Jamaica gained full independence within the British Commonwealth in 1962.
Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence
and a dropoff in tourism. Elections in 1980 saw the democratic socialists voted
out of office. Subsequent governments have been open market oriented. Political
violence marred elections during the 1990s.
Ethnic groups: Black 90.9%, East Indian 1.3%, white 0.2%, Chinese 0.2%, mixed
7.3%, other 0.1%.
Religions: Protestant 61.3% (Church of God 21.2%, Baptist 8.8%, Anglican 5.5%,
Seventh-Day Adventist 9%, Pentecostal 7.6%, Methodist 2.7%, United Church 2.7%,
Brethren 1.1%, Jehovah's Witness 1.6%, Moravian 1.1%), Roman Catholic 4%,
other, including some spiritual cults 34.7%.
Languages: English, patois English.
The economy, which depends heavily on tourism and bauxite, has been stagnant
since 1995. After five years of recession, the economy grew 0.8% in 2000 and
1.1% in 2001, but the global economic slowdown, particularly in the United
States after the 11 September terrorist attacks, has stunted the economic
GDP - composition by sector: Agriculture: 7%, industry: 28%, services: 65%.