First colonized by the Spanish, the islands came under British control in the early 19th century. The islands' sugar industry was hurt by the emancipation of the slaves in 1834. Manpower was replaced with the importation of contract laborers from India between 1845 and 1917, which boosted sugar production as well as the cocoa industry. The discovery of oil on Trinidad in 1910 added another important export. Independence was attained in 1962. The country is one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean thanks largely to petroleum and natural gas production and processing. Tourism, mostly in Tobago, is targeted for expansion and is growing. The government is coping with a rise in violent crime.



Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela

Geographic coordinates

11 00 N, 61 00 W

Map references

Central America and the Caribbean


total: 5,128 sq km
land: 5,128 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Delaware

Land boundaries

0 km


362 km

Maritime claims

measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the outer edge of the continental margin


tropical; rainy season (June to December)


mostly plains with some hills and low mountains


mean elevation: 83 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: El Cerro del Aripo 940 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, asphalt

Land use

agricultural land: 10.6%
arable land 4.9%; permanent crops 4.3%; permanent pasture 1.4%
forest: 44%
other: 45.4% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

70 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

outside usual path of hurricanes and other tropical storms

Environment - current issues

water pollution from agricultural chemicals, industrial wastes, and raw sewage; oil pollution of beaches; deforestation; soil erosion

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

Pitch Lake, on Trinidad's southwestern coast, is the world's largest natural reservoir of asphalt

People and Society


1,220,479 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Trinidadian(s), Tobagonian(s)
adjective: Trinidadian, Tobagonian

Ethnic groups

East Indian 35.4%, African 34.2%, mixed - other 15.3%, mixed African/East Indian 7.7%, other 1.3%, unspecified 6.2% (2011 est.)


English (official), Caribbean Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), French, Spanish, Chinese


Protestant 32.1% (Pentecostal/Evangelical/Full Gospel 12%, Baptist 6.9%, Anglican 5.7%, Seventh-Day Adventist 4.1%, Presbyterian/Congretational 2.5%, other Protestant 0.9%), Roman Catholic 21.6%, Hindu 18.2%, Muslim 5%, Jehovah's Witness 1.5%, other 8.4%, none 2.2%, unspecified 11.1% (2011 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 19.34% (male 120,214/female 115,821)
15-24 years: 12.24% (male 77,738/female 71,629)
25-54 years: 46.1% (male 292,819/female 269,855)
55-64 years: 12.09% (male 73,457/female 74,062)
65 years and over: 10.23% (male 54,334/female 70,550) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 43.2%
youth dependency ratio: 29.8%
elderly dependency ratio: 13.5%
potential support ratio: 7.4% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 35.5 years
male: 35 years
female: 36 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

-0.17% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

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

Death rate

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

Net migration rate

-6.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Population distribution

population on Trinidad is concentrated in the western half of the island, on Tobago in the southern half


urban population: 8.4% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: -1.2% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

PORT-OF-SPAIN (capital) 34,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Child labor - children ages 5-14

total number: 1,201
percentage: 1% (2006 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

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

Infant mortality rate

total: 23 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 24.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 72.9 years
male: 69.9 years
female: 75.9 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.71 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

42.5% (2006)

Health expenditures

5.9% of GDP (2014)

Physicians density

1.18 physicians/1,000 population (2007)

Hospital bed density

2.7 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: 91.5% of population
rural: 91.5% of population
total: 91.5% of population
urban: 8.5% of population
rural: 8.5% of population
total: 8.5% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

1.22% (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

10,800 (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

200 (2015 est.)

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

32.3% (2014)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99.2%
female: 98.7% (2015 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 9.2%
male: 7.7%
female: 11.4% (2013 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
conventional short form: Trinidad and Tobago
etymology: explorer Christopher COLUMBUS named the larger island "La Isla de la Trinidad" (The Island of the Trinity) on 31 July 1498 on his third voyage; the tobacco grown and smoked by the natives of the smaller island or its elongated cigar shape may account for the "tobago" name, which is spelled "tobaco" in Spanish

Government type

parliamentary republic


name: Port of Spain
geographic coordinates: 10 39 N, 61 31 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

9 regions, 3 boroughs, 2 cities, 1 ward
regions: Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo, Diego Martin, Mayaro/Rio Claro, Penal/Debe, Princes Town, Sangre Grande, San Juan/Laventille, Siparia, Tunapuna/Piarco
borough: Arima, Chaguanas, Point Fortin
cities: Port of Spain, San Fernando
ward: Tobago


31 August 1962 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 31 August (1962)


previous 1962; latest 1976; amended many times, last in 2007 (2016)

