Jamaica Demographics

What is the population of Jamaica?

Population 2,808,570
Population Growth Rate 0.7%
Urban Population 52%
Population in Major Urban Areas KINGSTON (capital) 571,000
Nationality Noun Jamaican(s)
Nationality Adjective Jamaican
Ethnic Groups black 90.9%, East Indian 1.3%, white 0.2%, Chinese 0.2%, mixed 7.3%, other 0.1%
Languages Spoken English, patois English

Jamaica Health Information

What are the health conditions in Jamaica?

Contraceptive Prevalance Rate - female 15-49 69%
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 6.63
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 88.8%
Drinking Water Source - percent of total population unimproved 6.9%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 97.1%
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 5.2%
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 1.7%
HIV/Aids Deaths 1,300
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population 1.8
Infant Mortality Rate - female deaths/1,000 live births 13.38
Infant Mortality Rate - male deaths/1,000 live births 14.55
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 13.98
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 110
Mean Age for Mother's First Birth 21.2
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 24.1%
People Living with HIV/AIDS 32,000
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population .41
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of total population unimproved 19.8%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 78.4%
Sanitation Facitlity Access - percent of rural population improved 82.2%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 2.09
Underweight - percent of children under five years 3.2%

Jamaica Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Jamaica?

Life Expectancy at Birth 73 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - female 75 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - male 71 Years
Median Age 24 Years
Median Age - female 25 Years
Median Age - male 24 Years

Jamaica Infant Mortality - per 1,000 live births

Jamaica median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 19
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 6.63
Median Age 24 Years
Median Age - female 25 Years
Median Age - male 24 Years
Net Migration Rate - migrant(s)/1,000 population -4.99
Population Growth Rate 0.7%
Sex Ratio 0-14 Years - male/female 1.04
Sex Ratio 15-24 Years - male/female 1.01
Sex Ratio 25-54 Years - male/female .97
Sex Ratio 55-64 Years - male/female .98
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.05
Sex Ratio of Total Population - male/female .98
Sex Ratio Over 64 Years - male/female .81

Jamaica Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Jamaica?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical care is much more limited than in the United States. Comprehensive but basic emergency medical services are located only in Kingston and Montego Bay, and smaller public hospitals are located in each parish. Emergency medical and ambulance services, and the availability of prescription drugs, are limited in outlying parishes. Ambulance service is limited both in the quality of emergency care and in the availability of vehicles in remote parts of the country. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost $15,000 - $20,000 or more. Doctors and hospitals in Jamaica often require cash payment prior to providing services. The Embassy’s website contains information on medical services and air-ambulance companies. Please alert the American Citizen Services Unit to such cases by calling (876) 702-6000. U.S. citizens travelling to Jamaica are urged to buy medical evacuation insurance prior to their trip.

Jamaica Education

What is school like in Jamaica?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 6.1%
Literacy - female 91.6%
Literacy - male 84.1%
Literacy - total population 87.9%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over has ever attended school
School Life Expectancy - female 12 Years
School Life Expectancy - male 12 Years
Total School Life Expectancy - (primary to tertiary) 12 Years

Jamaica Literacy

Can people in Jamaica read?

Literacy - female 91.6%
Literacy - male 84.1%
Literacy - total population 87.9%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over has ever attended school
Predominant Language English, patois English

Jamaica Crime

Is Jamaica a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

Crime, including violent crime, is a serious problem in Jamaica, particularly in Kingston and Montego Bay and other major tourist areas. While the vast majority of crimes occur in impoverished areas, random acts of violence, such as gunfire, may occur anywhere. The primary criminal concern for tourists is becoming a victim of theft. In several cases, armed robberies of U.S. citizens have turned violent when the victims resisted or were slow in handing over valuables. Crime is exacerbated by the fact that police are understaffed and often ineffective. Additionally, there have been frequent allegations of police corruption. Tourists should take all necessary precautions always pay extra attention to their surroundings when traveling, and keep windows up and doors locked while in a vehicle or in their hotel. Travelers should avoid walking alone, exercise special care after dark, and always avoid areas known for high crime rates. Under no circumstances should travelers accept rides from unknown individuals, as this is often a pretext for attempted robbery and/or sexual assault.

Each year the Embassy receives a number of reports of sexual assaults against U.S. citizens, including cases of alleged sexual assaults at tourist resorts, some of which involve resort staff. It is important to realize that sexual assault allegations generally do not receive the same type of law enforcement attention in Jamaica that they would in the United States. Local law also requires the presence of the victim at each stage of the judicial process in order for a case to move forward, and as a result most sexual assault cases languish in the Jamaican courts until they are eventually dismissed. In addition, victims in Jamaica cannot expect the totatility of victim’s assistance that is routinely offered in the United States. This includes hesitation to and/or lack of knowledge of how to perform rape kits, a prosecutorial/interrogation approach to victims on the part of the police and hotels, as well as a lack of counseling for victims. Victims will often have to ask for medication to avoid the transmission of STDs and to reduce the chances of pregnancy.

