Bermuda

Region: Atlantic Ocean

Capital: Hamilton

Population: 69,467 (2013 CIA est.)

Surface area: 54 sq km

Currency: Bermudian dollar

GDP per capita (purchasing power parity): $5.5 billion (2012, Bermuda Department of Statistics)

Background

Bermuda was first settled in 1609 by shipwrecked English colonists headed for Virginia. Vacationing to the island to escape North American winters first developed in Victorian times. Tourism continues to be important to the island’s economy, although international business has overtaken it in recent years. Bermuda has also developed into a highly successful offshore financial center. A referendum on independence from the UK was soundly defeated in 1995.

Economy Overview

Despite four years of recession and a public debt of $1.4 billion, Bermuda enjoys the fourth highest per capita income in the world, about 70% higher than that of the US. The average cost of a single-family home in 2012 was $1.1 million. Its economy is primarily based on international business and the provision of financial services to that sector, and to a lesser extent tourism. A number of reinsurance companies relocated to the island following the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US and again after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in 2005, contributing to the expansion of an already robust international business sector. Bermuda’s tourism industry – which derives over 80% of its visitors from the US – continues to struggle and has dropped in its relevant importance to the economy, although it is still important as a job creator. Bermuda must import almost everything. Agriculture is limited due to the small size of the island and Bermuda’s industrial sector is small.

Major Export Commodities: re-exports of pharmaceuticals

Remittances: USD 1,253 (millions) (World Bank 2011)

External Debt: $1.4 billion (2012 CIA est)

Major Trading Partners: Australia 16.1%, U.S. 13.9%, Indonesia 11.9% (2012) (CIA, 2013)

Life Expectancy at Birth: 77.71 (male), 84.2 (female) Total population: 80.93 years (CIA, 2013)

Sources:

Government of Bermuda, Department of Statistics: http://www.govsubportal.com/images/Cabinet_Office/Dept_of_Statistics/Docs/GrossDomesticproduct/GDP%202012.pdf (accessed 19/11/2013)

CIA World Factbook. Information on Background and Economy Overview: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bd.html (accessed 19/11/2013)

World Bank. 2013. The Little Data Book 2013. Washington, DC: World Bank. doi: 10.1596/978-0-8213-9812-8. License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0

Image of flag and map; copyright of Wikimedia Commons

Updated November 2013