Country List | World Factbook Home
CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Dominica
Flag of Dominica
Map of Dominica
Introduction Dominica
Dominica was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonized by Europeans, due chiefly to the fierce resistance of the native Caribs. France ceded possession to Great Britain in 1763, which made the island a colony in 1805. In 1980, two years after independence, Dominica's fortunes improved when a corrupt and tyrannical administration was replaced by that of Mary Eugenia CHARLES, the first female prime minister in the Caribbean, who remained in office for 15 years. Some 3,000 Carib Indians still living on Dominica are the only pre-Columbian population remaining in the eastern Caribbean.
Geography Dominica
Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates:
15 25 N, 61 20 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
total: 754 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 754 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly more than four times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
148 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
tropical; moderated by northeast trade winds; heavy rainfall
rugged mountains of volcanic origin
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Morne Diablatins 1,447 m
Natural resources:
timber, hydropower, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 4%
permanent crops: 16%
other: 80% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
flash floods are a constant threat; destructive hurricanes can be expected during the late summer months
Environment - current issues:
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
known as "The Nature Island of the Caribbean" due to its spectacular, lush, and varied flora and fauna, which are protected by an extensive natural park system; the most mountainous of the Lesser Antilles, its volcanic peaks are cones of lava craters and include Boiling Lake, the second-largest, thermally active lake in the world
People Dominica
70,158 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 28.3% (male 10,052; female 9,800)
15-64 years: 63.8% (male 23,011; female 21,782)
65 years and over: 7.9% (male 2,245; female 3,268) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.81% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
17.3 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
7.11 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-18.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
15.94 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.86 years
female: 76.88 years (2002 est.)
male: 70.98 years
Total fertility rate:
2.01 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Dominican(s)
adjective: Dominican
Ethnic groups:
black, mixed black and European, European, Syrian, Carib Amerindian
Roman Catholic 77%, Protestant 15% (Methodist 5%, Pentecostal 3%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3%, Baptist 2%, other 2%), none 2%, other 6%
English (official), French patois
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 94%
male: 94%
female: 94% (1970 est.)
Government Dominica
Country name:
conventional long form: Commonwealth of Dominica
conventional short form: Dominica
Government type:
parliamentary democracy; republic within the Commonwealth
Administrative divisions:
10 parishes; Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Luke, Saint Mark, Saint Patrick, Saint Paul, Saint Peter
3 November 1978 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 3 November (1978)
3 November 1978
Legal system:
based on English common law
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Vernon Lordon SHAW (since 6 October 1998)
elections: president elected by the House of Assembly for a five-year term; election last held 6 October 1998 (next to be held NA October 2003); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Vernon Lordon SHAW elected president; percent of legislative vote - NA%
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
head of government: Prime Minister Pierre CHARLES (since 1 October 2000); note - assumed post after death of Prime Minister Roosevelt DOUGLAS
Legislative branch:
unicameral House of Assembly (30 seats, 9 appointed senators, 21 elected by popular vote; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 31 January 2000 (next to be held by 17 July 2005) note - tradition dictates that the election will be held within five years of the last election, but technically it is five years from the first seating of parliament (17 April 2000) plus a 90 day grace period
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party -DLP 10, UWP 9, DFP 2
Judicial branch:
Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, consisting of the Court of Appeal and the High Court (located in Saint Lucia; one of the six judges must reside in Dominica and preside over the Court of Summary Jurisdiction)
Political parties and leaders:
Dominica Freedom Party or DFP [Charles SAVARIN]; Dominica Labor Party or DLP [Pierre CHARLES]; United Workers Party or UWP [Edison JAMES]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Dominica Liberation Movement or DLM (a small leftist party)
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Swinburne LESTRADE
chancery: 3216 New Mexico Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
telephone: [1] (202) 364-6781
consulate(s) general: New York
FAX: [1] (202) 364-6791
Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in Dominica; US interests are served by the embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados
Flag description:
green, with a centered cross of three equal bands - the vertical part is yellow (hoist side), black, and white and the horizontal part is yellow (top), black, and white; superimposed in the center of the cross is a red disk bearing a sisserou parrot encircled by 10 green, five-pointed stars edged in yellow; the 10 stars represent the 10 administrative divisions (parishes)
Economy Dominica
Economy - overview:
The Dominican economy depends on agriculture, primarily bananas, and remains highly vulnerable to climatic conditions. Hurricane Luis devastated the country's banana crop in 1995 after tropical storms wiped out a quarter of the 1994 crop. The subsequent recovery has been fueled by increases in construction, soap production, and tourist arrivals. Development of the tourism industry remains difficult however, because of the rugged coastline, lack of beaches, and the absence of an international airport. Economic growth is sluggish, and unemployment is greater than 20%. The government has been attempting to develop an offshore financial sector in order to diversify the island's production base.
purchasing power parity - $262 million (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-3.2% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $3,700 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 18%
industry: 23%
services: 59% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 40%, industry and commerce 32%, services 28%
Unemployment rate:
23% (2000 est.)
revenues: $72 million
expenditures: $79.9 million, including capital expenditures of $11.5 million (FY97/98)
soap, coconut oil, tourism, copra, furniture, cement blocks, shoes
Industrial production growth rate:
-10% (1997 est.)
Electricity - production:
67 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 48%
hydro: 52%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
62.31 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
bananas, citrus, mangoes, root crops, coconuts, cocoa; forest and fishery potential not exploited
$49 million f.o.b. (2000 est.)
Exports - commodities:
bananas, soap, bay oil, vegetables, grapefruit, oranges
Exports - partners:
Caricom countries 47%, UK 36%, US 7% (1996 est.)
$132 million c.i.f. (2000 est.)
Imports - commodities:
manufactured goods, machinery and equipment, food, chemicals
Imports - partners:
US 41%, Caricom countries 25%, UK 13%, Netherlands, Canada (1996 est.)
Debt - external:
$150 million (2000) (2000)
Economic aid - recipient:
$24.4 million (1995) (1995)
East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
East Caribbean dollars per US dollar - 2.7000 (fixed rate since 1976)
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June
Communications Dominica
Telephones - main lines in use:
19,000 (1996)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
461 (1996)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: fully automatic network
international: microwave radio relay and SHF radiotelephone links to Martinique and Guadeloupe; VHF and UHF radiotelephone links to Saint Lucia
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 3, FM 10, shortwave 0 (1998)
46,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
0 (however, there is one cable television company) (1997)
6,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
16 (2000)
Internet users:
2,000 (2000)
Transportation Dominica
0 km
total: 780 km
paved: 390 km
unpaved: 390 km (2001)
Ports and harbors:
Portsmouth, Roseau
Merchant marine:
none (2002 est.)
2 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2002)
Military Dominica
Military branches:
Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force (including Special Service Unit, Coast Guard)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Transnational Issues Dominica
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for narcotics bound for the US and Europe; minor cannabis producer; anti-money-laundering enforcement is weak, making the country particularly vulnerable to money laundering

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003