The Siboney were the first people to inhabit the islands of Antigua and Barbuda in 2400 B.C., but Arawak Indians populated the islands when COLUMBUS landed on his second voyage in 1493. Early Spanish and French settlements were succeeded by an English colony in 1667. Slavery, established to run the sugar plantations on Antigua, was abolished in 1834. The islands became an independent state within the British Commonwealth of Nations in 1981.



Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east-southeast of Puerto Rico

Geographic coordinates

17 03 N, 61 48 W

Map references

Central America and the Caribbean


total: 442.6 sq km (Antigua 280 sq km; Barbuda 161 sq km)
land: 442.6 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Redonda, 1.6 sq km

Area - comparative

2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km


153 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


tropical maritime; little seasonal temperature variation


mostly low-lying limestone and coral islands, with some higher volcanic areas


mean elevation: NA
elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Obama 402 m

Natural resources

NEGL; pleasant climate fosters tourism

Land use

agricultural land: 20.5%
arable land 9.1%; permanent crops 2.3%; permanent pasture 9.1%
forest: 22.3%
other: 57.2% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

1.3 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October); periodic droughts

Environment - current issues

water management - a major concern because of limited natural freshwater resources - is further hampered by the clearing of trees to increase crop production, causing rainfall to run off quickly

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

Antigua has a deeply indented shoreline with many natural harbors and beaches; Barbuda has a large western harbor

People and Society


93,581 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Antiguan(s), Barbudan(s)
adjective: Antiguan, Barbudan

Ethnic groups

black 87.3%, mixed 4.7%, hispanic 2.7%, white 1.6%, other 2.7%, unspecified 0.9% (2011 est.)


English (official), Antiguan creole


Protestant 68.3% (Anglican 17.6%, Seventh Day Adventist 12.4%, Pentecostal 12.2%, Moravian 8.3%, Methodist 5.6%, Wesleyan Holiness 4.5%, Church of God 4.1%, Baptist 3.6%), Roman Catholic 8.2%, other 12.2%, unspecified 5.5%, none 5.9% (2011 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 23.36% (male 11,107/female 10,754)
15-24 years: 17% (male 7,918/female 7,992)
25-54 years: 42.31% (male 18,085/female 21,509)
55-64 years: 9.53% (male 4,021/female 4,894)
65 years and over: 7.8% (male 3,136/female 4,165) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 45.7%
youth dependency ratio: 35.2%
elderly dependency ratio: 10.4%
potential support ratio: 9.6% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 31.6 years
male: 29.8 years
female: 33.2 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

1.23% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

15.8 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

5.7 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

2.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Population distribution

the island of Antigua is home to approximately 97% of the population; nearly the entire population of Barbuda lives in Codrington


urban population: 23.8% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: -0.95% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

SAINT JOHN'S (capital) 22,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.84 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.82 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.9 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 12.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 14.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 76.5 years
male: 74.4 years
female: 78.8 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.01 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Health expenditures

5.5% of GDP (2014)

Hospital bed density

2.1 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source

urban: 97.9% of population
rural: 97.9% of population
total: 97.9% of population
urban: 2.1% of population
rural: 2.1% of population
total: 2.1% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 91.4% of population
rural: 91.4% of population
total: 91.4% of population
urban: 8.6% of population
rural: 8.6% of population
total: 8.6% of population (2011 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Major infectious diseases

note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

31% (2014)

Education expenditures

2.6% of GDP (2009)


definition: age 15 and over has completed five or more years of schooling
total population: 99%
male: 98.4%
female: 99.4% (2012 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years
male: 13 years
female: 15 years (2012)


Country name

conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Antigua and Barbuda
etymology: "antiguo" is Spanish for "ancient" or "old"; the island was discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 and, according to tradition, named by him after the church of Santa Maria la Antigua (Old Saint Mary's) in Seville; "barbuda" is Spanish for "bearded" and the adjective may refer to the alleged beards of the indigenous people or to the island's bearded-fig trees

Government type

parliamentary democracy (Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm


name: Saint John's
geographic coordinates: 17 07 N, 61 51 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

