Factbook: Trinidad & Tobago

Trinidad & Tobago



Location: 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: 5,130 sq km
land: 5,130 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area – comparative: slightly smaller than Delaware

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 362 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the outer edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone : 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; rainy season (June to December)

Terrain: mostly plains with some hills and low mountains

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: El Cerro del Aripo 940 m

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, asphalt

Land use:
arable land: 15%
permanent crops: 9%
permanent pastures: 2%
forests and woodland : 46%
other: 28% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 220 sq km (1993 est.)

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, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified : none of the selected agreements


Population: 1,130,337 (July 1997 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 29% (male 167,857; female 161,196)
15-64 years: 64% (male 373,434; female 347,489)
65 years and over: 7% (male 36,300; female 44,061) (July 1997 est.)

Population growth rate: -1.18% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 15.37 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 7.87 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: -19.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
65 years and over : 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 19.1 deaths/1,000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population : 70.36 years
male: 67.92 years
female: 72.88 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.13 children born/woman (1997 est.)

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

Ethnic groups: black 43%, East Indian (a local term – primarily immigrants from northern India) 40%, mixed 14%, white 1%, Chinese 1%, other 1%

Religions: Roman Catholic 32.2%, Hindu 24.3%, Anglican 14.4%, other Protestant 14%, Muslim 6%, none or unknown 9.1%

Languages: English (official), Hindi, French, Spanish

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.9%
male: 98.8%
female : 97% (1995 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
conventional short form: Trinidad and Tobago

Data code: TD

Government type: parliamentary democracy

National capital: Port-of-Spain

Administrative divisions: 8 counties, 3 municipalities*, and 1 ward**; Arima*, Caroni, Mayaro, Nariva, Port-of-Spain*, Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint Patrick, San Fernando*, Tobago**, Victoria

Independence: 31 August 1962 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 31 August (1962)

Constitution: 1 August 1976

Legal system: based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Arthur Napoleon Raymond ROBINSON (since 19 March 1997)
head of government: Prime Minister Basdeo PANDAY (since 9 November 1995)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed from among the members of Parliament
elections : president elected by an electoral college that consists of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives for a five-year term; election last held NA February 1997 (next to be held NA 2002); prime minister appointed from among the members of Parliament; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives is usually appointed prime minister
election results: Arthur Napoleon Raymond ROBINSON elected president; percent of electoral college vote – 69%

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of a Senate (31 seats; members appointed by the president for a maximum term of five years) and a House of Representatives (36 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives – last held 6 November 1995 (next to be held by December 2000)
election results: House of Representatives – percent of vote – PNM 52%, UNC 42.2%, NAR 5.2%; seats by party – PNM 17, UNC 17, NAR 2; the UNC formed a coalition with the NAR
note: Tobago has a unicameral House of Assembly with 15 members serving four-year terms

Judicial branch: Court of Appeal, judges are appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister; Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister

Political parties and leaders: People’s National Movement (PNM), Patrick MANNING; United National Congress (UNC), Basdeo PANDAY; National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), A. N. R. ROBINSON; Movement for Social Transformation (MOTION), David ABDULLAH; National Joint Action Committee (NJAC), Makandal DAAGA; National Development Party (NDP), Carson CHARLES; Movement for Unity and Progress (MUP), Hulsie BHAGGAN

International organization participation: ACP, C, Caricom, CCC, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-24, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIH, UNU, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission : Ambassador Corinne Averille McKNIGHT
chancery: 1708 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 467-6490
FAX: [1] (202) 785-3130
consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Brian J. DONNELLY
embassy: 15 Queen’s Park West, Port-of-Spain
mailing address: P. O. Box 752, Port-of-Spain
telephone: [1] (809) 622-6372 through 6376, 6176
FAX : [1] (809) 628-5462

Flag description: red with a white-edged black diagonal band from the upper hoist side


Economy – overview: Trinidad and Tobago has earned a reputation as an excellent investment site for international businesses. Successful economic reforms implemented in 1995 are expected to bring an average growth rate of 2% over the next three years, and foreign investment and trade are flourishing. Unemployment – a main cause of the country’s socio-economic problems – is high, but has decreased to its lowest point in five years. The country enjoys a healthy trade surplus of $500 million, yet its heavy dependence on oil and petrochemical prices makes its trade balance vulnerable to sudden shifts. Furthermore, Caricom, Trinidad and Tobago’s main market, is saturated, provoking some countries to establish non-tariff trade barriers.

GDP: purchasing power parity – $17.1 billion (1996 est.)

GDP – real growth rate: 3.1% (1996 est.)

GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity – $13,500 (1996 est.)

GDP – composition by sector:
agriculture: 2%
industry: 45%
services: 53% (1995 est.)

Inflation rate – consumer price index: 5.3% (1995)

Labor force:
total: 404,500
by occupation: construction and utilities 13%, manufacturing, mining, and quarrying 14%, agriculture 11%, services 62% (1993 est.)

Unemployment rate: 16.1% (December 1996)

revenues: $1.65 billion
expenditures: $1.61 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1996 est.)

Industries: petroleum, chemicals, tourism, food processing, cement, beverage, cotton textiles

Industrial production growth rate: 1% (1994 est.)

Electricity – capacity: 1.253 million kW (1995)

Electricity – production: 4.229 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity – consumption per capita: 2,885 kWh (1995 est.)

Agriculture – products: cocoa, sugarcane, rice, citrus, coffee, vegetables; poultry

total value : $2.3 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, steel products, fertilizer, sugar, cocoa, coffee, citrus, flowers
partners: US 48%, Caricom countries 15%, Latin America 9%, EU 5% (1994)

total value: $1.8 billion (c.i.f., 1996)
commodities: machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food, live animals
partners: US 47.7%, Venezuela 10%, UK 8.3%, other EU 8% (1994)

Debt – external: $1.67 billion (1996 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $10 million (1993)

Currency: 1 Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TT$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Trinidad and Tobago dollars (TT$) per US$1 – 6.1791 (January 1997), 6.0051 (1996), 5.9478 (1995), 5.9249 (1994), 5.3511 (1993), 4.2500 (1992)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 170,000 (1992 est.)

Telephone system: excellent international service; good local service
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth station – 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); tropospheric scatter to Barbados and Guyana

Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 4, shortwave 0
note: there were a total of 10 radio stations in 1995

Radios: 700,000 (1993 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 3 (1995 est.)

Televisions: 400,000 (1992 est.)


note: minimal agricultural railroad system near San Fernando; railway service was discontinued in 1968

total: 8,160 km
paved: 4,162 km
unpaved: 3,998 km (1995 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 1,032 km; petroleum products 19 km; natural gas 904 km

Ports and harbors: Pointe-a-Pierre, Point Fortin, Point Lisas, Port-of-Spain, Scarborough, Tembladora

Merchant marine:
total : 2 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,928 GRT/5,571 DWT
ships by type: cargo 1, oil tanker 1 (1996 est.)

Airports: 6 (1996 est.)

Airports – with paved runways:
total : 5
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m : 2 (1996 est.)

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


Military branches: Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force (includes Ground Forces, Coast Guard, and Air Wing), Trinidad and Tobago Police Service

Military manpower – availability:
males age 15-49: 312,628 (1997 est.)

Military manpower – fit for military service:
males: 223,418 (1997 est.)

Military expenditures – dollar figure: $83 million (1994)

Military expenditures – percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

Disputes – international: none

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