Legal system

English common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court

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: 8 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Anthony CARMONA (since 18 March 2013)
head of government: Prime Minister Keith ROWLEY (since 9 September 2015)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed from among members of Parliament
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by an electoral college of selected Senate and House of Representatives members for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 15 February 2013 (next to be held by February 2018); the president usually appoints the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives as prime minister
election results: Anthony CARMONA (independent) elected president; electoral college vote - 100%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (31 seats; 16 members appointed by the ruling party, 9 by the president, and 6 by the opposition party; members serve 5-year terms;) and the House of Representatives (41 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)
note: Tobago has a unicameral House of Assembly (16 seats; 12 assemblymen directly elected by simple majority vote and 4 appointed councillors - 3 on the advice of the chief secretary and 1 on the advice of the minority leader; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives - last held on 7 September 2015 (next to be held in 2020)
election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote - NA; seats by party - PNM 23, UNC 18

Judicial branch

highest resident court(s): Supreme Court of the Judicature (consists of a chief justice for both the Court of Appeal with 12 judges and the High Court with 24 judges); note - Trinidad and Tobago can file appeals beyond its Supreme Court to the Caribbean Court of Justice, with final appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister and the parliamentary leader of the opposition; other judges appointed by the Judicial Legal Services Commission, headed by the chief justice and 5 members with judicial experience; all judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement normally at age 65
subordinate courts: Courts of Summary Criminal Jurisdiction; Petty Civil Courts; Family Court

Political parties and leaders

Congress of the People or COP [Prakash RAMADHAR]
Democratic Action Congress or DAC [Hochoy CHARLES] (only active in Tobago)
Democratic National Alliance or DNA [Charles CARSON] (coalition of NAR, DDPT, MND)
Movement for National Development or MND [Garvin NICHOLAS]
National Alliance for Reconstruction or NAR [Lennox SANKERSINGH]
People's National Movement or PNM [Keith ROWLEY]
Tobago Organization of the People or TOP [Ashworth JACK]
United National Congress or UNC [Kamla PERSAD-BISSESSAR]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Jamaat-al Muslimeen [Yasin ABU BAKR]

International organization participation

ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club (associate), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Anthony Wayne Jerome PHILLIPS SPENCER (since 27 June 2016)
chancery: 1708 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 467-6490
FAX: [1] (202) 785-3130
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador John L. ESTRADA (since 19 April 2016)
embassy: 15 Queen's Park West, Port of Spain
mailing address: P. O. Box 752, Port of Spain
telephone: [1] (868) 622-6371 through 6376
FAX: [1] (868) 822-5905

Flag description

red with a white-edged black diagonal band from the upper hoist side to the lower fly side; the colors represent the elements of earth, water, and fire; black stands for the wealth of the land and the dedication of the people; white symbolizes the sea surrounding the islands, the purity of the country's aspirations, and equality; red symbolizes the warmth and energy of the sun, the vitality of the land, and the courage and friendliness of its people

National symbol(s)

scarlet ibis (bird of Trinidad), cocrico (bird of Tobago), Chaconia flower; national colors: red, white, black

National anthem

name: "Forged From the Love of Liberty"
lyrics/music: Patrick Stanislaus CASTAGNE
note: adopted 1962; song originally created to serve as an anthem for the West Indies Federation; adopted by Trinidad and Tobago following the Federation's dissolution in 1962


Economy - overview

Trinidad and Tobago attracts considerable foreign direct investment from international businesses, particularly in energy, and has one of the highest per capita incomes in Latin America. Economic growth between 2000 and 2007 averaged slightly over 8% per

Energy production and downstream industrial use dominate the economy. Trinidad and Tobago produces about nine times more natural gas than crude oil on an energy equivalent basis with gas contributing about two-thirds of energy sector government revenue. O

Trinidad and Tobago is buffered by considerable foreign reserves and a sovereign wealth fund that equals about one-and-a-half times the national budget, but the country is in a recession and the government faces the dual challenge of gas shortages and a l

Economic diversification is a longstanding government talking point, and Trinidad and Tobago has much potential due to its stable, democratic government and its educated, English speaking workforce. Although Trinidad and Tobago enjoys cheap electricity fr

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$43.57 billion (2016 est.)
$44.8 billion (2015 est.)
$45.78 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$22.81 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

-2.8% (2016 est.)
-2.1% (2015 est.)
-1% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$31,900 (2016 est.)
$33,000 (2015 est.)
$33,900 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

4.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
8% of GDP (2015 est.)
18.1% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 59.5%
government consumption: 17.5%
investment in fixed capital: 11.6%
investment in inventories: 0.6%
exports of goods and services: 47.9%
imports of goods and services: -37.1% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.5%
industry: 13.9%
services: 85.6% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

cocoa, dasheen, pumpkin, cassava, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, hot pepper, pommecythere, coconut water, poultry


petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, food processing, cement, cotton textiles

Industrial production growth rate

-5% (2016 est.)

Labor force

629,700 (2016 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 3.6%
manufacturing, mining, and quarrying: 11.2%
construction and utilities: 85.2%
services: 62.9% (2014 est.)

Unemployment rate

4% (2016 est.)
3.5% (2015 est.)

