US Virgin Islands

Region:Caribbean

Capital: Charlotte Amalie

Population:109,574 (July 2012 – CIA est.)

Surface area: 1,910 sq km

Currency: US dollar (USD)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $14,500 (2004 est.)

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.

Economy – Overview:
Tourism is the primary economic activity, accounting for 80% of GDP and employment. The islands hosted 2.6 million visitors in 2005. The manufacturing sector consists of petroleum refining, textiles, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and watch assembly. One of the world’s largest petroleum refineries is at Saint Croix. The agricultural sector is small, with most food being imported. International business and financial services are small but growing components of the economy. The islands are vulnerable 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.

Major Export Commodities: refined petroleum products

Remittances: Not available

Human Development Index 2011 ranking: Not ranked

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: Not available

Total External Debt: Not available

Life Expectancy At Birth: 79.47 years (CIA)

Sources:

CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov

World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org

Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org

Human Development Report 2011. United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org

Image of Flag and Map Copyright of Wikimedia Commons

Updated July 2012