Commonwealth of Dominica
LOCATION AND SIZE.
Dominica is an island located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean. Its total area is 754 square kilometers (291 square miles), making it the largest of the English-speaking Windward Islands, and it is slightly more than 4 times the size of Washington, D.C. Its coastline measures 148 kilometers (92 miles), and its capital and main urban center, Roseau, is located on the southwest coast.
Dominica's population was estimated at 71,540 in mid-2000, marking a decline of 1.14 percent from the preceding year and a fall from the official mid-1998 estimate of 73,000. The decline in population, despite relatively high life expectancy and a birth rate of 18.27 per 1,000 population, is mostly due to a high degree of migration, estimated at 22.39 migrants per 1,000 population in 2000. Migration is largely caused by lack of work opportunities, and Dominicans are to be found working in other Caribbean islands (notably the French overseas departments), the United States, and, to a lesser degree, the United Kingdom. At current rates of population decrease, Dominica could have only 65,000 inhabitants by 2010. The death rate is Dominica is 7.3 per 1,000.
The island's mountainous landscape means that its population is mostly clustered along the coast. About 30 percent of Dominicans live in the parish of St. George, in or around Roseau, while the volcanic interior is very sparsely inhabited. Generally, Dominica is not densely populated, and its population is by regional standards evenly distributed between age groups. Islanders aged 14 and under make up 29 percent of the population, while 63 percent are between 15 and 64 years old. The remaining 8 percent includes those 65 and older. Approximately 90 percent of Dominicans are of African descent, and the island is also home to some 2,000 descendants of the indigenous Carib population. A small minority of these Caribs are the last surviving descendants of the Caribbean islands' pre-Columbian peoples and live in a 3,700-acre reservation in the northeast part of the island.
English is the official language of Dominica, and the literacy rate is 94 percent. Nearly 80 percent of the citizens are Roman Catholic, with Protestants making up 15 percent, and the remainder spread among several other Christian and non-Christian faiths.
Dominica has no territories or colonies.
Dominica's currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$). One EC dollar equals 100 cents. There are coins of 10, 20, and 50 cents. Paper money comes in bills of 1, 5, 10, and 20 dollars.
Bananas, soap, bay oil, vegetables, grapefruit, oranges.
Manufactured goods, machinery and equipment, food, chemicals.
GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:
US$225 million (1998 est.).
BALANCE OF TRADE:
Exports: US$60.8 million (1998). Imports: US$120.4 million (1998).