Saint Kitts and Nevis

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First settled by the British in 1623, the islands became an associated state with full internal autonomy in 1967. The island of Anguilla rebelled and was allowed to secede in 1971. Saint Kitts and Nevis achieved independence in 1983. In 1998, a vote in Nevis on a referendum to separate from Saint Kitts fell short of the two-thirds majority needed. Nevis continues in its efforts to try and separate from Saint Kitts.


Caribbean, islands in the Caribbean Sea, about one-third of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago

Geographic coordinates:

17 20 N, 62 45 W


total: 261 sq km (Saint Kitts 168 sq km; Nevis 93 sq km)
land: 261 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Land boundaries:

0 km


135 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


tropical, tempered by constant sea breezes; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season (May to November)


volcanic with mountainous interiors

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Liamuiga 1,156 m

Natural resources:

arable land

Land use:

arable land: 19.44%
permanent crops: 2.78%
other: 77.78% (2005)

Natural hazards:

hurricanes (July to October)

Geography - note:

with coastlines in the shape of a baseball bat and ball, the two volcanic islands are separated by a three-km-wide channel called The Narrows; on the southern tip of long, baseball bat-shaped Saint Kitts lies the Great Salt Pond; Nevis Peak sits in the center of its almost circular namesake island and its ball shape complements that of its sister island


39,129 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 27.5% (male 5,515/female 5,263)
15-64 years: 64.3% (male 12,605/female 12,572)
65 years and over: 8.1% (male 1,313/female 1,861) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 27.8 years
male: 27.1 years
female: 28.6 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.5% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

18.02 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

8.33 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

-4.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 14.12 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 15.85 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 72.4 years
male: 69.56 years
female: 75.42 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.31 children born/woman (2006 est.)


noun: Kittitian(s), Nevisian(s)
adjective: Kittitian, Nevisian

Ethnic groups:

predominantly black; some British, Portuguese, and Lebanese


Anglican, other Protestant, Roman Catholic




definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 97.8%
male: NA%
female: NA% (2003 est.)

Country name:

conventional long form: Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
conventional short form: Saint Kitts and Nevis
former: Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis

Government type:

constitutional monarchy with Westminster-style parliament



Administrative divisions:

14 parishes; Christ Church Nichola Town, Saint Anne Sandy Point, Saint George Basseterre, Saint George Gingerland, Saint James Windward, Saint John Capesterre, Saint John Figtree, Saint Mary Cayon, Saint Paul Capesterre, Saint Paul Charlestown, Saint Peter Basseterre, Saint Thomas Lowland, Saint Thomas Middle Island, Trinity Palmetto Point


19 September 1983 (from UK)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 19 September (1983)


19 September 1983

Legal system:

based on English common law


18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch:

unicameral National Assembly (14 seats, 3 appointed and 11 popularly elected from single-member constituencies; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 25 October 2004 (next to be held by 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - SKNLP 7, CCM 2, NRP 1, PAM 1

Judicial branch:

Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (based on Saint Lucia; one judge of the Supreme Court resides in Saint Kitts and Nevis)

Economy - overview:

Sugar was the traditional mainstay of the Saint Kitts economy until the 1970s. Although the crop still dominates the agricultural sector, activities such as tourism, export-oriented manufacturing, and offshore banking have assumed larger roles in the economy. Tourism revenues are now the chief source of the islands' foreign exchange; about 40,000 tourist visited Nevis during the 2003-2004 season. Additional tourist facilities, including a second cruise ship pier, hotels, and golf courses are under construction.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$339 million (2002 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

-1.9% (2002 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$8,800 (2002 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 3.5%
industry: 25.8%
services: 70.7% (2001)

Labor force:

18,170 (June 1995)

Unemployment rate:

4.5% (1997)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

1.7% (2001 est.)


revenues: $89.7 million
expenditures: $128.2 million; including capital expenditures of $19.5 million (2003 est.)

Agriculture - products:

sugarcane, rice, yams, vegetables, bananas; fish


sugar processing, tourism, cotton, salt, copra, clothing, footwear, beverages

Electricity - production:

111.7 million kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

103.9 million kWh (2003)

Oil - consumption:

700 bbl/day (2003 est.)


$70 million (2004 est.)

Exports - commodities:

machinery, food, electronics, beverages, tobacco

Exports - partners:

US 57.5%, Canada 9%, Portugal 8.3%, UK 6.7% (2004)


$405 million (2004 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery, manufactures, food, fuels

Imports - partners:

Ukraine 44.7%, US 22.1%, Trinidad and Tobago 8.8%, UK 6.2% (2004)

Debt - external:

$171 million (2001)

Economic aid - recipient:

$8 million (2001)

Currency (code):

East Caribbean dollar (XCD)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

25,000 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

10,000 (2004)

Telephone system:

general assessment: good inter-island and international connections
domestic: inter-island links via Eastern Caribbean Fiber Optic cable; construction of enhanced wireless infrastructure launched in November 2004
international: country code - 1-869; international calls are carried by submarine cable or Intelsat

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 3, FM 3, shortwave 0 (2004)

Television broadcast stations:

1 (plus three repeaters) (2004)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

48 (2005)

Internet users:

10,000 (2002)


2 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2005)


total: 50 km
narrow gauge: 50 km 0.762-m gauge on Saint Kitts to serve sugarcane plantations during harvest season (2003)


total: 320 km
paved: 138 km
unpaved: 182 km (1999 est)

Merchant marine:

total: 34 ships (1000 GRT or over) 143,627 GRT/202,477 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 21, chemical tanker 3, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 5, refrigerated cargo 2
foreign-owned: 30 (Monaco 1, Russia 4, Switzerland 1, Syria 1, Turkey 2, Ukraine 1, UAE 20) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Basseterre, Charlestown

Military branches:

Saint Kitts and Nevis Defense Force (includes Coast Guard), Royal Saint Kitts and Nevis Police Force

Disputes - international:

joins other Caribbean states to counter Venezuela's claim that Aves Island sustains human habitation, a criterion under UNCLOS, which permits Venezuela to extend its EEZ/continental shelf over a large portion of the Caribbean Sea

Illicit drugs:

transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; some money-laundering activity