Antigua and Barbuda

Introduction :: Antigua and Barbuda


The Siboney were the first people to inhabit the islands of Antigua and Barbuda in 2400 B.C., but Arawak Indians populated the islands when COLUMBUS landed on his second voyage in 1493. Early Spanish and French settlements were succeeded by an English colony in 1667. Slavery, established to run the sugar plantations on Antigua, was abolished in 1834. The islands became an independent state within the British Commonwealth of Nations in 1981. On 6 September 2017, Hurricane Irma passed over the island of Barbuda devastating the island and forcing the evacuation of the population to Antigua. Almost all the structures on Barbuda were destroyed and the vegetation stripped, but Antigua was spared the worst.

Geography :: Antigua and Barbuda


Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east-southeast of Puerto Rico

Geographic coordinates

17 03 N, 61 48 W

Map references

Central America and the Caribbean


total: 443 sq km (Antigua 280 sq km; Barbuda 161 sq km)

land: 442.6 sq km

water: 0 sq km

note: includes Redonda, 1.6 sq km

Area – comparative

2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km


153 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


tropical maritime; little seasonal temperature variation


mostly low-lying limestone and coral islands, with some higher volcanic areas


lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

highest point: Mount Obama 402 m

Natural resources

NEGL; pleasant climate fosters tourism

Land use

agricultural land: 20.5% (2016 est.)

arable land: 9.1% (2016 est.) /** permanent crops:** 2.3% (2016 est.) /** permanent pasture:** 9.1% (2016 est.)

forest: 22.3% (2016 est.)

other: 57.3% (2016 est.)

Irrigated land

1.3 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

the island of Antigua is home to approximately 97% of the population; nearly the entire population of Barbuda lives in Codrington

Natural hazards

hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October); periodic droughts

Environment – current issues

water management – a major concern because of limited natural freshwater resources – is further hampered by the clearing of trees to increase crop production, causing rainfall to run off quickly

Environment – international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography – note

Antigua has a deeply indented shoreline with many natural harbors and beaches; Barbuda has a large western harbor

People and Society :: Antigua and Barbuda


98,179 (July 2020 est.)


noun: Antiguan(s), Barbudan(s)

adjective: Antiguan, Barbudan

Ethnic groups

African descent 87.3%, mixed 4.7%, hispanic 2.7%, white 1.6%, other 2.7%, unspecified 0.9% (2011 est.)

note: data represent population by ethnic group


English (official), Antiguan creole


Protestant 68.3% (Anglican 17.6%, Seventh Day Adventist 12.4%, Pentecostal 12.2%, Moravian 8.3%, Methodist 5.6%, Wesleyan Holiness 4.5%, Church of God 4.1%, Baptist 3.6%), Roman Catholic 8.2%, other 12.2%, unspecified 5.5%, none 5.9% (2011 est.)

Age structure

population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 45.3

youth dependency ratio: 31.8

elderly dependency ratio: 13.6

potential support ratio: 7.4 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 32.7 years

male: 30.7 years

female: 34.4 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

1.18% (2020 est.)

Birth rate

15.4 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Death rate

5.8 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Net migration rate

2.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Population distribution

the island of Antigua is home to approximately 97% of the population; nearly the entire population of Barbuda lives in Codrington



Major urban areas – population

21,000 SAINT JOHN’S (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.85 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.8 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female

total population: 0.89 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 11.1 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 12.7 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 9.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 77.3 years

male: 75.1 years

female: 79.6 years (2020 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.97 children born/woman (2020 est.)

