U.S. Virgin Islands - Economic Indicators

Economic Overview

Tourism, trade, and other services are the primary economic activities, accounting for nearly 60% of the Virgin Island's GDP and about half of total civilian employment. The islands host nearly 3 million tourists per year, mostly from visiting cruise ships. The islands are vulnerable to damage from storms. The agriculture sector is small, with most food being imported. Industry and government each account for about one-fifth of GDP. The manufacturing sector consists of rum distilling, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and watch assembly. A refinery on St. Croix, one of the world’s...

Continue reading View Factbook for U.S. Virgin Islands

GDP Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Private Consumption 2016 2,641 2,609 Mil. USD Annual
Real Private Consumption 2016 2,281 2,276 Mil. Ch. 2009 USD Annual
Government Consumption 2016 1,039 1,036 Mil. USD Annual
Real Government Consumption 2016 920 933 Mil. Ch. 2009 USD Annual
Real Gross Domestic Product 2016 3,124 3,095 Mil. Ch. 2009 USD Annual
Real Fixed Investment (gross fixed capital formation) 2016 271 270 Mil. Ch. 2009 USD Annual
Nominal Gross Domestic Product 2016 3,872 3,759 Mil. USD Annual
Nominal Fixed Investment (gross fixed capital formation) 2016 290 288 Mil. USD Annual
Labor Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Labor Force 2016 49,981 50,437 # Annual
Trade Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Imports of Goods and Services 2016 2,489 1,549 Mil. USD Annual
Exports of Goods and Services 2016 1,810 1,537 Mil. USD Annual
Real Exports of Goods and Services 2016 1,418 1,173 Mil. Ch. 2009 USD Annual
Net Exports 2016 -679 -12 Mil. USD Annual
Real Imports of Goods and Services 2016 1,888 1,114 Mil. Ch. 2009 USD Annual
Real Net Exports 2016 -470 59 Mil. Ch. 2009 USD Annual
Business Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Real Change in Inventories 2016 688 -165 Mil. Ch. 2009 USD Annual
Change in Inventories 2016 582 -162 Mil. USD Annual
Demographics Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Population 2017 107,268 107,510 # Annual
Death Rate 2016 7.6 7.3 # per Ths. pop. Annual
Birth Rate 2016 13 13.2 # per Ths. pop. Annual
Net Migration 2012 -4,501 # Annual

Factbook

Background

Background:
The Danes secured control over the southern Virgin Islands of Saint Thomas, Saint John, and Saint Croix during the 17th and early 18th centuries. Sugarcane, produced by African slave labor, drove the islands' economy during the 18th and early 19th centuries. In 1917, the US purchased the Danish holdings, which had been in economic decline since the abolition of slavery in 1848. On 6 September 2017, Hurricane Irma passed over the northern Virgin Islands of Saint Thomas and Saint John and inflicted severe damage to structures, roads, the airport on Saint Thomas, communications, and electricity. Less than two weeks later, Hurricane Maria passed over the island of Saint Croix in the southern Virgin Islands, inflicting considerable damage with heavy winds and flooding rains.

Geography

Location:
Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico
Geographic coordinates:
18 20 N, 64 50 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
Area:
total: 1,910 sq km
land: 346 sq km
water: 1,564 sq km
country comparison to the world: 182
Area - comparative:
twice the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
Coastline:
188 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:
subtropical, tempered by easterly trade winds, relatively low humidity, little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season September to November
Terrain:
mostly hilly to rugged and mountainous with little flat land
Elevation:
mean elevation: NA
elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Crown Mountain 474 m
Natural resources:
pleasant climate, beaches foster tourism
Land use:
agricultural land: 11.5%
arable land 2.9%; permanent crops 2.9%; permanent pasture 5.7%
forest: 57.4%
other: 31.1% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land:
1 sq km (2012)
Population - distribution:
while overall population density throughout the islands is relatively low, concentrations appear around Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas and Christiansted on St. Croix
Natural hazards:
several hurricanes in recent years; frequent and severe droughts and floods; occasional earthquakes
Environment - current issues:
lack of natural freshwater resources
Geography - note:
important location along the Anegada Passage - a key shipping lane for the Panama Canal; Saint Thomas has one of the best natural deepwater harbors in the Caribbean

