Factbook: Dominica



Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago

Geographic coordinates: 13 30 N, 61 20 W

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

total: 750 sq km
land: 750 sq km
water : 0 sq km

Area – comparative: slightly more than four times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 148 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; moderated by northeast trade winds; heavy rainfall

Terrain: rugged mountains of volcanic origin

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Morne Diablatins 1,447 m

Natural resources: timber

Land use:
arable land : 9%
permanent crops: 13%
permanent pastures: 3%
forests and woodland: 67%
other : 8% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: flash floods are a constant threat; destructive hurricanes can be expected during the late summer months

Environment – current issues: NA

Environment – international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


Population: 66,633 (July 1997 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 28% (male 9,287; female 9,115)
15-64 years: 63% (male 21,364; female 20,617)
65 years and over : 9% (male 2,569; female 3,681) (July 1997 est.)

Population growth rate: -1.26% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 17.72 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 6.24 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: -24.04 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years : 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 9.3 deaths/1,000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.6 years
male: 74.74 years
female : 80.6 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.92 children born/woman (1997 est.)

noun : Dominican(s)
adjective: Dominican

Ethnic groups: black, Carib Amerindian

Religions: Roman Catholic 77%, Protestant 15% (Methodist 5%, Pentecostal 3%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3%, Baptist 2%, other 2%), none 2%, unknown 1%, other 5%

Languages: English (official), French patois

definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 94%
male: 94%
female: 94% (1970 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form : Commonwealth of Dominica
conventional short form: Dominica

Data code: DO

Government type: parliamentary democracy

National capital: Roseau

Administrative divisions: 10 parishes; Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Luke, Saint Mark, Saint Patrick, Saint Paul, Saint Peter

Independence: 3 November 1978 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 3 November (1978)

Constitution: 3 November 1978

Legal system: based on English common law

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Crispin Anselm SORHAINDO (since 25 October 1993)
head of government: Prime Minister Edison C. JAMES (since 12 June 1995)
cabinet : Cabinet appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
elections: president elected by the House of Assembly for a five-year term; election last held 4 October 1993 (next to be held NA October 1998); prime minister appointed by the president
election results : Crispin Anselm SORHAINDO elected president; percent of legislative vote – NA

Legislative branch: unicameral House of Assembly (30 seats, 9 appointed senators, 21 elected by popular vote representatives; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 12 June 1995; byelections held 13 August 1996 (next to be held by October 2000)
election results: percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – UWP 12, DLP 5, DFP 4

Judicial branch: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (located in Santa Lucia), one of the six judges must reside in Dominica and preside over the Court of Summary Jurisdiction

Political parties and leaders: Dominica Freedom Party or DFP [Charles SAVERIN]; Dominica Labor Party or DLP [Rosie DOUGLAS]; United Workers Party or UWP [Edison JAMES]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Dominica Liberation Movement or DLM (a small leftist party)

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM (observer), OAS, OECS, OPANAL, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Edward I. WATTY (non-resident)
chancery: 3216 New Mexico Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
telephone: [1] (202) 364-6781
FAX : [1] (202) 364-6791
consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Dominica; the Ambassador to Dominica resides in Bridgetown (Barbados), but travels frequently to Dominica

Flag description: green with a centered cross of three equal bands – the vertical part is yellow (hoist side), black, and white – the horizontal part is yellow (top), black, and white; superimposed in the center of the cross is a red disk bearing a sisserou parrot encircled by 10 green five-pointed stars edged in yellow; the 10 stars represent the 10 administrative divisions (parishes)


Economy – overview: The economy is dependent on agriculture and thus is highly vulnerable to climatic conditions, notably tropical storms. Agriculture, primarily bananas, accounts for 26% of GDP and employs 40% of the labor force. Development of the tourist industry remains difficult because of the rugged coastline, lack of beaches, and the lack of an international airport. Hurricane Luis devastated the country’s banana crop in September 1995; tropical storms had wiped out one-quarter of the crop in 1994 as well. The government is attempting to develop an offshore financial industry in order to diversify the island’s production base.

GDP: purchasing power parity – $208 million (1996 est.)

GDP – real growth rate: 1.7% (1996 est.)

GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity – $2,500 (1996 est.)

GDP – composition by sector:
agriculture: 26%
industry: NA%
services : NA% (1995)

Inflation rate – consumer price index: 1.2% (1996 est.)

Labor force:
total : 25,000
by occupation: agriculture 40%, industry and commerce 32%, services 28% (1984)

Unemployment rate: 15% (1992 est.)

revenues : $80 million
expenditures: $95.8 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY95/96 est.)

Industries: soap, coconut oil, tourism, copra, furniture, cement blocks, shoes

Industrial production growth rate: -10% (1994 est.)

Electricity – capacity: 15,000 kW (1994)

Electricity – production: 52 million kWh (1994)

Electricity – consumption per capita: 479 kWh (1994 est.)

Agriculture – products: bananas, citrus, mangoes, root crops, coconuts; forestry and fisheries potential not exploited

total value : $40 million (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: bananas 70%, soap, bay oil, vegetables, grapefruit, oranges
partners: UK 55%, Caricom countries, Italy, US

total value: $122 million (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities : manufactured goods, machinery and equipment, food, chemicals
partners: US 25%, Caricom, UK, Japan, Canada

Debt – external: $110 million (1996 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient : ODA, $NA

Currency: 1 EC dollar (EC$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: East Caribbean dollars (EC$) per US$1 – 2.70 (February 1997; fixed rate since 1976)

Fiscal year: 1 July – 30 June


Telephones: 14,613 (1993 est.)

Telephone system:
domestic: fully automatic network
international: microwave radio relay and SHF radiotelephone links to Martinique and Guadeloupe; VHF and UHF radiotelephone links to Saint Lucia

Radio broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 2, shortwave 0

Radios: 45,000 (1993 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 1 cable

Televisions: 5,200 (1993 est.)


Railways: 0 km

total: 765 km
paved: 385 km
unpaved: 380 km (1995 est.)

Ports and harbors: Portsmouth, Roseau

Merchant marine: none

Airports: 2 (1996 est.)

Airports – with paved runways:
total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (1996 est.)


Military branches: Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force (includes Special Service Unit, Coast Guard)

Military manpower – availability:
males age 15-49: NA

Military manpower – fit for military service:
males: NA

Military expenditures – dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures – percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

Disputes – international: none

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for narcotics bound for the US and Europe; minor cannabis producer