Reference work entry


  • Capital: Belmopan

  • Population estimate, 2015: 359,000

  • GNI per capita, 2014: (PPP$) 7,614

  • HDI/world rank, 2014: 0.715/101=

  • Internet domain extension: .bz

Civil Aviation

There is an international airport (Philip S. W. Goldson) in Belize City. The national carrier is Maya Island Air, which operates scheduled domestic services and charter flights to Guatemala and Honduras. In 2013 Philip S. W. Goldson International handled 542,833 passengers (449,291 in 2008).


A tropical climate with high rainfall and small annual range of temperature. The driest months are Feb. and March. Belize City, Jan. 74 °F (23.3 °C), July 81 °F (27.2 °C). Annual rainfall 76″ (1,890 mm).

Constitution and Government

The head of state is the British sovereign, represented by an appointed Governor-General. The Constitution, which came into force on 21 Sept. 1981, provided for a National Assembly, with a 5-year term, comprising a 32-member House of Representatives (31 elected by universal suffrage plus the Speaker), and a Senate consisting of 13 members, six appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister, three on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition, one on the advice of the Belize Council of Churches and the Evangelical Association of Churches, one on the advice of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Belize Business Bureau and one on the advice of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize and the Civil Society Steering Committee plus the Senate President.


The unit of currency is the Belize dollar (BZD) of 100 cents. Since 1976 $B2 has been fixed at US$1.


The Belize Defence Force numbers around 1,050 (2011) with 700 reservists. There are three infantry battalions, three reserve companies, a support group and an air wing. In 2013 defence expenditure totalled US$18 m. (US$53 per capita), representing 1.1% of GDP.


In 2011 agriculture accounted for 13% of GDP, industry 23% and services 64%.


The labour force in 2013 was 149,600 (100,800 in 2003). 68.3% of the population aged 15–64 was economically active in 2013. In the same year 11.7% of the population was unemployed.


There are no daily newspapers although there were eight non-dailies in 2008, the largest of which were Belize Times, The Amandala Press and The Reporter.


In 2010 there were an estimated 160,000 Roman Catholics and 110,000 Protestants according to the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, with the remainder of the population being unaffiliated or following other religions.


In 2006 there were 575 km of main roads and 2,432 km of other roads. There were 40,000 passenger cars in use in 2006 and 14,800 trucks and vans. In 2006 there were 68 deaths as a result of road accidents.


The main port is Belize City, with a modern deep-water port able to handle containerized shipping. There are also ports at Commerce Bight and Big Creek. In Jan. 2009 there were 246 ships of 300 GT or over registered, totalling 950,000 GT. Nine cargo shipping lines serve Belize, and there are coastal passenger services to the offshore islands and Guatemala.

Social Statistics

2009 births (est.), 8,000; deaths (est.), 1,000. In 2009 the estimated birth rate per 1,000 was 25 and the death rate 4; infant mortality in 2010 was 14 per 1,000 live births; there were 2,020 marriages in 2004. Life expectancy in 2013 was 70.9 years for males and 77.1 for females. Annual population growth rate, 2005–10, 2.5%; fertility rate, 2013, 2.7 children per woman.


In 2011 there were 28,800 landline telephone subscriptions (equivalent to 90.7 per 1,000 inhabitants) and 203,100 mobile phone subscriptions (or 638.7 per 1,000 inhabitants). Fixed internet subscriptions totalled 9,400 in 2010 (30.1 per 1,000 inhabitants).

Territory and Population

Belize is bounded in the north by Mexico, west and south by Guatemala and east by the Caribbean. Fringing the coast there are three atolls and some 400 islets (cays) in the world’s second longest barrier reef (140 miles), which was declared a world heritage site in 1996. Area, 22,965 km2. Population at the 2010 census, 324,528; density, 14.1 per km2. The capital is Belmopan (2010 census population, 13,931). In 2010, 45.0% of the population were urban.


There were 716 hotels and 7,111 hotel rooms in 2011. In 2012 there were 917,869 visitors of which 277,135 stayed overnight and 640,734 arrived on cruise ships.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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