People & Society

Population:
107,268 (July 2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192
Nationality:
noun: Virgin Islander(s) (US citizens)
adjective: Virgin Islander
Ethnic groups:
black 76%, white 15.6%, Asian 1.4%, other 4.9%, mixed 2.1%
note: 17.4% self-identify as latino (2010 est.)
Languages:
English 71.6%, Spanish or Spanish Creole 17.2%, French or French Creole 8.6%, other 2.5% (2010 est.)
Religions:
Protestant 59% (Baptist 42%, Episcopalian 17%), Roman Catholic 34%, other 7%
Age structure:
0-14 years: 20.41% (male 11,220/female 10,671)
15-24 years: 11.19% (male 5,853/female 6,154)
25-54 years: 37.07% (male 18,587/female 21,182)
55-64 years: 13.78% (male 6,967/female 7,812)
65 years and over: 17.55% (male 8,618/female 10,204) (2017 est.)
population pyramid:
Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 60.8
youth dependency ratio: 32.8
elderly dependency ratio: 28
potential support ratio: 3.6 (2015 est.)
Median age:
total: 41 years
male: 39.9 years
female: 41.9 years (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
Population growth rate:
-0.25% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 215
Birth rate:
12.8 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
Death rate:
7.8 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
Net migration rate:
-7.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 204
Population distribution:
while overall population density throughout the islands is relatively low, concentrations appear around Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas and Christiansted on St. Croix
Urbanization:
urban population: 95.6% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 0.08% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population:
CHARLOTTE AMALIE (capital) 52,000 (2014)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.82 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.82 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.87 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 7.9 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.4 years
male: 76.2 years
female: 82.8 years (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49
Total fertility rate:
2.08 children born/woman (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
Drinking water source:
improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access:
improved:
urban: 96.4% of population
rural: 96.4% of population
total: 96.4% of population
unimproved:
urban: 3.6% of population
rural: 3.6% of population
total: 3.6% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA
Major infectious diseases:
note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)

Government

Country name:
conventional long form: United States Virgin Islands
conventional short form: Virgin Islands
former: Danish West Indies
abbreviation: USVI
etymology: the myriad islets, cays, and rocks surrounding the major islands reminded Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 of Saint Ursula and her 11,000 virgin followers (Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Virgenes), which over time shortened to the Virgins (las Virgenes)
Dependency status:
organized, unincorporated territory of the US with policy relations between the Virgin Islands and the US under the jurisdiction of the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior
Government type:
presidential democracy; a self-governing territory of the US
Capital:
name: Charlotte Amalie
geographic coordinates: 18 21 N, 64 56 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
none (territory of the US); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 3 islands at the second order; Saint Croix, Saint John, Saint Thomas
Independence:
none (territory of the US)
National holiday:
Transfer Day (from Denmark to the US), 31 March (1917)
Constitution:
22 July 1954 - the Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands functions as a constitution for this territory of the US; revised 1962, 2000 (2016)
Legal system:
US common law
Citizenship:
see United States
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal; note - island residents are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Donald J. TRUMP (since 20 January 2017); Vice President Michael R. PENCE (since 20 January 2017)
head of government: Governor Kenneth MAPP (since 5 January 2015), Lieutenant Governor Osbert POTTER (since 5 January 2015)
cabinet: Territorial Cabinet appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate
elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected on the same ballot by an Electoral College of 'electors' chosen from each state; president and vice president serve a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); under the US Constitution, residents of the Virgin Islands do not vote in elections for US president and vice president; however, they may vote in the Democratic and Republican presidential primary elections; governor and lieutenant governor directly elected on the same ballot by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 4 November 2014 (next to be held in November 2018)
election results: Kenneth MAPP elected governor in second round; percent of vote - Kenneth MAPP (independent) 63.9%, Donna CHRISTIAN-CHRISTIANSEN (Democratic Party) 36.1%
Legislative branch:
description: unicameral Senate (15 seats; members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by simple majority popular vote to serve 2-year terms)
elections: last held on 8 November 2016 (next to be held on 6 November 2018)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Democratic Party 10, ICM 1, independent 4
note: the Virgin Islands directly elects 1 member by simple majority vote to serve a 2-year term as a delegate to the US House of Representatives; the delegate can vote when serving on a committee and when the House meets as the Committee of the Whole House, but not when legislation is submitted for a “full floor” House vote; election of delegate last held on 8 November 2016 (next to be held on 6 November 2018)
Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands (consists of the chief justice and 2 associate justices); note - court established by US Congress in 2004 and assumed appellate jurisdiction in 2007
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Virgin Islands Senate; justices initially serve renewable 10-year terms; chief justice elected to position by peers for a 3-year term
subordinate courts: Superior Court (Territorial Court renamed in 2004); US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (has appellate jurisdiction over the District Court of the Virgin Islands; it is a territorial court and is not associated with a US federal judicial district); District Court of the Virgin Islands
Political parties and leaders:
Democratic Party [Donna M. CHRISTENSEN]
Independent Citizens' Movement or ICM [Dale BLYDEN]
Republican Party [John CANEGATA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA
International organization participation:
AOSIS (observer), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, UPU, WFTU (NGOs)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (territory of the US)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (territory of the US)
Flag description:
white field with a modified US coat of arms in the center between the large blue initials V and I; the coat of arms shows a yellow eagle holding an olive branch in its right talon and three arrows in the left with a superimposed shield of seven red and six white vertical stripes below a blue panel; white is a symbol of purity, the letters stand for the Virgin Islands
National anthem:
name: "Virgin Islands March"
lyrics/music: multiple/Alton Augustus ADAMS, Sr.
note: adopted 1963; serves as a local anthem; as a territory of the US, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is official (see United States)

