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Montserrat country facts

Central America and the Caribbean Plymouth 5,215 inhabitants 102 sq km 51.13 inhabitants/sq km East Caribbean dollars (XCD) overseas territory of the United Kingdom population evolution



English and Irish colonists from St. Kitts first settled on Montserrat in 1632; the first African slaves arrived three decades later. The British and French fought for possession of the island for most of the 18th century, but it finally was confirmed as a British possession in 1783. The island's sugar plantation economy was converted to small farm landholdings in the mid 19th century. Much of this island was devastated and two-thirds of the population fled abroad because of the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano that began on 18 July 1995. Montserrat has endured volcanic activity since, with the last eruption occurring in July 2003.



Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, southeast of Puerto Rico

Geographic coordinates

16 45 N, 62 12 W

Area (sq km)

total: 102 sq km
land: 102 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative (sq km)

about 0.6 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries (km)

0 km

Coastline (km)

40 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 3 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


tropical; little daily or seasonal temperature variation


volcanic island, mostly mountainous, with small coastal lowland

Elevation extremes (m)

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: lava dome in English's Crater (in the Soufriere Hills volcanic complex) estimated at over 930 m (2006)

Natural resources


Land use (%)

arable land: 20%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 80% (2011)

Irrigated land (sq km)


Natural hazards

volcanic eruptions; severe hurricanes (June to November)
volcanism: Soufriere Hills volcano (elev. 915 m), has erupted continuously since 1995; a massive eruption in 1997 destroyed most of the capital, Plymouth, and resulted in approximately half of the island becoming uninhabitable

Environment - current issues

land erosion occurs on slopes that have been cleared for cultivation

Geography - note

the island is entirely volcanic in origin and comprised of three major volcanic centers of differing ages

People and Society


noun: Montserratian(s)
adjective: Montserratian

Ethnic groups (%)

African/black 88.4%, mixed 3.7%, hispanic/Spanish 3%, caucasian/white 2.7%, East Indian/Indian 1.5%, other 0.7% (2011 est.)

Languages (%)


Religions (%)

Protestant 67.1% (includes Anglican 21.8%, Methodist 17%, Pentecostal 14.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 10.5%, and Church of God 3.7%), Roman Catholic 11.6%, Rastafarian 1.4%, other 6.5%, none 2.6%, unspecified 10.8% (2001 est.)


note: an estimated 8,000 refugees left the island following the resumption of volcanic activity in July 1995; some have returned (July 2014 est.)   evolution and prospects (1950-2100)

Age structure (%)

0-14 years: 17.6% (male 472/female 445)
15-24 years: 21.5% (male 588/female 531)
25-54 years: 47.9% (male 1,190/female 1,309)
55-64 years: 6.9% (male 160/female 200)
65 years and over: 6.2% (male 196/female 124) (2014 est.)

Age structure in Montserrat

Median age (years)

total: 31.4 years
male: 30.9 years
female: 31.9 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate (%)

0.48% (2014 est.)

Birth rate (births/1,000 population)

11.31 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Death rate (deaths/1,000 population)

6.52 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Net migration rate (migrant(s)/1,000 population)

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Urbanization (%)

urban population: 14.2% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 1.89% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Sex ratio (male(s)/female)

at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.11 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.55 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Infant mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births)

total: 13.66 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 10.54 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.92 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth (years)

total population: 73.9 years
male: 75.48 years
female: 72.24 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate (children born/woman)

1.29 children born/woman (2014 est.)

Drinking water source (% of population)

improved: urban: 99% of population
rural: 99% of population
total: 99% of population
unimproved: urban: 1% of population
rural: 1% of population
total: 1% of population (2012 est.)

Sanitation facility access (% of population)

improved: urban: 82.9% of population
rural: 82.9% of population
total: 82.9% of population
unimproved: urban: 17.1% of population
rural: 17.1% of population
total: 17.1% of population (2007 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate (%)


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Literacy (%)

definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 97%
male: 97%
female: 97% (1970 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) (years)

total: 15 years
male: 14 years
female: 17 years (2007)


Country name

conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Montserrat

Dependency status

overseas territory of the UK

Government type



name: Plymouth; note - Plymouth was abandoned in 1997 because of volcanic activity; interim government buildings have been built at Brades Estate in the Carr's Bay/Little Bay vicinity at the northwest end of Montserrat
geographic coordinates: 16 42 N, 62 13 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

3 parishes; Saint Anthony, Saint Georges, Saint Peter


none (overseas territory of the UK)

National holiday

birthday of Queen ELIZABETH II, second Saturday in June (1926)


previous 1960; latest effective 1 September 2010; amended 2011 (2012)

Legal system

English common law


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Adrian DAVIS (since 8 April 2011)
head of government: Premier Rueben T. MEADE (since 27 September 2011); note - the office of premier came into effect with the new Constitution Order; he replaces the chief minister
cabinet: Executive Council consists of the governor, the premier, 3 other ministers, the attorney general, and the finance secretary
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party usually becomes premier

Legislative branch

unicameral Legislative Council (11 seats; 9 members popularly elected to serve five-year terms; the attorney general and financial secretary sit as ex-officio members)
elections: last held on 8 September 2009 (next to be held by 2014)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - MCAP 6, independents 3