6 parishes and 2 dependencies*; Barbuda*, Redonda*, Saint George, Saint John, Saint Mary, Saint Paul, Saint Peter, Saint Philip


1 November 1981 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day (National Day), 1 November (1981)


several previous; latest presented 31 July 1981, effective 31 October 1981 (Antigua and Barbuda Constitutional Order 1981); amended 2009, 2011 (2016)

Legal system

common law based on the English model

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: yes
citizenship by descent: yes
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Rodney WILLIAMS (since 14 August 2014)
head of government: Prime Minister Gaston BROWNE (since 13 June 2014)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the governor general

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (17 seats; members appointed by the governor general) and the House of Representatives (17 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives - last held on 12 June 2014 (next to be held in 2019)
election results: percent of vote by party - ALP 56.4% UPP 42%; seats by party - ALP 14, UPP 3

Judicial branch

highest court(s): the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the itinerant superior court of record for the 9-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to include Antigua and Barbuda; the ECSC - headquartered on St. Lucia - is comprised of the Court of Appeal with 3 justices and the High Court with 19 judges; 2 High Court judges reside on Antigua and Barbuda
judge selection and term of office: chief justice of Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court appointed by the Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65; High Court judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 62
subordinate courts: Industrial Court; Magistrates' Courts

Political parties and leaders

Antigua Labor Party or ALP [Gaston BROWNE]
Barbuda People's Movement or BPM [Trevor WALKER]
Barbuda People's Movement for Change [Arthur NIBBS]
Barbudans for a Better Barbuda [Ordrick SAMUEL]
United Progressive Party or UPP [W. Baldwin SPENCER] (a coalition of three parties - Antigua Caribbean Liberation Movement or ACLM, Progressive Labor Movement or PLM, United National Democratic Party or UNDP)

Political pressure groups and leaders

Antigua Trades and Labor Union or ATLU [Wigley GEORGE]
People's Democratic Movement or PDM [Hugh MARSHALL]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Sir Ronald SANDERS (since 17 September 2015)
chancery: 3216 New Mexico Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
telephone: [1] (202) 362-5122
FAX: [1] (202) 362-5525
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

the US does not have an embassy in Antigua and Barbuda; the US Ambassador to Barbados is accredited to Antigua and Barbuda

Flag description

red, with an inverted isosceles triangle based on the top edge of the flag; the triangle contains three horizontal bands of black (top), light blue, and white, with a yellow rising sun in the black band; the sun symbolizes the dawn of a new era, black represents the African heritage of most of the population, blue is for hope, and red is for the dynamism of the people; the "V" stands for victory; the successive yellow, blue, and white coloring is also meant to evoke the country's tourist attractions of sun, sea, and sand

National symbol(s)

fallow deer; national colors: red, white, blue, black, yellow

National anthem

name: "Fair Antigua, We Salute Thee"
lyrics/music: Novelle Hamilton RICHARDS/Walter Garnet Picart CHAMBERS
note: adopted 1967; as a Commonwealth country, in addition to the national anthem, "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see United Kingdom)


Economy - overview

Tourism continues to dominate Antigua and Barbuda's economy, accounting for nearly 60% of GDP and 40% of investment. The dual-island nation's agricultural production is focused on the domestic market and constrained by a limited water supply and a labor s

After taking office in 2004, the SPENCER government adopted an ambitious fiscal reform program and was successful in reducing its public debt-to-GDP ratio from approximately 130% in 2010 to 89% in 2012. In 2009, the country's economy was severely hit by t

Prospects for economic growth in the medium term will continue to depend on tourist arrivals from the US, Canada, and Europe and potential damages from natural disasters.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$2.171 billion (2016 est.)
$2.128 billion (2015 est.)
$2.084 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.303 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

2% (2016 est.)
2.2% (2015 est.)
4.2% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$24,100 (2016 est.)
$23,900 (2015 est.)
$23,700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

14.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
13.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
10.6% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 65%
government consumption: 16.9%
investment in fixed capital: 23.2%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 35.2%
imports of goods and services: -40.4% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2.2%
industry: 17.8%
services: 80% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

cotton, fruits, vegetables, bananas, coconuts, cucumbers, mangoes, sugarcane; livestock


tourism, construction, light manufacturing (clothing, alcohol, household appliances)

Industrial production growth rate

3.2% (2016 est.)

