Cayman Islands
(dependent territory of the UK)
[Country Flag of Cayman Islands]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Cayman Islands]

Cayman Islands


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Location: Caribbean, island group in Caribbean Sea, nearly one-half of the way from Cuba to Honduras

Geographic coordinates: 19 30 N, 80 30 W

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

total: 260 sq km
land: 260 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area—comparative: 1.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 160 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical marine; warm, rainy summers (May to October) and cool, relatively dry winters (November to April)

Terrain: low-lying limestone base surrounded by coral reefs

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: The Bluff 43 m

Natural resources: fish, climate and beaches that foster tourism

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 8%
forests and woodland: 23%
other: 69% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: hurricanes (July to November)

Environment—current issues: no natural fresh water resources, drinking water supplies must be met by rainwater catchment

Environment—international agreements:
party to: NA
signed, but not ratified: NA

Geography—note: important location between Cuba and Central America


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Population: 37,716 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA

Population growth rate: 4.22% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 13.95 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 4.98 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 33.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)
note: major destination for Cubans trying to migrate to the US

Infant mortality rate: 8.4 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.1 years
male: 75.37 years
female: 78.81 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.34 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Caymanian(s)
adjective: Caymanian

Ethnic groups: mixed 40%, white 20%, black 20%, expatriates of various ethnic groups 20%

Religions: United Church (Presbyterian and Congregational), Anglican, Baptist, Roman Catholic, Church of God, other Protestant denominations

Languages: English

definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 98%
male: 98%
female: 98% (1970 est.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Cayman Islands

Data code: CJ

Dependency status: dependent territory of the UK

Government type: NA

National capital: George Town

Administrative divisions: 8 districts; Creek, Eastern, Midland, South Town, Spot Bay, Stake Bay, West End, Western

Independence: none (dependent territory of the UK)

National holiday: Constitution Day (first Monday in July)

Constitution: 1959, revised 1972 and 1992

Legal system: British common law and local statutes

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II of the UK (since 6 February 1952)
head of government: Governor and President of the Executive Council John Wynne OWEN (since 15 September 1995)
cabinet: Executive Council (three members appointed by the governor, four members elected by the Legislative Assembly)
elections: none; the queen is a hereditary monarch; the governor is appointed by the queen

Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Assembly (18 seats, 3 official members and 15 elected by popular vote; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 20 November 1996 (next to be held NA November 2000)
election results: percent of vote—NA; seats—National Team coalition 9, independents 6

Judicial branch: Grand Court; Cayman Islands Court of Appeal

Political parties and leaders: no formal political parties

International organization participation: Caricom (observer), CDB, Interpol (subbureau), IOC

Diplomatic representation in the US: none (dependent territory of the UK)

Diplomatic representation from the US: none (dependent territory of the UK)

Flag description: blue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Caymanian coat of arms on a white disk centered on the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms includes a pineapple and turtle above a shield with three stars (representing the three islands) and a scroll at the bottom bearing the motto HE HATH FOUNDED IT UPON THE SEAS


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Economy—overview: With no direct taxation, the Islands are a thriving offshore financial center; 28,000 foreign companies do business with the 600 registered banks and trust companies; banking assets exceed $500 billion. Tourism is also a mainstay, accounting for about 70% of GDP and 75% of foreign currency earnings. The tourist industry is aimed at the luxury market and caters mainly to visitors from North America. Total tourist arrivals exceeded 1 million visitors in 1995 and again in 1996. About 90% of the islands' food and consumer goods must be imported. The Caymanians enjoy one of the highest outputs per capita and one of the highest standards of living in the world.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$860 million (1996 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 4.5% (1996 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$23,800 (1996 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 1.4%
industry: 3.2%
services: 95.4% (1994 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 2.1% (1996 est.)

Labor force:
total: 8,061
by occupation: service workers 18.7%, clerical 18.6%, construction 12.5%, finance and investment 6.7%, directors and business managers 5.9% (1979)

Unemployment rate: 7% (1992)

revenues: $141.5 million
expenditures: $160.7 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1991)

Industries: tourism, banking, insurance and finance, construction, construction materials, furniture

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity—capacity: 75,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 230 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 6,929 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: vegetables, fruit; livestock; turtle farming

total value: $3.4 million (f.o.b., 1995 est.)
commodities: turtle products, manufactured consumer goods
partners: mostly US

total value: $333 million (c.i.f., 1995 est.)
commodities: foodstuffs, manufactured goods
partners: US, Trinidad and Tobago, UK, Netherlands Antilles, Japan

Debt—external: $NA

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA

Currency: 1 Caymanian dollar (CI$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Caymanian dollars (CI$) per US$1—0.83 (3 November 1995), 0.85 (22 November 1993)

Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March


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Telephones: 21,584 (1993 est.)

Telephone system:
domestic: NA
international: 1 submarine coaxial cable; satellite earth station—1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 1, shortwave 0

Radios: 28,200 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 1 (1995)

Televisions: 6,000 (1992 est.)


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Railways: 0 km

total: 406 km
paved: 304 km
unpaved: 102 km

Ports and harbors: Cayman Brac, George Town

Merchant marine:
total: 54 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 751,113 GRT/1,139,958 DWT
ships by type: bulk 4, cargo 8, chemical tanker 4, container 5, oil tanker 6, refrigerated cargo 18, roll-on/roll-off cargo 7, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 1
note: a flag of convenience registry; includes ships from 10 countries: Greece 11, US 8, UK 5, Cyprus 1, Finland 1, India 1, Japan 1, Norway 1, Sweden 1, and Switzerland 1 (1997 est.)

Airports: 3 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (1997 est.)


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Military branches: Royal Cayman Islands Police Force (RCIPF)

Military—note: defense is the responsibility of the UK

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none

Illicit drugs: vulnerable to drug money-laundering and drug transshipment