Guernsey and the other Channel Islands represent the last remnants of the medieval Dukedom of Normandy, which held sway in both France and England. The islands were the only British soil occupied by German troops in World War II. Guernsey is a British crown dependency but is not part of the UK or of the EU. However, the UK Government is constitutionally responsible for its defense and international representation.



Western Europe, islands in the English Channel, northwest of France

Geographic coordinates

49 28 N, 2 35 W

Map references



total: 78 sq km
land: 78 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Alderney, Guernsey, Herm, Sark, and some other smaller islands

Area - comparative

about one-half the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km


50 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 3 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 12 nm


temperate with mild winters and cool summers; about 50% of days are overcast


mostly flat with low hills in southwest


mean elevation: NA
elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed elevation on Sark 114 m

Natural resources


Irrigated land


Natural hazards


Environment - current issues


Geography - note

large, deepwater harbor at Saint Peter Port

People and Society


66,297 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Channel Islander(s)
adjective: Channel Islander

Ethnic groups

British and Norman-French descent with small percentages from other European countries


English, French, Norman-French dialect spoken in country districts


Protestant (Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, Congregational, Methodist), Roman Catholic

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 47%
youth dependency ratio: 21.6%
elderly dependency ratio: 25.4%
potential support ratio: 3.9%
note: data represent the Channel Islands (2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 14.46% (male 4,956/female 4,630)
15-24 years: 11.45% (male 3,877/female 3,715)
25-54 years: 41.89% (male 14,009/female 13,760)
55-64 years: 12.93% (male 4,267/female 4,304)
65 years and over: 19.28% (male 5,797/female 6,982) (2016 est.)

Median age

total: 43.6 years
male: 42.3 years
female: 44.8 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

0.32% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

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

Death rate

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

Net migration rate

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


urban population: 31.4% of total population (2014)
rate of urbanization: 0.76% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
note: data are for the Channel Islands

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 82.5 years
male: 79.9 years
female: 85.4 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.56 children born/woman (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths



Country name

conventional long form: Bailiwick of Guernsey
conventional short form: Guernsey
etymology: the name is of Old Norse origin, but the meaning of the root "Guern(s)" is uncertain; the "-ey" ending means "island"

Dependency status

British crown dependency

Government type

parliamentary democracy (States of Deliberation); a Crown dependency of the UK


name: Saint Peter Port
geographic coordinates: 49 27 N, 2 32 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions

none (British crown dependency); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 10 parishes: Castel, Forest, Saint Andrew, Saint Martin, Saint Peter Port, Saint Pierre du Bois, Saint Sampson, Saint Saviour, Torteval, Vale


none (British crown dependency)

National holiday

Liberation Day, 9 May (1945)


history: unwritten; includes royal charters, statutes, and common law and practice
amendments: new laws or changes to existing laws are initiated by the States of Deliberation; passage requires majority vote (2016)

Legal system

customary legal system based on Norman customary law, and includes elements of the French civil code and English common law


see United Kingdom


16 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Lieutenant Governor Vice Admiral Ian CORDER (since 14 March 2016)
head of government: Chief Minister Gavin ST.PIER (since 6 May 2016); Bailiff Sir Richard COLLAS (since 23 March 2012); note - Chief Minister is the president of the Policy and Resources Committee and is the de facto head of government; The Policy and Resources Committee, elected by the States of Deliberation, functions as the executive; the five members all have equal voting rights
cabinet: none
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; lieutenant governor and bailiff appointed by the monarch; chief minister indirectly elected by States of Deliberation; last held on 6 May 2016 (next to be held in 2020)
election results: Gavin ST.PIER (independent) elected as president of the Policy and Resources Committee and Chief Minister

National symbol(s)

Guernsey cow, donkey; national colors: red, white, yellow

Legislative branch

description: unicameral States of Deliberation (40 seats; 38 People's Deputies and 2 representatives of the States of Alderney; members directly elected by majority vote to serve 4-year terms); note - non-voting members include the bailiff (presiding officer), attorney-general, and solicitor-general
elections: last held on 27 April 2016 (next to be held in 2020)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - all independent