Population below poverty line

17% (2007 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

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

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-9% of GDP (2016 est.)


revenues: $7.311 billion
expenditures: $9.369 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

32.1% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

51.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
49.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

Fiscal year

1 October - 30 September

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

3.7% (2016 est.)
4.7% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

6.75% (04 March 2016 est.)
6.75% (31 December 2015 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

8.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
8.2% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$6.805 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.241 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$16.81 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$16.76 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$8.662 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$9.217 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$177.4 million (31 December 2015 est.)
$171.6 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$170 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Current account balance

-$1.975 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.329 billion (2015 est.)


$7.264 billion (2016 est.)
$8.166 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, cereal and cereal products, cocoa, fish, preserved fruits, , cosmetics, household cleaners, plastic packaging

Exports - partners

US 26.3%, Argentina 12%, Brazil 6.6%, Chile 5.3%, Dominican Republic 5.2%, Barbados 5% (2015)


$7.398 billion (2016 est.)
$7.9 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

mineral fuels, lubricants, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food, chemicals, live animals

Imports - partners

US 35.6%, China 6.8%, Gabon 6.6% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$9.394 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$10.38 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$7.917 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$6.826 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$382.9 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$311.7 million (2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$1.266 billion (2014 est.)

Exchange rates

Trinidad and Tobago dollars (TTD) per US dollar -
6.709 (2016 est.)
6.3756 (2015 est.)
6.4041 (2014 est.)
6.4041 (2013 est.)
6.39 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 12,452
electrification - total population: 99.8%
electrification - urban areas: 100%
electrification - rural areas: 99% (2012)

Electricity - production

9.3 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

9.1 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2015 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2015 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

2.353 million kW (2015 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

100% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)

Crude oil - production

78,630 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

30,800 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

78,340 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

700 million bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

139,200 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

56,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

113,800 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

31,630 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

41.59 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

24.67 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports

17.41 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2015 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

325.7 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

48 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 270,872
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 22 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 2.123 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 174 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: excellent international service; good local service
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity over 190 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 1-868; submarine cable systems provide connectivity to US and parts of the Caribbean and South America; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); tropospheric scatter to Barbados and Guyana (2015)

Broadcast media

16 TV networks (11 commercial, 5 non-commercial), 2 of which are state-owned that broadcast on multiple stations; 9 TV subscription service providers (cable and satellite); 19 radio networks, 1 state-owned, broadcast over about 35 stations (2016)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 846,000
percent of population: 69.2% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 17
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 2,617,842
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 43,198,176 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

9Y (2016)


4 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

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

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2013)


condensate 257 km; condensate/gas 11 km; gas 1,567 km; oil 587 km (2013)


total: 9,592 km
paved: 5,524 km
unpaved: 4,068 km (2015)

Merchant marine

total: 4
by type: passenger 1, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 1
registered in other countries: 2 (unknown 2) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Point Fortin, Point Lisas, Port of Spain, Scarborough
oil terminals: Galeota Point terminal
LNG terminal(s) (export): Port Fortin


Military branches

Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force (TTDF): Trinidad and Tobago Army, Coast Guard, Air Guard, Defense Force Reserves (2010)

Military service age and obligation

18-25 years of age for voluntary military service (16 years of age with parental consent); no conscription; Trinidad and Tobago citizenship and completion of secondary school required (2012)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago abide by the April 2006 Permanent Court of Arbitration decision delimiting a maritime boundary and limiting catches of flying fish in Trinidad and Tobago's EEZ; in 2005, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago agreed to compulsory international arbitration under UN Convention on the Law of the Sea challenging whether the northern limit of Trinidad and Tobago's and Venezuela's maritime boundary extends into Barbadian waters; Guyana has expressed its intention to include itself in the arbitration, as the Trinidad and Tobago-Venezuela maritime boundary may also extend into its waters

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Trinidad and Tobago is a destination, transit, and possible source country for adults and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; women and girls from Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Colombia have been subjected to sex trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago’s brothels and clubs; some economic migrants from the Caribbean region and Asia are vulnerable to forced labor in domestic service and the retail sector; the steady flow of vessels transiting Trinidad and Tobago’s territorial waters may also increase opportunities for forced labor for fishing; international crime organizations are increasingly involved in trafficking, and boys are coerced to sell drugs and guns; corruption among police and immigration officials impedes anti-trafficking efforts
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Trinidad and Tobago does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts decreased from the initiation of 12 prosecutions in 2013 to 1 in 2014; the government has yet to convict anyone under its 2011 anti-trafficking law, and all prosecutions from previous years remain pending; the government sustained efforts to identify victims and to refer them for care at NGO facilities, which it provided with funding; the government failed to draft a national action plan as mandated under the 2011 anti-trafficking law and did not launch a sufficiently robust awareness campaign to educate the public and officials (2015)

Illicit drugs

transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; producer of cannabis