Economy

Economy - overview:
Tourism, trade, and other services are the primary economic activities, accounting for nearly 60% of the Virgin Island's GDP and about half of total civilian employment. The islands host nearly 3 million tourists per year, mostly from visiting cruise ships. The islands are vulnerable to damage from storms. The agriculture sector is small, with most food being imported. Industry and government each account for about one-fifth of GDP. The manufacturing sector consists of rum distilling, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and watch assembly. A refinery on St. Croix, one of the world’s largest, processed 350,000 barrels of crude oil a day until it was shut down in February 2012, after operating for 45 years.
Federal programs and grants, totaling $241.4 million in 2013, contributed 19.7% of the territory’s total revenues. The economy declined in 2013, due to decreases in exports resulting from the loss of refined oil products. Nevertheless, the economy remains relatively diversified. Along with a vibrant tourism industry, rum exports, trade, and services will be major income sources in future years.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$3.792 billion (2013 est.)
$4.143 billion (2012 est.)
$4.288 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 dollars
country comparison to the world: 180
GDP (official exchange rate):
$5.075 billion (2013 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-5.4% (2013 est.)
-13.8% (2012 est.)
-7.5% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 217
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$36,100 (2013 est.)
$39,300 (2012 est.)
$40,500 (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 54
GDP - composition, by end use:
household consumption: 63.6%
government consumption: 28%
investment in fixed assets: 6.1%
investment in inventories: NA%
exports of goods and services: 69.3%
imports of goods and services: -66.9% (2013 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 2%
industry: 20%
services: 78% (2012 est.)
Agriculture - products:
fruit, vegetables, sorghum; Senepol cattle
Industries:
tourism, watch assembly, rum distilling, construction, pharmaceuticals, electronics
Industrial production growth rate:
NA%
Labor force:
50,580 (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 19%
services: 80% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate:
13% (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
Population below poverty line:
28.9% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budget:
revenues: $1.223 billion
expenditures: $1.551 billion (2013 est.)
Taxes and other revenues:
24.1% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-6.5% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183
Public debt:
45.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
Fiscal year:
1 October - 30 September
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.1% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
Exports:
$2.627 billion (2013 est.)
$3.339 billion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
Exports - commodities:
rum
Imports:
$2.694 billion (2013 est.)
$3.056 billion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, consumer goods, building materials
Debt - external:
$NA
Exchange rates:
the US dollar is used

Energy

Electricity access:
population without electricity: 10,295
electrification - total population: 91%
electrification - urban areas: 91%
electrification - rural areas: 80% (2012)
Electricity - production:
679 million kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
Electricity - consumption:
117.2 million kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 199
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 214
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 217
Electricity - installed generating capacity:
316,000 kW (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
Electricity - from fossil fuels:
13.9% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 199
Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 207
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 211
Electricity - from other renewable sources:
1.3% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134
Crude oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 210
Crude oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 209
Crude oil - imports:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 209
Crude oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 210
Refined petroleum products - production:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 211
Refined petroleum products - consumption:
132,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75
Refined petroleum products - exports:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212
Refined petroleum products - imports:
130,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 210
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 208
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 207
Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
9.4 million Mt (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines:
total subscriptions: 76,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 73 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern system with total digital switching, uses fiber-optic cable and microwave radio relay
domestic: full range of services available
international: country code - 1-340; submarine cable connections to US, the Caribbean, Central and South America; satellite earth stations - NA (2016)
Broadcast media:
about a dozen TV broadcast stations including 1 public TV station; multi-channel cable and satellite TV services are available; 24 radio stations (2009)
Internet country code:
.vi
Internet users:
total: 57,000
percent of population: 54.8% (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191

Transportation

Airports:
2 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 207
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
Roadways:
total: 1,260 km (2008)
country comparison to the world: 181
Ports and terminals:
major seaport(s): Charlotte Amalie, Christiansted, Cruz Bay, Frederiksted, Limetree Bay

Military & Security

Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the US

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:
none

Economic Indicators for U.S. Virgin Islands including actual values, historical data, and latest data updates for the U.S. Virgin Islands economy.