Also See: Major Cities in Jamaica
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 2.7 million in 2013. That's pretty impressive for an island nation with just 10,990 square kilometers (4,243 square miles) of area. This means that Jamaica is now the world's 137th most populous country.
To be precise, the latest official estimate – provided in 2011 by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica – is 2,706,500.
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 Population 2013
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 2012 estimate just one year later showed 2.889 million, while the estimated 2013 population is now 2,790,427.
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 here is just 10,991 square kilometres (4,244 square miles) and this makes Jamaica the 166th largest nation on earth, when it comes to geographical area.
For every square mile of Jamaican territory however, there is an average of 252 people here which converts to 656 per square mile and makes it the 49th 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 (link above) have also provided data on age breakdowns and life expectancy. As far as age breakdowns were concerned, 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.
Life expectancy figures date from 2006 and at the time it was reported that the average across Jamaica stood at 73.24 years. This could be further divided between men at 71.54 years and women at 75.03 years.
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.
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 with populations as of 2011 are:
- Kingston (Kingston Parish): 937,000
- Portmore (Saint Catherine): 182,000
- Spanish Town (Saint Catherine): 147,000
- Montego Bay (Saint James): 110,000
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, and it's expected it will reach a peak of 2.88 million by 2040, and then start to decline. Considering the population now stands at 2.79 million, this peak figure isn't far off, but it will take a while to reach.
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.