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By Entry Pages > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Virgin Islands, U.S.
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Map of Virgin Islands, U.S.
IntroductionTop
Background:During the 17th century, the archipelago was divided into two territorial units, one English and the other Danish. Sugarcane, produced by slave labor, drove the islands' economy during the 18th and early 19th centuries. In 1917, the US purchased the Danish portion, which had been in economic decline since the abolition of slavery in 1848.
GeographyTop
Location:Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico
Geographic coordinates:18 20 N, 64 50 W
Map references:Central America and the Caribbean
Area:total: 352 sq km
land: 349 sq km
water: 3 sq km

Area - comparative:twice the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:0 km
Coastline:188 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate:subtropical, tempered by easterly trade winds, relatively low humidity, little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season September to November
Terrain:mostly hilly to rugged and mountainous with little level land
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Crown Mountain 474 m

Natural resources:sun, sand, sea, surf
Land use:arable land: 11.76%
permanent crops: 2.94%
other: 85.3% (2001)

Irrigated land:NA
Natural hazards:several hurricanes in recent years; frequent and severe droughts and floods; occasional earthquakes
Environment - current issues:lack of natural freshwater resources
Geography - note:important location along the Anegada Passage - a key shipping lane for the Panama Canal; Saint Thomas has one of the best natural deepwater harbors in the Caribbean
PeopleTop
Population:108,708 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 23.1% (male 12,676/female 12,421)
15-64 years: 66.2% (male 34,069/female 37,918)
65 years and over: 10.7% (male 5,125/female 6,499) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 36.52 years
male: 35.6 years
female: 37.33 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:-0.07% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:14.2 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:6.26 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:-8.64 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.91 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 8.03 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 9.11 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.88 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 78.91 years
male: 75.08 years
female: 82.96 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:2.19 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:NA
Nationality:noun: Virgin Islander(s)
adjective: Virgin Islander

Ethnic groups:black 76.2%, white 13.1%, Asian 1.1%, other 6.1%, mixed 3.5% (2000 census)
Religions:Baptist 42%, Roman Catholic 34%, Episcopalian 17%, other 7%
Languages:English 74.7%, Spanish or Spanish Creole 16.8%, French or French Creole 6.6%, other 1.9% (2000 census)
Literacy:definition: NA
total population: NA%
male: NA%
female: NA%

GovernmentTop
Country name:conventional long form: United States Virgin Islands
conventional short form: Virgin Islands
former: Danish West Indies

Government type:NA
Capital:Charlotte Amalie
Administrative divisions:none (territory of the US); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are three islands at the second order; Saint Croix, Saint John, Saint Thomas
National holiday:Transfer Day (from Denmark to the US), 27 March (1917)
Constitution:Revised Organic Act of 22 July 1954
Legal system:based on US laws
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal; note - island residents are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections
Executive branch:chief of state: President George W. BUSH of the US (since 20 January 2001)
head of government: Governor Dr. Charles Wesley TURNBULL (since 5 January 1999)
cabinet: NA
elections: US president and vice president elected on the same ticket for four-year terms; governor and lieutenant governor elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 5 November 2002 (next to be held November 2006)
election results: Dr. Charles Wesley TURNBULL reelected governor; percent of vote - Dr. Charles Wesley TURNBULL (Democrat) 50.5%, John de JONGH 24.4%

Legislative branch:unicameral Senate (15 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve two-year terms)
elections: last held 6 November 2002 (next to be held 2 November 2004)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Democratic Party 10, ICM 2, independent 3
note: the Virgin Islands elects one non-voting representative to the US House of Representatives; election last held 6 November 2002 (next to be held 2 November 2004); results - Donna M. CHRISTIAN-CHRISTENSON (Democrat) reelected

Judicial branch:US District Court of the Virgin Islands (under Third Circuit jurisdiction); Territorial Court (judges appointed by the governor for 10-year terms)
Political parties and leaders:Democratic Party [Arturo WATLINGTON]; Independent Citizens' Movement or ICM [Usie RICHARDS]; Republican Party [Gary SPRAUVE]
Political pressure groups and leaders:NA
International organization participation:Interpol (subbureau), IOC, UPU
Flag description:white, with a modified US coat of arms in the center between the large blue initials V and I; the coat of arms shows a yellow eagle holding an olive branch in one talon and three arrows in the other with a superimposed shield of vertical red and white stripes below a blue panel
EconomyTop
Economy - overview:Tourism is the primary economic activity, accounting for 80% of GDP and employment. The islands normally host 2 million visitors a year. The manufacturing sector consists of petroleum refining, textiles, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and watch assembly. The agricultural sector is small, with most food being imported. International business and financial services are a small but growing component of the economy. One of the world's largest petroleum refineries is at Saint Croix. The islands are subject to substantial damage from storms. The government is working to improve fiscal discipline, to support construction projects in the private sector, to expand tourist facilities, to reduce crime, and to protect the environment.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $2.5 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:2% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $17,200 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 1%
industry: 19%
services: 80% (2003 est.)

Labor force:48,900 (2003 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture 1%, industry 19%, services 80% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate:9.3% (2003 est.)
Population below poverty line:NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA

Inflation rate (consumer prices):2.2% (2003)
Budget:revenues: $560
expenditures: NA (2003)

Agriculture - products:fruit, vegetables, sorghum; Senepol cattle
Industries:tourism, petroleum refining, watch assembly, rum distilling, construction, pharmaceuticals, textiles, electronics
Industrial production growth rate:NA%
Electricity - production:1.035 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:962.6 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:66,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Exports:NA
Exports - commodities:refined petroleum products
Exports - partners:US, Puerto Rico
Imports:NA
Imports - commodities:crude oil, foodstuffs, consumer goods, building materials
Imports - partners:US, Puerto Rico
Debt - external:NA
Currency (code):US dollar (USD)
Currency code:USD
Exchange rates:the US dollar is used
Fiscal year:1 October - 30 September
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:69,400 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:41,000 (2002)
Telephone system:general assessment: modern system with total digital switching, uses fiber-optic cable and microwave radio relay
domestic: full range of services available
international: country code - 1-340; 2 submarine cable connections (Taino Carib, Americas-1); satellite earth stations - NA

Radio broadcast stations:AM 6, FM 17, shortwave 0 (2004)
Radios:107,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:16 (2004)
Televisions:68,000 (1997)
Internet country code:.vi
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):50 (2000)
Internet users:30,000 (2002)
TransportationTop
Highways:total: 1,257 km
paved: 1,192 km
unpaved: 65 km
note: the only US possession where driving on the left side of the road is practiced (2003)

Ports and harbors:Charlotte Amalie, Christiansted, Cruz Bay, Port Alucroix
Airports:2 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2004 est.)

MilitaryTop
Military note:defense is the responsibility of the US
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:none



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