Resistance by native Caribs prevented colonization on Saint Vincent until 1719. Disputed between France and the UK for most of the 18th century, the island was ceded to the latter in 1783. Between 1960 and 1962, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was a separate administrative unit of the Federation of the West Indies. Autonomy was granted in 1969 and independence in 1979.



Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago

Geographic coordinates

13 15 N, 61 12 W

Map references

Central America and the Caribbean


total: 389 sq km (Saint Vincent 344 sq km)
land: 389 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

twice the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km


84 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm


tropical; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season (May to November)


volcanic, mountainous


mean elevation: NA
elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: La Soufriere 1,234 m

Natural resources

hydropower, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 25.6%
arable land 12.8%; permanent crops 7.7%; permanent pasture 5.1%
forest: 68.7%
other: 5.7% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

10 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

hurricanes; Soufriere volcano on the island of Saint Vincent is a constant threat

Environment - current issues

pollution of coastal waters and shorelines from discharges by pleasure yachts and other effluents; in some areas, pollution is severe enough to make swimming prohibitive

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, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

the administration of the islands of the Grenadines group is divided between Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is comprised of 32 islands and cays

People and Society

Ethnic groups

black 66%, mixed 19%, East Indian 6%, European 4%, Carib Amerindian 2%, other 3%


102,350 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Saint Vincentian(s) or Vincentian(s)
adjective: Saint Vincentian or Vincentian


English, French patois


Protestant 75% (Anglican 47%, Methodist 28%), Roman Catholic 13%, other (includes Hindu, Seventh-Day Adventist, other Protestant) 12%

Age structure

0-14 years: 21.78% (male 11,246/female 11,050)
15-24 years: 16.28% (male 8,407/female 8,258)
25-54 years: 42.64% (male 22,668/female 20,975)
55-64 years: 10.2% (male 5,363/female 5,076)
65 years and over: 9.09% (male 4,347/female 4,960) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 46.8%
youth dependency ratio: 36%
elderly dependency ratio: 10.8%
potential support ratio: 9.3% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 33 years
male: 33.2 years
female: 32.9 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

-0.26% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

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

Death rate

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

Net migration rate

-8.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Population distribution

most of the population is concentrated in and around Kingstown


urban population: 50.6% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 0.72% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

KINGSTOWN (capital) 27,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

45 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 12.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 75.3 years
male: 73.3 years
female: 77.4 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.81 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Health expenditures

8.6% of GDP (2014)

Hospital bed density

5.2 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source

urban: 95.1% of population
rural: 95.1% of population
total: 95.1% of population
urban: 4.9% of population
rural: 4.9% of population
total: 4.9% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 76.1% of population
rural: 76.1% of population
total: 76.1% of population
urban: 23.9% of population
rural: 23.9% of population
total: 23.9% of population (2007 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

24.1% (2014)

Education expenditures

5.1% of GDP (2010)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 33.8%
male: 27.8%
female: 41.4% (2008 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
etymology: Saint Vincent was named by explorer Christopher COLUMBUS after Saint VINCENT of Saragossa because the 22 January 1498 day of discovery was the saint's feast day

Government type

parliamentary democracy (House of Assembly) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm


name: Kingstown
geographic coordinates: 13 08 N, 61 13 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

6 parishes; Charlotte, Grenadines, Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint Patrick


27 October 1979 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 27 October (1979)


several previous; latest passed by the House of Assembly 3 September 2009 (The Saint Vincent and The Grenadines Constitution Act, 2009) (2016)

Legal system

English common law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: yes
citizenship by descent: at least one parent must be a citizen of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
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 Sir Fredrick Nathaniel BALLANTYNE (since 2 September 2002)
head of government: Prime Minister Ralph E. GONSALVES (since 29 March 2001)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister

Legislative branch

description: unicameral House of Assembly (21 seats; 15 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 6 appointed by the governor general; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held on 9 December 2015 (next to be held in 2020)
election results: percent of vote by party - ULP 52.3%, NDP 47.4%, other 0.3%; seats by party - ULP 8, NDP 7

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 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; the ECSC - with its headquarters on Saint Lucia - is headed by the chief justice and is comprised of the Court of Appeal with 3 justices and the High Court with 16 judges; sittings of the Court of Appeal and High Court rotate among the member states; 2 High Court judges reside on Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; note - Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice
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, an independent body of judicial officials; 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: magistrates' courts

Political parties and leaders

Democratic Republican Party or DRP [Anesia BAPTISTE]
New Democratic Party or NDP [Arnhim EUSTACE]
Unity Labor Party or ULP [Ralph GONSALVES] (formed by the coalition of Saint Vincent Labor Party or SVLP and the Movement for National Unity or MNU)
SVG Green Party or SVGP [Ivan O'NEAL]

Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Ad interim Omari WILLIAMS
chancery: 3216 New Mexico Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
telephone: [1] (202) 364-6730
FAX: [1] (202) 364-6736
consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

the US does not have an embassy in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; the US Ambassador to Barbados is accredited to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Flag description

three vertical bands of blue (hoist side), gold (double width), and green; the gold band bears three green diamonds arranged in a V pattern, which stands for Vincent; the diamonds recall the islands as the "Gems of the Antilles"; blue conveys the colors of a tropical sky and crystal waters, yellow signifies the golden Grenadine sands, and green represents lush vegetation

National symbol(s)

Saint Vincent parrot; national colors: blue, gold, green

National anthem

name: "St. Vincent! Land So Beautiful!"
lyrics/music: Phyllis Joyce MCCLEAN PUNNETT/Joel Bertram MIGUEL
note: adopted 1967


