Reference work entry


  • Capital: Bridgetown

  • Population estimate, 2015: 284,000

  • GNI per capita, 2014: (PPP$) 12,488

  • HDI/world rank, 2014: 0.785/57

  • Internet domain extension: .bb

Civil Aviation

Grantley Adams International Airport is 16 km from Bridgetown. In 2009 it handled 1,939,059 passengers (down from 2,165,125 in 2008) and 21,098 tonnes of freight (up from 19,479 in 2008).


An equable climate in winter, but the wet season, from June to Nov., is more humid. Rainfall varies from 50″ (1,250 mm) on the coast to 75″ (1,875 mm) in the higher interior. Bridgetown, Jan. 76 °F (24.4 °C), July 80 °F (26.7 °C). Annual rainfall 51″ (1,275 mm).

Constitution and Government

The head of state is the British sovereign, represented by an appointed Governor-General. The bicameral Parliament consists of a Senate and a House of Assembly. The Senate comprises 21 members appointed by the Governor-General, 12 being appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister, two on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition and seven at the Governor-General’s discretion. The House of Assembly comprises 30 members elected every 5 years. In 1963 the voting age was reduced to 18. The Privy Council is appointed by the Governor-General after consultation with the Prime Minister. It consists of 12 members and the Governor-General as chairman. It advises the Governor-General in the exercise of the royal prerogative of mercy and in the exercise of his disciplinary powers over members of the public and police services.


The unit of currency is the Barbados dollar (BBD), usually written as BDS$, of 100 cents, which is pegged to the US dollar at BDS$2 = US$1.


The Barbados Defence Force has a strength of about 610. In 2013 defence expenditure totalled US$33 m. (US$115 per capita), representing 0.7% of GDP.


In 2009 agriculture accounted for 3% of GDP, industry 23% and services 74%.


The labour force in 2013 was 161,900 (up from 149,500 in 2003). 80.8% of the population aged 15–64 was economically active in 2013. In the same year 11.6% of the population was unemployed.


In 2008 there were two daily newspapers, the Barbados Advocate (est. 1895) and the Daily Nation (est. 1973). The Daily Nation has an average daily circulation of 33,000; the Barbados Advocate, 15,000.


In 2010 there were an estimated 240,000 Protestants and 10,000 Roman Catholics according to the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, with the remainder of the population being unaffiliated or following other religions.


Barbados has some 1,600 km of roads. In 2007 there were 103,500 passenger cars, 15,200 lorries and vans, and 630 buses and coaches. There were 38 deaths as a result of road accidents in 2007.


There is a deep-water harbour at Bridgetown. In Jan. 2009 there were 91 ships of 300 GT or over registered, totalling 642,000 GT.

Social Statistics

In 2007: births registered, 3,537; deaths registered, 2,213; birth rate, 12.9 per 1,000 population; death rate, 8.1 per 1,000 population; infant mortality (2010), 17 per 1,000 live births. Expectation of life, 2007, males 74.0 years and females 79.7. Population growth rate, 2005, 0.3%; fertility rate, 2008, 1.5 children per woman.


In 2011 there were 141,000 landline telephone subscriptions (equivalent to 513.5 per 1,000 inhabitants) and 348,000 mobile phone subscriptions (1,270·1 per 1,000 inhabitants). Fixed internet subscriptions totalled 61,000 in 2009 (223.5 per 1,000 inhabitants). In Dec. 2011 Barbados had 118,000 Facebook users.

Territory and Population

Barbados lies to the east of the Windward Islands. Area 430 km2 (166 sq. miles). In 2010 the census population was 277,821; density, 646.1 per km2. In 2011, 45.1% of the population were urban. Bridgetown is the principal city: population (including suburbs), 122,000 in 2011. The country is divided into 11 parishes. The official language is English.


In 2010 there were 532,180 overnight tourist arrivals by air (of which 181,054 were from the United Kingdom) and 664,747 cruise ship visitors, up from 518,564 and 635,746 respectively in 2009.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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