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.
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 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.
Jamaica Religion, Economy and Politics
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.
The economy is Jamaica is highly reliant on the services sector, largely made up of a combination of remittances, tourism and mined bauxite and alumina. The economy has been growing slowly, but consistently, yet further growth is held back by the inflated public sector, and high rates of corruption, crime, and debt. Although it is less prominent now than it has been in the past, agriculture is still an important aspect of the Jamaican economy, with sugar being by far the most common export, followed by coffee, bananas, and cocoa.
Jamaica Population History
Christopher Columbus claimed the island of Jamaica in 1494, and the Spanish began inhabiting the area 15 years later, killing much of the indigenous Arawak community due to European disease exposure. Slaves were brought in from Africa to work on sugar plantations. Jamaica was captured by the British in 1655 and became officially a British territory fifteen years later in the Treaty of Madrid. An earthquake ravaged the area and killed many in 1692.
Jamaican slaves were officially freed in 1838, however, this did not mean instant stability for these people. Freed slaves staged the Morant Bay rebellion in 1865, which was quickly and violently put down by the British, forcing the local legislature to give up all of their powers. Jamaica finally became independent within the British Commonwealth in 1962. In its brief history of independence, Jamaica has seen a consistent increase in violent crime, which it continues to struggle with today.