of goods and services: -38.9%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.7%

industry: 24.1%

services: 74.2% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

sugarcane, rice, yams, vegetables, bananas; fish

Industries

tourism, cotton, salt, copra, clothing, footwear, beverages

Industrial production growth rate 158/202

0.5% (2015 est.)

Labor force 213/233

18,170 (June 1995 est.)

Unemployment rate 46/207

4.5% (1997)

Population below poverty line

NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Budget

revenues: $296.3 million

expenditures: $259.3 million (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 73/219

33.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 9/220

4.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 30/176

83% of GDP (2013 est.)

144% of GDP (2012 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 91/226

1.6% (2015 est.)

1% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 54/156

6.5% (31 December 2009)

6.5% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 88/184

9.4% (31 December 2015 est.)

9.28% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 181/192

$220.1 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$215.6 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 170/193

$964.8 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.094 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 179/191

$333.3 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$396.7 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 112/121

$598.4 million (31 December 2011)

$598.4 million (31 December 2011)

$623.9 million

Current account balance 70/197

-$112 million (2015 est.)

-$65 million (2014 est.)

Exports 199/224

$61.3 million (2015 est.)

$62.9 million (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

machinery, food, electronics, beverages, tobacco

Exports - partners

US 49.9%, Canada 5.3%, Azerbaijan 4.8%, Bolivia 4.7%, Bangladesh 4.4% (2014)

Imports 203/223

$240.3 million (2015 est.)

$241.8 million (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery, manufactures, food, fuels

Imports - partners

US 39.3%, Trinidad and Tobago 17.8%, Germany 11.8%, China 4.3% (2014)

Debt - external 190/206

$156.1 million (31 December 2014 est.)

$158.8 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Exchange rates

East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar -

2.7 (2015 est.)

2.7 (2014 est.)

2.7 (2013 est.)

2.7 (2012 est.)

2.7 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 195/220

140 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 196/219

130.2 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 191/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 197/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 189/214

46,200 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 69/214

95.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 176/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 198/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 59/212

4.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 186/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 183/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 121/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 185/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 127/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 190/212

1,700 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 129/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 186/213

1,690 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 124/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 190/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 174/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 129/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 189/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 195/212

250,700 Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 185/219

total subscriptions: 19,100

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 37 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 196/217

total: 76,600

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 149 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: good interisland and international connections

domestic: interisland links via Eastern Caribbean Fiber Optic cable; construction of enhanced wireless infrastructure launched in November 2004; fixed-line teledensity about 40 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular teledensity is roughly 170 per 100 persons

international: country code - 1-869; connected internationally by the East Caribbean Fiber Optic System (ECFS) and Southern Caribbean fiber optic system (SCF) submarine cables (2010)

Broadcast media

the government operates a national TV network that broadcasts on 2 channels; cable subscription services provide access to local and international channels; the government operates a national radio network; a mix of government-owned and privately owned broadcasters operate roughly 15 radio stations (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 3, FM 8, shortwave 0 (2008)

Television broadcast stations

1 (plus 3 repeaters) (2003)

Internet country code

.kn

Internet hosts 213/232

54 (2012)

Internet users 203/217

total: 17,000

percent of population: 34.4% (2009)

Transportation

Airports 209/236

2 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)

Railways 132/136

total: 50 km

narrow gauge: 50 km 0.762-m gauge on Saint Kitts for tourists (2008)

Roadways 201/223

total: 383 km

paved: 163 km

unpaved: 220 km (2002)

Merchant marine 38/156

total: 152

by type: bulk carrier 16, cargo 81, chemical tanker 4, combination ore/oil 1, container 2, liquefied gas 3, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 7, petroleum tanker 27, refrigerated cargo 4, roll on/roll off 4, specialized tanker 1

foreign-owned: 73 (Belgium 1, China 1, Egypt 1, Greece 2, India 2, Japan 2, Malaysia 1, Norway 3, Pakistan 1, Russia 13, Singapore 10, Turkey 18, UAE 8, UK 1, Ukraine 8, US 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Basseterre, Charlestown

Military and Security

Military branches

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Security, Labour, Immigration, and Social Security: Royal Saint Kitts and Nevis Defense Force (includes Coast Guard), Royal Saint Kitts and Nevis Police Force (2013)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

joins other Caribbean states to counter Venezuela's claim that Aves Island sustains human habitation, a criterion under United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which permits Venezuela to extend its Economic Exclusion Zone/continental shelf over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean Sea

Illicit drugs

transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; some money-laundering activity