U.S. citizens traveling in Jamaica should maintain careful watchfulness, avoid secluded places or situations (even within resort properties), go out in groups, and watch out for each other. Don’t be afraid to ask or call out for help if you feel threatened or encounter individuals who make you feel uncomfortable. Report any suspicious activity to the U.S. Embassy, local police and, if appropriate, to the hotel’s management. As a general rule, do not leave valuables unattended or in plain view, including in hotel rooms and on the beach. Take care when carrying high value items such as cameras and expensive cell phones or when wearing expensive jewelry on the street. Women's handbags should be zipped and held close to the body. Men should carry wallets in their front pants pocket. Large amounts of cash should always be handled discreetly.

In the last several years, a number of U.S. visitors have reported being robbed inside their resort hotel rooms while they slept. Particular care is called for when staying at isolated villas and smaller establishments that may have fewer security arrangements. You may wish to ask your villa or small establishment if they have met Jamaica Tourist Board certification standards for safety and security.

The U.S. Embassy advises its staff to avoid inner-city areas of Kingston and other urban centers, such as those listed in the section on Safety and Security, whenever possible. Particular caution is advised after dark and in downtown Kingston and New Kingston. The U.S. Embassy also cautions U.S. citizens not to use public buses, which are often overcrowded and are a frequent venue for crime.

To enhance security in the principal resort areas, the Government of Jamaica has taken a number of steps, including assignment of special police foot and bicycle patrols. Some street vendors, beggars, and taxi drivers in tourist areas aggressively confront and harass tourists to buy their wares or employ their services. If a firm "No, thank you," does not solve the problem, visitors may wish to seek the assistance of a tourist police officer, identified by their white hats, white shirts, and black trousers. These officers are only located at or near tourist areas.

DRUGS:Illegal drug use is prevalent in some tourist areas, leading to numerous U.S. citizen arrests and incarcerations in Jamaica every year. Possession or use of marijuana or other illicit drugs is illegal in Jamaica. U.S. citizens should avoid buying, selling, holding, or taking illegal drugs under any circumstances. There is anecdotal evidence that the use of so-called date rape drugs, such as Rohypnol, has become more common at clubs and private parties. Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and other illegal narcotics are especially potent in Jamaica, and their use may lead to severe or even disastrous health consequences.

SCAMS: U.S. citizens are often the target of international financial scams originating in Jamaica. The most prevalent scam in Jamaica is the lottery scam, also known as Advanced Fee Fraud. U.S. citizens receiving calls from Jamaica with claims of winning a prize or lottery should be wary and never send money up front. It is illegal to play a foreign lottery, and if you did not enter a foreign lottery or drawing, then it is not possible to win one. Scammers may also seek to entice victims to travel to Jamaica to “collect their prize.” Such invites can lead to the victim being kidnapped for ransom once in Jamaica.

Additionally, relatives of U.S. citizens visiting Jamaica and U.S. citizens who are prisoners in Jamaica have received telephone calls from people claiming to be Jamaican police officers, other public officials, or medical professionals. The callers usually state that the visitor or prisoner has had trouble and needs financial help. In almost every case these claims are untrue. The caller insists that money should be sent by wire transfer to either themselves or a third party who will assist the visitor or prisoner, but when money is sent, it fails to reach the U.S. citizens in alleged need. U.S. citizens who receive calls such as these should never send money before consulting the embassy for additional information.

The U.S. Embassy has also received reports of extortion attempts originating in Jamaica where the caller threatens the victim if they do not send a sum of money. Another financial scam reported is the ‘ Damsel in Distress ’ where a partner met over the Internet falls into a series of alleged mishaps and requests money with the promise of rewards at a later date, such as an in-person meeting. Contact the American Citizen Services Unit of the Embassy's Consular Section at KingstonACS@state.gov and provide as much detail as possible regarding the nature of the communication. Additional guidance on such crimes is available at the Department of State’s web page on International Financial Scams.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.

Jamaica Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Jamaica, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have some form of identification with you. In some places, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Jamaica, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what is legal and what is illegal where you are going.

Persons violating Jamaica’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Jamaica are can be severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Airport and dock searches at cruise line ports are thorough and people attempting to smuggle illegal drugs are often apprehended. Several U.S. citizens currently incarcerated in Jamaica prisons for drug smuggling say they were arrested for carrying bags that friends or acquaintances asked them to deliver to someone in the United States. In one case, the U.S. arrestee claimed that she express mailed a package for a local taxi driver who claimed not to have his identification with him. U.S. citizens should never accept packages/baggage in such circumstances.

Jamaica has no tolerance for violations of its firearms laws and persons can end up serving years for possession of a firearm. Bringing ammunition into Jamaica is also illegal and can result in heavy fines and/or imprisonment.

Prison conditions in Jamaica differ greatly from prison conditions in the United States. Prisoners are provided only the most basic meals and must rely upon personal funds, family, and friends to supplement their diets, provide clothing, and supply personal care items such as toothpaste and shampoo. Most prisons are very overcrowded. Prisons do not supply bedding to prisoners. Packages shipped from the United States to prisoners are subject to Jamaican import taxes and are undeliverable when the recipient lacks the funds to pay the duties.

If you are arrested in Jamaica, authorities of Jamaica are required to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest. If you are concerned the Department of State may not be aware of your situation, perhaps because you are also a Jamaican citizen, you should request the police or prison officials to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest.

Jamaica Population Comparison

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