Drinking water source

improved:** total:** 96.7% of population

unimproved:** total:** 3.2% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

4.5% (2017)

Physicians density

2.96 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

2.9 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved:** total:** 91.7% of population

unimproved:** total:** 8.1% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate

1.1% (2018)

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS

<1000 (2018)

HIV/AIDS – deaths

<100 (2018)

Obesity – adult prevalence rate

18.9% (2016)

Education expenditures

2.5% of GDP (2009)


definition: age 15 and over has completed five or more years of schooling

total population: 99%

male: 98.4%

female: 99.4% (2015)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 13 years

male: 12 years

female: 13 years (2012)

Government :: Antigua and Barbuda

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Antigua and Barbuda

etymology: “antiguo” is Spanish for “ancient” or “old”; the island was discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 and, according to tradition, named by him after the church of Santa Maria la Antigua (Old Saint Mary’s) in Seville; “barbuda” is Spanish for “bearded” and the adjective may refer to the alleged beards of the indigenous people or to the island’s bearded fig trees

Government type

parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm


name: Saint John’s

geographic coordinates: 17 07 N, 61 51 W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: named after Saint John the Apostle

Administrative divisions

6 parishes and 2 dependencies; Barbuda, Redonda*, Saint George, Saint John, Saint Mary, Saint Paul, Saint Peter, Saint Philip


1 November 1981 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 1 November (1981)


history: several previous; latest presented 31 July 1981, effective 31 October 1981 (The Antigua and Barbuda Constitution Order 1981)

amendments: proposed by either house of Parliament; passage of amendments to constitutional sections such as citizenship, fundamental rights and freedoms, the establishment, power, and authority of the executive and legislative branches, the Supreme Court Order, and the procedure for amending the constitution requires approval by at least two-thirds majority vote of the membership of both houses, approval by at least two-thirds majority in a referendum, and assent to by the governor general; passage of other amendments requires only two-thirds majority vote by both houses; amended 2009, 2011

Legal system

common law based on the English model

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Rodney WILLIAMS (since 14 August 2014)

head of government: Prime Minister Gaston BROWNE (since 13 June 2014)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the governor general

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:

Senate (17 seats; members appointed by the governor general)
House of Representatives (18 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)
Senate – last appointed on 26 March 2018 (next NA)
House of Representatives – last held on 21 March 2018 (next to be held in March 2023)
election results:
Senate – composition – men 8, women 9, percent of women 52.9%
House of Representatives – percent of vote by party – ABLP 59.4%, UPP 37.2%, BPM 1.4%, other 1.9% ; seats by party – ABLP 15, UPP 1, BPM 1; composition – men 16, women 2, percent of women 11.1%; note – total Parliament percent of women 31.4%

Judicial branch

highest courts: the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the superior court of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States; the ECSC – headquartered on St. Lucia – consists of the Court of Appeal – headed by the chief justice and 4 judges – and the High Court with 18 judges; the Court of Appeal is itinerant, travelling to member states on a schedule to hear appeals from the High Court and subordinate courts; High Court judges reside in the member states, with 2 assigned to Antigua and Barbuda

judge selection and term of office: chief justice of Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court appointed by the Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65; High Court judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 62

subordinate courts: Industrial Court; Magistrates’ Courts

Political parties and leaders

Antigua Caribbean Liberation Movement or ACLM
Antigua Labor Party or ABLP [Gaston BROWNE]
Antigua Barbuda True Labor Party or ABTLP [Sharlene SAMUEL]
Barbuda People’s Movement or BPM [Trevor WALKER]
Barbuda People’s Movement for Change [Arthur NIBBS]
Barbudans for a Better Barbuda [Ordrick SAMUEL]
Democratic National Alliance or DNA [Joanne MASSIAH]
Go Green for Life [Owen GEORGE]
Progressive Labor Movement or PLM
United National Democratic Party or UNDP
United Progressive Party or UPP [Harold LOVELL] (a coalition of ACLM, PLM, UNDP)

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

Ambassador Sir Ronald SANDERS (since 17 September 2015)
chancery: 3234 Prospect Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

telephone: 1 362-5122

FAX: 1 362-5525
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

the US does not have an embassy in Antigua and Barbuda; the US Ambassador to Barbados is accredited to Antigua and Barbuda