Economy - overview

Success of the economy hinges upon seasonal variations in agriculture, tourism, and construction activity as well as remittances. Much of the workforce is employed in banana production and tourism, but persistent high unemployment has prompted many to lea

This lower-middle-income country is vulnerable to natural disasters - tropical storms wiped out substantial portions of crops in 1994, 1995, and 2002. Floods and mudslides caused by unseasonable rainfall in 2013, caused substantial damage to infrastructur

In 2013, the islands had more than 200,000 tourist arrivals, mostly to the Grenadines. Arrivals represented a marginal increase from 2012 but remain 26% below St. Vincent's 2009 peak. Weak recovery in the tourism and construction sectors limited growth in

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1.241 billion (2016 est.)
$1.219 billion (2015 est.)
$1.212 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$766 million (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

1.8% (2016 est.)
0.6% (2015 est.)
0.2% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$11,300 (2016 est.)
$11,100 (2015 est.)
$11,000 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

-2.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
-2.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
-4.7% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 89.6%
government consumption: 19%
investment in fixed capital: 20.9%
investment in inventories: -0.2%
exports of goods and services: 20.3%
imports of goods and services: -49.8% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 7.9%
industry: 17.2%
services: 75% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

bananas, coconuts, sweet potatoes, spices; small numbers of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats; fish


tourism; food processing, cement, furniture, clothing, starch

Industrial production growth rate

2.3% (2016 est.)

Labor force

57,520 (2007 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 26%
industry: 17%
services: 57% (1980 est.)

Unemployment rate

18.8% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

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


revenues: $222.2 million
expenditures: $259.3 million (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

29% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-4.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

67% of GDP (2013 est.)
68% of GDP (2011 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

-0.3% (2016 est.)
-1.7% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

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

Commercial bank prime lending rate

9.4% (31 December 2016 est.)
9.3% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$167.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$162.2 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$574.1 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$546.6 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$447.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$439 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Current account balance

-$176 million (2016 est.)
-$194 million (2015 est.)


$50.5 million (2016 est.)
$49.8 million (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

bananas, eddoes and dasheen (taro), arrowroot starch; tennis racquets

Exports - partners

Trinidad and Tobago 18.9%, St. Lucia 14.8%, Barbados 12.3%, Dominica 9.7%, Grenada 9.3%, Antigua and Barbuda 8.4%, Poland 7.1%, St. Kitts and Nevis 4.1% (2015)


$327.1 million (2016 est.)
$320.7 million (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, chemicals and fertilizers, minerals and fuels

Imports - partners

Trinidad and Tobago 29.3%, US 17.2%, Singapore 8.7%, China 8%, Barbados 6%, Poland 5.5%, Turkey 4.4% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$165 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$166 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$321.1 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$327 million (31 December 2015 est.)

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: 25,587
electrification - total population: 76%
electrification - urban areas: 100%
electrification - rural areas: 32% (2012)

Electricity - production

100 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

100 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

47,000 kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

85.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

14.9% 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

1,600 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

1,519 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

300,000 Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 24,865
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 24 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 113,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 110 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: adequate islandwide, fully automatic telephone system
domestic: fixed-line teledensity exceeds 20 per 100 persons and mobile-cellular teledensity is about 110 per 100 persons
international: country code - 1-784; the East Caribbean Fiber System and Southern Caribbean Fiber submarine cables carry international calls; connectivity also provided by VHF/UHF radiotelephone from Saint Vincent to Barbados; SHF radiotelephone to Grenada and Saint Luc (2015)

Broadcast media

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Broadcasting Corporation operates 1 TV station and 5 repeater stations that provide near total coverage to the multi-island state; multi-channel cable TV service available; a partially government-funded national radio servic (2007)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 53,000
percent of population: 51.8% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

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

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

J8 (2016)


6 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2013)


total: 829 km
paved: 580 km
unpaved: 249 km (2003)

Merchant marine

total: 412
by type: bulk carrier 64, cargo 263, carrier 14, chemical tanker 4, container 18, liquefied gas 3, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 7, petroleum tanker 9, refrigerated cargo 12, roll on/roll off 15, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 325 (Austria 1, Azerbaijan 1, Bangladesh 1, Belgium 7, Bermuda 1, Bulgaria 9, China 65, Croatia 8, Cyprus 3, Czech Republic 1, Denmark 9, Dominica 1, Egypt 2, Estonia 8, France 2, Germany 3, Greece 42, Guyana 2, Hong Kong 5, Israel 3, Italy 4, Japan 3, Kenya (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Kingstown


Military branches

no regular military forces; Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVPF) (2013)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

joins other Caribbean states to counter Venezuela's claim that Aves Island sustains human habitation, a criterion under UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which permits Venezuela to extend its EEZ/continental shelf over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean Sea

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; some children under 18 are pressured to engage in sex acts in exchange for money or gifts; foreign workers may experience forced labor and are particularly vulnerable when employed by small, foreign-owned companies; adults and children are vulnerable to forced labor domestically, especially in the agriculture sector
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government for the first time acknowledged a trafficking problem, launched an anti-trafficking public awareness campaign, and conducted anti-trafficking training for law enforcement, immigration, and labor officials; in 2014, authorities initiated three trafficking investigations, two of which were ultimately determined not to be trafficking cases, and did not prosecute or convict any trafficking offenders; the government did not identify or refer any potential trafficking victims to care (2015)

Illicit drugs

transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; small-scale cannabis cultivation