Jamaica Population 2018
The island of Jamaica, which celebrated 50 years of independence in 2012 after finally breaking away from centuries of rule by the Spanish and then the British, has a population of 2.90 million in 2018, up from the estimated 2.8 million in 2015. That's pretty impressive for an island nation with just 10,991 square kilometers (4,244 square miles) of area. This means that Jamaica is now the world's 139th most populous country.
To be precise, the latest official estimate – provided in 2014 by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica – is 2,720,554.
However, other demographers disagree, and believe that the population of Jamaica is actually considerably higher than the government believes. The CIA World Factbook, for example, had estimated that the Jamaica population in 2012 was actually 2,889,187, not the 2.7 million estimated by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica.
Jamaica has a long history of census taking, and currently holds a census every ten years. The last census took place in July 2011, which showed a total of 2,697,983 residents in the country. A 2014 estimate showed 2.72 million, while estimates for 2016 are thought to be around 2.9 million.
Depending on which estimates you use (the Jamaican government's or the CIA Factbook), Jamaica experienced a population growth of 5 or 15% from 2001 to 2011. Still, there's no doubt that the country is continuing to grow.
Jamaica Population Density
Jamaica is a small island, but it makes up for its size with a high population density in comparison with much of the rest of the world. The total surface area is just 10,991 square kilometers (4,244 square miles) and this makes Jamaica the 160th largest nation on earth, when it comes to geographical area.
For every square mile of Jamaican territory, however, there is an average of 263 people, making it the 51st most densely populated country in the world.
39% of Jamaica's residents live in parish capitals, according to the 2011 census, and the population of the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) and all parish capitals was 1.04 million, which is a 5% increase since 2001. KMA alone has 88% of the parishes of St. Andrew and Kingston.
Age Breakdown and Life Expectancy
The CIA World Factbook has also provided data on age breakdowns and life expectancy. As far as age breakdowns were concerned in 2011, it was reported that 30.1% of the country’s people were aged between 0 and 14. In addition, 62.3% were between 15 and 64 years of age while 7.6% of the population of Jamaica were aged 65 and over in 2011.
In 2018, these numbers have changed little, with 27.2% between the age of 0 and 14, 20.8% between 15 and 24 years of age, and 13.85% of the population are aged older than 55. The median age is now at 26 years of age.
Life expectancy figures date from 2013 and at the time it was reported that the average across Jamaica stood at 74.4 years. This could be further divided between men at 71.8 years and women at 77.2 years. The 2018 updated figures reflect a slight drop to 73.7 years of age for total life expectancy by the World Factbook, with a division among the sexes of 72.1 years for males and 75.4 years for females.
According to the 2001 census, Jamaica's population is overwhelmingly of African descent, and the most common ethnic groups among Africans taken to Jamaica for slavery during the 17th century were the Akan (or Coromantee) from present-day Ghana and the Igbo people from present-day Nigeria.
The second-largest racial group is multiracial Jamaicans, many of whom have ancestors from Ireland. Still, most mixed-race people in the country self-report as just "Jamaican."
Jamaicans of African descent represent 76.3% of the population, followed by 15.1% Afro-European, 3.4% East Indian and Afro-East Indian, 3.2% Caucasian, 1.2% Chinese and 0.8% other.
The religions in Jamaica are quite varied, with the population reporting religious affiliations at Protestant (includes numerous paths) with 64.8%, Roman Catholic 2.2%, Jehovah's Witness 1.9%, Rastafarian 1.1%, other 6.5%, and no religion at 21.3% of the population.
Largest Cities in Jamaica
The largest city in Jamaica is Kingston, the capital city. Kingston has a population of 937,700, according to 2011 estimates. The Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) and all parish capitals had a population of 1.041 million according to the census and, outside the KMA, the largest capital towns are Spanish Town in St Catherine (147,000) and Montego Bay (110,000). Officially, the largest cities in Jamaica are:
- Kingston (Kingston Parish): 937,000
- Portmore (Saint Catherine): 182,000
- Spanish Town (Saint Catherine): 147,000
- Montego Bay (Saint James): 110,000
Jamaica Population Growth
Jamaica's population growth has been fairly unstable over the last 50 years with a lot of ups and downs, including a very steep drop from 1980 to 1990. Over the past 15 years, Jamaica's population growth has slowed dramatically.
Jamaica is currently seeing a decline in the 0-14 age group with an increase in the working age and retired population, the fastest growing segment, which is typical for developing countries. According to the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the country is now on track to stabilizing its growth to stay in line with United Nations recommendations.
Components of Population Change
|One birth every 11 minutes|
|One death every 26 minutes|
|One net migrant every 28 minutes|
|Net gain of one person every 63 minutes|
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