Judicial branch

highest resident court(s): Guernsey Court of Appeal (consists of the Bailiff of Guernsey, who is the ex-officio president of the Guernsey Court of Appeal, and at least 12 judges); Royal Court (organized into 3 divisions - Full Court sits with 1 judge and 7 to 12 jurats acting as judges of fact, Ordinary Court sits with 1 judge and normally 3 jurats, and Matrimonial Causes Division sits with a 1 judge and 4 jurats); note - appeals beyond Guernsey courts are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: Royal Court Bailiff, Deputy Bailiff, and Court of Appeal justices appointed by the British Crown and hold office at Her Majesty's pleasure; jurats elected by the States of Election, a body chaired by the Bailiff and a number of jurats
subordinate courts: Court of Alderney; Court of the Seneschal of Sark; Magistrate's Court (includes Juvenile Court); Contracts Court; Ecclesiastical Court; Court of Chief Pleas

Political parties and leaders

none; all independents

Political pressure groups and leaders

Stop Traffic Endangering Pedestrian Safety or STEPS

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

none (British crown dependency)

Diplomatic representation from the US

none (British crown dependency)

Flag description

white with the red cross of Saint George (patron saint of England) extending to the edges of the flag and a yellow equal-armed cross of William the Conqueror superimposed on the Saint George cross; the red cross represents the old ties with England and the fact that Guernsey is a British Crown dependency; the gold cross is a replica of the one used by Duke William of Normandy at the Battle of Hastings

National anthem

name: "Sarnia Cherie" (Guernsey Dear)
lyrics/music: George DEIGHTON/Domencio SANTANGELO
note: adopted 1911; serves as a local anthem; as a British crown dependency, "God Save the Queen" remains official (see United Kingdom)


Economy - overview

Financial services account for about 40% of employment and about 55% of total income in this tiny, prosperous Channel Island economy. Tourism, manufacturing, and horticulture, mainly tomatoes and cut flowers, have been declining. Financial services, const

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$3.451 billion (2014 est.)
$3.42 billion (2013 est.)
$3.36 billion (2012 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate)

$2.742 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

0.9% (2014 est.)
1.2% (2013 est.)
4.2% (2012 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$52,300 (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 3%
industry: 10%
services: 87% (2000)

Agriculture - products

tomatoes, greenhouse flowers, sweet peppers, eggplant, fruit; Guernsey cattle


tourism, banking

Industrial production growth rate


Labor force

31,470 (March 2006)

Unemployment rate

0.9% (March 2006 est.)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

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


revenues: $563.6 million
expenditures: $530.9 million (2005)

Taxes and other revenues

20.6% of GDP (2005)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

1.2% of GDP (2005)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

3.4% (June 2006 est.)



Exports - commodities

tomatoes, flowers and ferns, sweet peppers, eggplant, other vegetables



Imports - commodities

coal, gasoline, oil, machinery, and equipment

Debt - external


Exchange rates

Guernsey pound per US dollar
0.7391 (2016 est.)
0.6542 (2015 est.)
0.6542 (2014)
0.607 (2013)
0.63 (2012)


Electricity - access

electrification - total population: 100% (2016)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 45,100
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 69 (July 2010 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 67,500
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 103 (July 2013 est.)

Telephone system

domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular services widely available
international: country code - 44; 1 submarine cable (2015)

Broadcast media

multiple UK terrestrial TV broadcasts are received via a transmitter in Jersey with relays in Jersey, Guernsey, and Alderney; satellite packages are available; BBC Radio Guernsey and 1 other radio station operating (2009)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 55,050
percent of population: 83.3% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2 (registered in UK)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 11 (registered in UK) (2015)


2 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

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

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Braye Bay, Saint Peter Port


Military - note

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international