Judicial branch

highest court(s): the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the itinerant superior court of record for the 9-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to include Montserrat; the ECSC - with its headquarters on St. Lucia - is headed by the chief justice and is comprised of the Court of Appeal with 3 justices and the High Court with 16 judges; sittings of the Court of Appeal and High Court rotate among the 9 member states; 1 judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of Montserrat and presides over the High Court
note - Montserrat is also a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice
judge selection and term of office: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court chief justice appointed by 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: magistrate's court

Political parties and leaders

Montserrat Democratic Party or MDP [Lowell LEWIS]
Movement for Change and Prosperity or MCAP [Roselyn CASSELL-SEALY]
New People's Liberation Movement or NPLM [John A. OSBORNE]

Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation

Caricom, CDB, Interpol (subbureau), OECS, UPU

Diplomatic representation in the US

none (overseas territory of the UK)

Diplomatic representation from the US

none (overseas territory of the UK)

Flag description

blue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Montserratian coat of arms centered in the outer half of the flag; the arms feature a woman in green dress, Erin, the female personification of Ireland, standing beside a yellow harp and embracing a large dark cross with her right arm; Erin and the harp are symbols of Ireland reflecting the territory's Irish ancestry; blue represents awareness, trustworthiness, determination, and righteousness

National anthem

note: as a territory of the United Kingdom, "God Save the Queen" is official (see United Kingdom)


Economy - overview

Severe volcanic activity, which began in July 1995, has put a damper on this small, open economy. A catastrophic eruption in June 1997 closed the airport and seaports, causing further economic and social dislocation. Two-thirds of the 12,000 inhabitants fled the island. Some began to return in 1998 but lack of housing limited the number. The agriculture sector continued to be affected by the lack of suitable land for farming and the destruction of crops. Prospects for the economy depend largely on developments in relation to the volcanic activity and on public sector construction activity. Half of the island remains uninhabitable. In January 2013, the EU announced the disbursement of a $55.2 million aid package to Montserrat in order to boost the country's economic recovery, with a specific focus on public finance management, public sector reform, and prudent economic management.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$43.78 million (2006 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate)


GDP - real growth rate (%)

3.5% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$8,500 (2006 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin (%)

agriculture: 1.6%
industry: 23.2%
services: 75.1% (2013 est.)

Labor force

4,521 (2012)

Unemployment rate (%)

6% (1998 est.)

Population below poverty line (%)


Household income or consumption by percentage share (%)

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%


revenues: $31.4 million
expenditures: $37.04 million (2011 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) (%)

4.5% (2013 est.)
4.8% (2012 est.)

Central bank discount rate (%)

10.99% (31 December 2010 est.)
6.5% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate (%)

8.3% (31 December 2013 est.)
8.16% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$19.5 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$17.54 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of broad money

$89.96 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$81.79 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$4.074 million (31 December 2012 est.)
$5.185 million (31 December 2011 est.)

Agriculture - products

cabbages, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers; livestock products


tourism, rum, textiles, electronic appliances

Industrial production growth rate (%)

2% (2013 est.)


$3.6 million (2013 est.)
$2.3 million (2012 est.)

Exports - commodities (%)

electronic components, plastic bags, apparel; hot peppers, limes, live plants; cattle


$30 million (2013 est.)
$32.5 million (2012 est.)

Imports - commodities (%)

machinery and transportation equipment, foodstuffs, manufactured goods, fuels, lubricants, and related materials

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$32.08 million (31 December 2012 est.)
$24.81 million (31 December 2011 est.)

External debt ($)

$8.9 million (1997)

Exchange rates

Currency converter
East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar -
2.7 (2013 est.)
2.7 (2012 est.)
2.7 (2010 est.)
2.7 (2009)

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March


Electricity - production (kWh)

24 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - consumption (kWh)

22.32 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - exports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity (kW)

10,000 kW (2010 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels (% of total installed capacity)

100% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Crude oil - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - imports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves (bbl)

0 bbl (1 January 2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption (bbl/day)

1,000 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports (bbl/day)

569 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Natural gas - production (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - consumption (cu m)

0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - exports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - imports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves (cu m)

0 cu m (1 January 2013 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy (Mt)

87,860 Mt (2011 est.)


Telephones - main lines in use

3,000 (2012)

Telephones - mobile cellular

4,000 (2012)

Telephone system

general assessment: modern and fully digitalized
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity exceeds 100 per 100 persons
international: country code - 1-664; landing point for the East Caribbean Fiber System (ECFS) optic submarine cable with links to 13 other islands in the eastern Caribbean extending from the Virgin Islands country facts" data-cl-code="VGB">British Virgin Islands to Trinidad (2011)

Broadcast media

Radio Montserrat, a public radio broadcaster, transmits on 1 station and has a repeater transmission to a second station; repeater transmissions from the GEM Radio Network of Trinidad and Tobago provide another 2 radio stations; cable and satellite TV available (2007)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

2,431 (2012)

Internet users

1,200 (2009)



1 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Roadways (km)

note: volcanic eruptions that began in 1995 destroyed most of the 227 km road system; a new road infrastructure has been built on the north end of the island (2008)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Little Bay, Plymouth


Military branches

no regular military forces; Royal Montserrat Police Force (2011)

Manpower available for military service

males age 16-49: 1,353 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 16-49: 1,135
females age 16-49: 1,223 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually

male: 35
female: 34 (2010 est.)

Military - note

defense is the responsibility of the UK

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Illicit drugs

transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for the US and Europe

Largest cities of Montserrat

These are the 50 largest cities of Montserrat ordered based on their number of inhabitants.

# City Population