The Cayman Islands were colonized from Jamaica by the British during the 18th and 19th centuries and were administered by Jamaica after 1863. In 1959, the islands became a territory within the Federation of the West Indies. When the Federation dissolved in 1962, the Cayman Islands chose to remain a British dependency. The territory has transformed itself into a significant offshore financial center.



Caribbean, three-island group (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, Little Cayman) in Caribbean Sea, 240 km south of Cuba and 268 km northwest of Jamaica

Geographic coordinates

19 30 N, 80 30 W

Map references

Central America and the Caribbean


total: 264 sq km
land: 264 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

1.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km


160 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


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


low-lying limestone base surrounded by coral reefs


mean elevation: NA
elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: The Bluff on Cayman Brac 43 m

Natural resources

fish, climate and beaches that foster tourism

Land use

agricultural land: 11.2%
arable land 0.8%; permanent crops 2.1%; permanent pasture 8.3%
forest: 52.9%
other: 35.9% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land


Natural hazards

hurricanes (July to November)

Environment - current issues

no natural freshwater resources; drinking water supplies are met by reverse osmosis desalination plants

Geography - note

important location between Cuba and Central America

People and Society

Population growth rate

2.05% (2016 est.)


57,268 (July 2013 est.)
note: most of the population lives on Grand Cayman (July 2016 est.)


noun: Caymanian(s)
adjective: Caymanian

Ethnic groups

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


English (official) 90.9%, Spanish 4%, Filipino 3.3%, other 1.7%, unspecified 0.1% (2010 est.)


Protestant 67.8% (includes Church of God 22.6%, Seventh Day Adventist 9.4%, Presbyterian/United Church 8.6%, Baptist 8.3%,Pentecostal 7.1%, non-denominational 5.3%, Anglican 4.1%, Wesleyan Holiness 2.4%), Roman Catholic 14.1%, Jehovah's Witness 1.1%, other 7%, none 9.3%, unspecified 0.7% (2010 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 18.13% (male 5,226/female 5,154)
15-24 years: 12.59% (male 3,577/female 3,635)
25-54 years: 43% (male 12,010/female 12,615)
55-64 years: 14.22% (male 3,872/female 4,272)
65 years and over: 12.06% (male 3,231/female 3,676) (2016 est.)

Median age

total: 39.9 years
male: 39.2 years
female: 40.5 years (2016 est.)

Birth rate

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

Death rate

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

Net migration rate

14.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: major destination for Cubans trying to migrate to the US (2016 est.)

Population distribution

majority of the population resides on Grand Cayman


urban population: 100% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.54% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

GEORGE TOWN (capital) 31,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 81.2 years
male: 78.5 years
female: 84 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.85 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Drinking water source

urban: 97.4% of population
rural: NA
total: 97.4% of population
urban: 2.6% of population
rural: NA
total: 2.6% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 95.6% of population
total: 95.6% of population
urban: 4.4% of population
total: 4.4% of population (2015 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)

Education expenditures



definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 98.9%
male: 98.7%
female: 99% (2007 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 24.2%
male: 32%
female: 16.6% (2013 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Cayman Islands
etymology: the islands' name comes from the native Carib word "caiman," describing the marine crocodiles living there

Dependency status

overseas territory of the UK

Government type

parliamentary democracy (Legislative Assembly); self-governing overseas territory of the UK


name: George Town (on Grand Cayman)
geographic coordinates: 19 18 N, 81 23 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: a decision has been made to introduce DST in the archipelago for the first time beginning in 2016; a date for implementation is pending, though it seems likely it will match the date used in the US and Canada

Administrative divisions

6 districts; Bodden Town, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, East End, George Town, North Side, West Bay


none (overseas territory of the UK)

National holiday

Constitution Day, first Monday in July


several previous; latest approved 10 June 2009, entered into force 6 November 2009 (The Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009) (2016)

Legal system

English common law and local statutes


see United Kingdom


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Helen KILPATRICK (since 6 September 2013)
head of government: Premier Alden MCLAUGHLIN (since 29 May 2013)
cabinet: The Cabinet (6 members selected from the Legislative Assembly and appointed by the governor on the advice of the premier)
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition appointed premier by the governor

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Legislative Assembly (20 seats; 18 members directly elected by majority vote and 2 ex officio members - the deputy governor and attorney general - appointed by the governor; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 22 May 2013 (next to be held in 2017)
election results: percent of vote by party - PPM 36.1%, UDP 27.8%, C4C 18.6%, PNA 5.7%, independent 11.9%; seats by party - PPM 9, UDP 3, C4C 3, PNA 1, independent 2

Political pressure groups and leaders

Coalition for Cayman or C4C
National People's Alliance or PNA
National Trust
other: environmentalists

