The Population of Jamaica
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Population of Jamaica by Coleen Clarke

Jamaica’s population stood at an estimated 2,804,332 as at July 2008, the most populated country in the Caribbean.

The breakdown was as follows:

  • 0-14 Years – 32%
    Male 455,871
    Female 440,928
  • 15-64 Years – 60.6%
    Male 837,241
    Female 861,906
  • 65 years and over- 7.4%
    Male 93,415
    Female 14,971

Births

About 80% of babies born in Jamaica are born to teenage mothers. There is an estimated 20.04 births per 1,000 and the fertility rate is an estimated 2.3 children born per woman. In addition, the population growth rate is an estimated 0.779%.

Deaths

Majority of deaths in Jamaica are as a result of crime and violence and the victims are mainly young males. Over 1500 persons died as a result of crime and violence in 2007.

An estimated 900 persons died from HIV/ AIDS in 2003. The death rate is an estimated 6.37 deaths per 1,000 and the infant mortality rate is 15.57 deaths per 1,000 live births. The life expectancy rate is an estimated 71.88 years for males and 75.38 years for females.

Ethnic Groups

The Jamaican population consists of three main ethnic groups – Black, East Indian, and White. The other ethic groups include Chinese, Lebanese and Syrians.

Blacks account for 90% of the population, the White 0.4%, the East Indian – 1.5% and 7.3 % of the population is multiracial.

Despite the population of Jamaica being dominantly black, the people are bonded by the country’s motto "Out of many, one people".

The Chinese

The Chinese came to Jamaica in the 1800s as indentured labourers shortly after the abolition of slavery in 1834 to suffice the labour market.

Along with their labour skills, the Chinese took with them their entrepreneurial skills as well as their kitchen craft. The patties we all love today were inspired by the Chinese.

Today, you can find grocery shops, haberdasheries or supermarkets owned by a Chinese all around the island. Additionally, the chain restaurants, Juici Patties and Tastee Patties are owned by Chinese or Chinese descendants.

The East Indians

The East Indians also came to Jamaica as indentured labourers. Today the East Indians are operators of boutiques, duty free shops and jewelry stores mainly in the resort towns and cities (Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios and Kingston).

The Whites

The original whites or Caucasians in Jamaica were the owners and masters of the slaves in Jamaica, and most were originally from Europe.

After the abolition of slavery, many of them remained and continued running their sugar estates. One such family was the Lawsons, who owned and operated the Sugar Estate in Hampden, Trelawny.

The Mulattoes

These groups of people are a mixed, usually between black and white. Many of the offspring were produced during slavery, as the 'Bakra' (master) would sleep with the young slave women.

A prominent offspring of this group was one of our national heroes – George William Gordon, whose mother was a slave. Bob Marley was one of those as well.

We Jamaicans are said to be among the warmest and friendliest people in the world. Nicknamed the sprint factory of the Caribbean, Jamaica has been consistently producing world class athletes for over 40 years.

Bert Cameron, Donald Quarrie, George Rhoden, Herbert McKenley, Arthur Wint, Merlene Ottey, Veronica Campbell, Asafa Powell and Usain Bolt are just a few of the names that have brought Jamaica fame. We are a strong people, brilliant, athletic, resourceful and resilient.
Indeed, 'wi likkle but wi tallawah'.

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