Facts about Cayman Islands

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Cayman IslandsThe Cayman Islands were colonized from Jamaica by the British during the 18th and 19th centuries, and were administered by Jamaica after 1863. In 1959, the islands became a territory within the Federation of the West Indies, but when the Federation dissolved in 1962, the Cayman Islands chose to remain a British dependency.

Geography of the Cayman Islands

Caribbean, island group in Caribbean Sea, nearly one-half of the way from Cuba to Honduras
19 30 N, 80 30 W
total: 262 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 262 sq km
Area comparative:
1.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
160 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
tropical marine; warm, rainy summers (May to October) and cool, relatively dry winters (November to April)
low-lying limestone base surrounded by coral reefs
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: The Bluff 43 m
Natural resources:
fish, climate and beaches that foster tourism
Natural hazards:
hurricanes (July to November)
Environment - current issues:
no natural fresh water resources; drinking water supplies must be met by rainwater catchments
Geography - note:
important location between Cuba and Central America

Population of the Cayman Islands

47,862 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 20.7% (male 4,708/female 4,700)
15-64 years: 70.9% (male 15,707/female 16,504)
65 years and over: 8.4% (male 1,793/female 2,024)
Median age:
37.2 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
8 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 80.07 years
male: 77.45 years
female: 82.74 years
Total fertility rate:
1.9 children born/woman
noun: Caymanian(s)
adjective: Caymanian
Ethnic groups:
mixed 40%, white 20%, black 20%, expatriates of various ethnic groups 20%
United Church (Presbyterian and Congregational), Anglican, Baptist, Church of God, other Protestant, Roman Catholic
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 98%


Dependency status:
overseas territory of the UK
Government type:
British crown colony
George Town
Administrative divisions:
8 districts; Creek, Eastern, Midland, South Town, Spot Bay, Stake Bay, West End, Western
none (overseas territory of the UK)
National holiday:
Constitution Day, first Monday in July
1959, revised 1972 and 1992
Legal system:
British common law and local statutes
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Stuart JACK (since 23 November 2005)
head of government: Leader of Government Business Kurt TIBBETTS (since 18 May 2005)
cabinet: Executive Council (three members appointed by the governor, four members elected by the Legislative Assembly)
elections: the monarch is hereditary; the governor is appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or coalition is appointed by the governor Leader of Government Business
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Assembly (18 seats, 3 appointed members from the Executive Council and 15 elected by popular vote; members serve four-year terms)
Judicial branch:
Summary Court; Grand Court; Cayman Islands Court of Appeal


With no direct taxation, the islands are a thriving offshore financial center. More than 68,000 companies were registered in the Cayman Islands as of 2003, including almost 500 banks, 800 insurers, and 5,000 mutual funds. A stock exchange was opened in 1997. Tourism is also a mainstay, accounting for about 70% of GDP and 75% of foreign currency earnings. The tourist industry is aimed at the luxury market and caters mainly to visitors from North America. Total tourist arrivals exceeded 2.1 million in 2003, with about half from the US. About 90% of the islands' food and consumer goods must be imported. The Caymanians enjoy one of the highest outputs per capita and one of the highest standards of living in the world.

$1.939 billion (2004 est.)
GDP growth rate:
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 1.4%
industry: 3.2%
services: 95.4% 
Inflation rate:
Labor force:
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 1.4%, industry 12.6%, services 86% 
revenues: $265.2 million
expenditures: $248.9 million
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
tourism, banking, insurance and finance, construction, construction materials, furniture
vegetables, fruit; livestock, turtle farming
turtle products, manufactured consumer goods
Export partners:
mostly US
foodstuffs, manufactured goods
Import partners:
US, Trinidad and Tobago, UK, Netherlands Antilles, Japan
Caymanian dollar (KYD)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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