Judicial branch

highest resident court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and at least 2 judges); Grand Court (consists of the court president and at least 2 judges); note - appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal and Grand Court judges appointed by the governor on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, an 8-member independent body consisting of governor appointees, Court of Appeal president, and attorneys; Court of Appeal judges' tenure based on their individual instruments of appointment; Grand Court judges normally appointed until retirement at age 65 but can be extended until age 70
subordinate courts: Summary Court

National symbol(s)

green sea turtle

Political parties and leaders

People's Progressive Movement or PPM [Kurt TIBBETTS]
United Democratic Party or UDP [McKeeva BUSH]

International organization participation

Caricom (associate), CDB, Interpol (subbureau), IOC, UNESCO (associate), UPU

Diplomatic representation in the US

none (overseas territory of the UK)

Diplomatic representation from the US

none (overseas territory of the UK); consular services provided through the US Embassy in Jamaica

Flag description

a blue field with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Caymanian coat of arms centered on the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms includes a crest with a pineapple, representing the connection with Jamaica, and a turtle, representing Cayman's seafaring tradition, above a shield bearing a golden lion, symbolizing Great Britain, below which are three green stars (representing the three islands) surmounting white and blue wavy lines representing the sea and a scroll at the bottom bearing the motto HE HATH FOUNDED IT UPON THE SEAS

National anthem

name: "Beloved Isle Cayman"
lyrics/music: Leila E. ROSS
note: adopted 1993; served as an unofficial anthem since 1930; as a territory of the United Kingdom, in addition to the local anthem, "God Save the Queen" is official (see United Kingdom)


Industrial production growth rate

2.4% (2016 est.)

Economy - overview

With no direct taxation, the islands are a thriving offshore financial center. More than 93,000 companies were registered in the Cayman Islands as of 2008, including almost 300 banks, 800 insurers, and 10,000 mutual funds. A stock exchange was opened in 1

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 1.9 million in 2008, wit

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$2.507 billion (2014 est.)
$2.465 billion (2013 est.)
$2.435 billion (2012 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate)

$2.25 billion (2008 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

1.7% (2014 est.)
1.2% (2013 est.)
1.6% (2012 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$43,800 (2004 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 55.1%
government consumption: 13.1%
investment in fixed capital: 20.1%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 46.4%
imports of goods and services: -34.8% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.3%
industry: 7.2%
services: 92.5% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

vegetables, fruit; livestock; turtle farming


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

Labor force

note: nearly 55% are non-nationals (2007 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 1.9%
industry: 19.1%
services: 79% (2008 est.)

Unemployment rate

4% (2008)
4.4% (2004)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

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


revenues: $859.5 million
expenditures: $742 million (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

38.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

5.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.4% (2016 est.)
-2.9% (2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$334.3 million (31 December 2008)

Stock of broad money

$5.564 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$315.6 million (31 December 2015 est.)
$183.5 million (31 December 2007)
$188.4 million (31 December 2006)


$47.6 million (2016 est.)
$45 million (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

turtle products, manufactured consumer goods


$585.2 million (2016 est.)
$579.5 million (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

foodstuffs, manufactured goods, fuels

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home


Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad


Exchange rates

Caymanian dollars (KYD) per US dollar -
0.82 (2016 est.)
0.82 (2015 est.)
0.82 (2014 est.)
0.83 (2013 est.)
0.83 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 5,726
electrification - total population: 91%
electrification - urban areas: 91%
electrification - rural areas: 80% (2012)

Electricity - production

600 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

600 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

100,000 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

4,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

3,984 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

500,000 Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 33,534
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 60 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 93,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 166 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: reasonably good overall telephone system with a high fixed-line teledensity
domestic: liberalization of telecom market in 2003; introduction of competition in the mobile-cellular market in 2004 boosted subscriptions dramatically
international: country code - 1-345; landing points for the Maya-1, Eastern Caribbean Fiber System (ECFS), and the Cayman-Jamaica Fiber System submarine cables that provide links to the US and parts of Central and South America; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atl (2015)

Broadcast media

4 TV stations; cable and satellite subscription services offer a variety of international programming; government-owned Radio Cayman operates 2 networks broadcasting on 5 stations; 10 privately owned radio stations operate alongside Radio Cayman (2007)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 43,000
percent of population: 77% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 6 (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

VP-C (2016)


3 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2012)


total: 785 km
paved: 785 km (2007)

Merchant marine

total: 116
by type: bulk carrier 19, cargo 3, chemical tanker 61, liquefied gas 1, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 5, refrigerated cargo 10, vehicle carrier 16
foreign-owned: 102 (Germany 3, Greece 9, Italy 7, Japan 23, Switzerland 1, UK 2, US 57) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Cayman Brac, George Town


Military branches

no regular military forces; Royal Cayman Islands Police Force (2012)

Military - note

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Illicit drugs

major offshore financial center; vulnerable to drug transshipment to the US and Europe (2008)