ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

LOCATION AND SIZE.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are islands situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, north of Trinidad and Tobago. They form part of the Windward Islands, which also include St. Lucia, Dominica, Grenada, and Martinique. The island of Saint Vincent has an area of 344 square kilometers (133 square miles) and its 32 dependent islands and cays in the Grenadine island chain have a total area of 45 square kilometers (17 square miles). The main inhabited islands of the Grenadines are Bequia, Mustique, Union Island, and Canouan. Others are privately owned. Saint Vincent is approximately twice the size of Washington, D.C., and has a coastline of 84 kilometers (52 miles). The capital and only town of any size is Kingstown, situated on the island's southwest coast.

POPULATION.

The population of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was estimated at 115,461 in mid-2000. This represented a population growth rate of 0.43 percent from the previous year, consistent with annual average increases of 0.4 percent from 1995 onwards. At this rate of growth, the population will stand at approximately 125,000 in 2010. The great majority of Vincentians live on the main island of Saint Vincent, with the population of Bequia, the largest dependency, numbering no more than 5,000.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines' relatively low population growth rate is partly the result of family planning campaigns supported by the government and partly a consequence of marked patterns of migration. The island has traditionally depended on migration to the United Kingdom, United States, and other, larger Caribbean islands as a solution to its chronic unemployment problem, and in 2000 there were an estimated 7.75 migrants per 1,000 population. The country's population is evenly distributed among age groups, with 30 percent of Vincentians aged between 0 and 14 years, 63 percent between 15 and 64, and 7 percent 65 and older. Life expectancy on the islands is 72.3 years. Approximately 66 percent of the population is of African descent, with smaller communities of mixed-race, white, and Indian-descended Vincentians. The Anglican church is the largest in the country, attracting 47 percent of the population; 28 percent of the people are Methodists and 13 percent Roman Catholics, with the remainder adhering to other faiths. Most people live in small villages or towns, which are mostly situated around the coast.

DEPENDENCIES

St. Vincent and the Grenadines has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Caribbean Development Bank. Annual Report 1999. Barbados, 2000.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: OECS. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2000.

"The Path to Caribbean Nationhood." Unity Labour Party. <http://www.ulpsvg.com/manifesto/manifesto2.htm> . Accessed July 2001.

"Saint Vincent and the Grenadines." South America, Central America and the Caribbean 2001. London: Europa Publications, 2001.

"St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the IMF." International Monetary Fund . <http://www.imf.org/external/country/VCT/index.htm> . Accessed July 2001.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000 . <http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html> . Accessed July 2001.

U.S. State Department. Background Notes: St. Vincent & the Grenadines . <http://www.state.gov/www/background_notes/stvincent_0600_bgn.html> . Accessed July 2001.

—James Ferguson

CAPITAL:

Kingstown.

MONETARY UNIT:

Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$). One EC dollar equals 100 cents. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents and 1 EC dollar, and notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 EC dollars.

CHIEF EXPORTS:

Bananas, fruit and vegetables, arrowroot, sporting goods.

CHIEF IMPORTS:

Foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, chemicals and fertilizers, minerals and fuels.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

US$309 million (1999 est.).

BALANCE OF TRADE:

Exports: US$47.8 million (1998 est.). Imports: US$180 million (1998 est.).

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