Flag description

red, with an inverted isosceles triangle based on the top edge of the flag; the triangle contains three horizontal bands of black (top), light blue, and white, with a yellow rising sun in the black band; the sun symbolizes the dawn of a new era, black represents the African heritage of most of the population, blue is for hope, and red is for the dynamism of the people; the “V” stands for victory; the successive yellow, blue, and white coloring is also meant to evoke the country’s tourist attractions of sun, sea, and sand

National symbol(s)

fallow deer; national colors: red, white, blue, black, yellow

National anthem


Economy :: Antigua and Barbuda

Economy – overview

Tourism continues to dominate Antigua and Barbuda’s economy, accounting for nearly 60% of GDP and 40% of investment. The dual-island nation’s agricultural production is focused on the domestic market and constrained by a limited water supply and a labor shortage stemming from the lure of higher wages in tourism and construction. Manufacturing comprises enclave-type assembly for export with major products being bedding, handicrafts, and electronic components.

Like other countries in the region, Antigua’s economy was severely hit by effects of the global economic recession in 2009. The country suffered from the collapse of its largest private sector employer, a steep decline in tourism, a rise in debt, and a sharp economic contraction between 2009 and 2011. Antigua has not yet returned to its pre-crisis growth levels. Barbuda suffered significant damages after hurricanes Irma and Maria passed through the Caribbean in 2017.

Prospects for economic growth in the medium term will continue to depend on tourist arrivals from the US, Canada, and Europe and could be disrupted by potential damage from natural disasters. The new government, elected in 2014 and led by Prime Minister Gaston Browne, continues to face significant fiscal challenges. The government places some hope in a new Citizenship by Investment Program, to both reduce public debt levels and spur growth, and a resolution of a WTO dispute with the US.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$2.398 billion (2017 est.)
$2.334 billion (2016 est.)
$2.215 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.524 billion (2017 est.)

GDP – real growth rate

2.8% (2017 est.)
5.3% (2016 est.)
4.1% (2015 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP)

$26,400 (2017 est.)
$25,900 (2016 est.)
$24,900 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Gross national saving

17.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
24.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
30.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

GDP – composition, by end use

household consumption: 53.5% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 15.2% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 23.9% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.1% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 73.9% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -66.5% (2017 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.8% (2017 est.)

industry: 20.8% (2017 est.)

services: 77.3% (2017 est.)

Agriculture – products

cotton, fruits, vegetables, bananas, coconuts, cucumbers, mangoes, sugarcane; livestock


tourism, construction, light manufacturing (clothing, alcohol, household appliances)

Industrial production growth rate

6.8% (2017 est.)

Labor force

30,000 (1991)

Labor force – by occupation

agriculture: 7%

industry: 11%

services: 82% (1983 est.)

Unemployment rate

11% (2014 est.)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA


revenues: 298.2 million (2017 est.)

expenditures: 334 million (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

19.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Public debt

86.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
86.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

Fiscal year

1 April – 31 March

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.5% (2017 est.)
-0.5% (2016 est.)

Current account balance

-$112 million (2017 est.)
$2 million (2016 est.)


$86.7 million (2017 est.)
$56.5 million (2016 est.)

Exports – partners

Poland 62.2%, Cameroon 9.5%, US 5.1%, UK 4.5% (2017)

Exports – commodities

petroleum products, bedding, handicrafts, electronic components, transport equipment, food and live animals


$560 million (2017 est.)
$503.4 million (2016 est.)

Imports – commodities

food and live animals, machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, oil

Imports – partners

US 48%, Spain 4.2% (2017)

Debt – external

$441.2 million (31 December 2012)
$458 million (June 2010)

Exchange rates

East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar –
2.7 (2017 est.)
2.7 (2016 est.)
2.7 (2015 est.)
2.7 (2014 est.)
2.7 (2013 est.)