Labor force

30,000 (1991)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 7%
industry: 11%
services: 82% (1983)

Unemployment rate

11% (2014 est.)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%


revenues: $279.1 million
expenditures: $301.7 million (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

21.4% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-1.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

89% of GDP (2012 est.)
130% of GDP (2010 est.)

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.6% (2016 est.)
1% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

6.5% (31 December 2010)
6.5% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

9.8% (31 December 2016 est.)
9.8% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$275.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$257.1 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$1.183 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.149 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$888.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$888.9 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Current account balance

-$122 million (2016 est.)
-$129 million (2015 est.)


$61.7 million (2016 est.)
$61 million (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

petroleum products, bedding, handicrafts, electronic components, transport equipment, food and live animals


$482.1 million (2016 est.)
$482.5 million (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

food and live animals, machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, oil

Debt - external

$441.2 million (31 December 2012)
$458 million (June 2010)

Exchange rates

East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar -
2.7 (2016 est.)
2.7 (2015 est.)
2.7 (2014 est.)
2.7 (2013 est.)
2.7 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 9,358
electrification - total population: 91%
electrification - urban areas: 100%
electrification - rural areas: 80% (2012)

Electricity - production

300 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

300 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

84,000 kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

5,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

90.55 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

4,884 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

600,000 Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 12,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 126,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 136 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: good automatic telephone system
domestic: fixed-line teledensity roughly 15 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular teledensity is about 135 per 100 persons
international: country code - 1-268; landing points for the East Caribbean Fiber System (ECFS) and the Global Caribbean Network (GCN) submarine cable systems with links to other islands in the eastern Caribbean extending from the British Virgin Islands to Trinidad; sate (2015)

Broadcast media

state-controlled Antigua and Barbuda Broadcasting Service (ABS) operates 1 TV station; multi-channel cable TV subscription services are available; ABS operates 1 radio station; roughly 15 radio stations, some broadcasting on multiple frequencies (2007)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 60,000
percent of population: 65.2% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 9
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,039,809
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 526,545 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

V2 (2016)


3 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2013)


total: 1,170 km
paved: 386 km
unpaved: 784 km (2011)

Merchant marine

total: 1,257
by type: bulk carrier 49, cargo 753, carrier 6, chemical tanker 4, container 407, liquefied gas 12, refrigerated cargo 7, roll on/roll off 17, vehicle carrier 2
foreign-owned: 1,215 (Albania 1, Colombia 1, Denmark 20, Estonia 10, Germany 1094, Greece 4, Iceland 10, Latvia 16, Lithuania 3, Mexico 1, Netherlands 17, Norway 9, NZ 2, Poland 2, Russia 3, Switzerland 7, Turkey 7, UK 1, US 7) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Saint John's


Military branches

Ministry of National Security, Royal Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force (includes Antigua and Barbuda Coast Guard) (2012)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; Governor-General has powers to call up men for national service and set the age at which they could be called up (2012)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Trafficking in persons

current situation: Antigua and Barbuda is a destination and transit country for adults and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; forced prostitution has been reported in bars, taverns, and brothels, while forced labor occurs in domestic service and the retail sector
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Antigua and Barbuda does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government made no discernible progress in convicting traffickers in 2014 but charged two individuals in separate cases; efforts to convict traffickers have been impeded by a 2014 ruling that found the 2010 anti-trafficking act was unconstitutional because jurisdiction rests with the Magistrate’s Court rather than the High Court; no new prosecutions, convictions, or punishments were recorded in 2014; credible sources have raised concerns about trafficking-related complicity among some off-duty police officers, which could hinder investigations or victims willingness to report offenses; prevention efforts were sustained, but progress in protecting victims was uneven; seven victims were assisted, which was an increase over 2013 (2015)

Illicit drugs

considered a minor transshipment point for narcotics bound for the US and Europe; more significant as an offshore financial center