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People and Society






The island - discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino Indians, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated and replaced by African slaves. England seized the island in 1655 and established a plantation economy based on sugar, cocoa, and coffee. The abolition of slavery in 1834 freed a quarter million slaves, many of whom became small farmers. Jamaica gradually increased its independence from Britain. In 1958 it joined other British Caribbean colonies in forming the Federation of the West Indies. Jamaica gained full independence when it withdrew from the Federation in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence as rival gangs affiliated with the major political parties evolved into powerful organized crime networks involved in international drug smuggling and money laundering. Violent crime, drug trafficking, and poverty pose significant challenges to the government today. Nonetheless, many rural and resort areas remain relatively safe and contribute substantially to the economy.


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People And Society

Noun Jamaican(s)
Adjective Jamaican

Ethnic groups
Black 91.2%, mixed 6.2%, other or unknown 2.6% (2001 census)

English, English patois

Protestant 62.5% (Seventh-Day Adventist 10.8%, Pentecostal 9.5%, Other Church of God 8.3%, Baptist 7.2%, New Testament Church of God 6.3%, Church of God in Jamaica 4.8%, Church of God of Prophecy 4.3%, Anglican 3.6%, other Christian 7.7%), Roman Catholic 2.6%, other or unspecified 14.2%, none 20.9%, (2001 census)

Population World Ranking: 139
2,889,187 (July 2012 est.)

Age structure
0-14 years
30.1% (male 438,888/female 424,383)
15-64 years
62.3% (male 882,548/female 904,242)
65 years and over
7.6% (male 97,717/female 120,602) (2011 est.)

Median age
Total 24.4 years
Male 23.9 years
Female 24.9 years (2012 est.)

Population growth rate World Ranking: 139
0.714% (2012 est.)

Birth rate World Ranking: 101
18.89 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate World Ranking: 147
6.59 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate World Ranking: 193
-5.17 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Urban population 52% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization
0.6% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population
KINGSTON (capital) 580,000 (2009)

Sex ratio
At birth 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over 0.81 male(s)/female
Total population
0.98 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate World Ranking: 67
110 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate World Ranking: 122
Total 14.3 deaths/1,000 live births
Male 14.87 deaths/1,000 live births
13.69 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)

Life expectancy at birth World Ranking: 118
Total population 73.43 years
Male 71.78 years
Female 75.15 years (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate World Ranking: 111
2.12 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Health expenditures World Ranking: 49
8.3% of GDP (2009)

Physicians density
0.85 physicians/1,000 population (2003)

Hospital bed density
1.7 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Hiv/aids - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 33
1.7% (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - people living with hiv/aids World Ranking: 68
32,000 (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - deaths World Ranking: 65
1,200 (2009 est.)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight World Ranking: 110
2.2% (2007)

Education expenditures World Ranking: 34
5.8% of GDP (2009)

Age 15 and over has ever attended school
Total population 87.9%
Male 84.1%
Female 91.6% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
Total 14 years
Male 13 years
Female 15 years (2008)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 World Ranking: 20
Total 27.1%
Male 22.5%
Female 33.1% (2009)


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  Jamaica (Kingston):

  GPS points from Jamaica (Kingston)

Tyrells River Parish Of Saint Mary

The Rectory Parish Of Portland

Coffee River Parish Of Portland

Pedro Cays Jamaica (general)

Green Ross Field Isles Parish Of Saint Thomas

Robins Bay Parish Of Saint Mary

Fort William Bay Parish Of Saint Thomas

Fustic Grove St. Elizabeth
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