Energy :: Antigua and Barbuda

Electricity access

population without electricity: 9,358 (2012)

electrification – total population: 97.4% (2016)
electrification – urban areas: 100% (2016)
electrification – rural areas: 96.5% (2016)

Electricity – production

331 million kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – consumption

307.8 million kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – exports

0 kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – imports

0 kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – installed generating capacity

124,000 kW (2016 est.)

Electricity – from fossil fuels

97% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)

Electricity – from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from hydroelectric plants

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from other renewable sources

3% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Crude oil – production

0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

Crude oil – exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil – imports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil – proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)

Refined petroleum products – production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products – consumption

5,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)

Refined petroleum products – exports

91 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products – imports

5,065 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Natural gas – production

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – consumption

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – exports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – imports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

740,300 Mt (2017 est.)

Communications :: Antigua and Barbuda

Telephones – fixed lines

total subscriptions: 22,504

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 24 (July 2016 est.)

Telephones – mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 180,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 190 (2017 est.)

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: good automatic telephone system with fiber-optic lines; telecom sector contributes heavily to GDP; numerous mobile network competitors licensed, but small and local; govt. to spend EC80 million in 2019 to improve state-owned telecom market competitiveness; legislative amendments extend jurisdiction of its telecom regulator in Barbuda to include mobile services (2020)

domestic: fixed-line teledensity roughly 24 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular teledensity is about 190 per 100 persons (2018)

international: country code – 1-268; landing points for the ECFS and Southern Caribbean Fiber submarine cable systems with links to other islands in the eastern Caribbean; satellite earth stations – 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic’s effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry – mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite – has moderated

Broadcast media

state-controlled Antigua and Barbuda Broadcasting Service (ABS) operates 1 TV station; multi-channel cable TV subscription services are available; ABS operates 1 radio station; roughly 15 radio stations, some broadcasting on multiple frequencies

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 72,870

percent of population: 76% (July 2018 est.)

Broadband – fixed subscriptions

total: 9,261

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 10 (2017 est.)

Military and Security :: Antigua and Barbuda

Military and security forces

Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force (ABDF): Coast Guard and the Antigua and Barbuda Regiment (2020)

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force (ABDF) has approximately 200 active personnel (2019 est.)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the ABDF’s equipment inventory is limited to small arms, light weapons, and soft-skin vehicles; the Coast Guard maintains ex-US patrol vessels and some smaller boats (2019 est.)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; Governor-General has powers to call up men for national service and set the age at which they could be called up (2012)

Transportation :: Antigua and Barbuda

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 10

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 580,174 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 290,000 mt-km (2018)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

V2 (2016)


3 (2020)

Airports – with paved runways

total: 2 (2019)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

under 914 m: 1

Airports – with unpaved runways

total: 1 (2013)

under 914 m: 1 (2013)


total: 1,170 km (2011)

paved: 386 km (2011)

unpaved: 784 km (2011)

Merchant marine

total: 780

by type: bulk carrier 32, container ship 151, general cargo 534, oil tanker 2, other 61 (2019)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Saint John’s

Transnational Issues :: Antigua and Barbuda

Disputes – international


Trafficking in persons

current situation: Antigua and Barbuda is a destination and transit country for adults and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; forced prostitution has been reported in bars, taverns, and brothels, while forced labor occurs in domestic service and the retail sector

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List Antigua and Barbuda does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government made no discernible progress in convicting traffickers in 2014 but charged two individuals in separate cases; efforts to convict traffickers have been impeded by a 2014 ruling that found the 2010 anti-trafficking act was unconstitutional because jurisdiction rests with the Magistrates Court rather than the High Court; no new prosecutions, convictions, or punishments were recorded in 2014; credible sources have raised concerns about trafficking-related complicity among some off-duty police officers, which could hinder investigations or victims willingness to report offenses; prevention efforts were sustained, but progress in protecting victims was uneven; seven victims were assisted, which was an increase over 2013 (2015)

Illicit drugs

considered a minor transshipment point for narcotics bound for the US and Europe; more significant as an offshore financial center


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