Despite weak economic growth over a longer
period, the social indicators are relatively good.
Jamaica invested early in building a welfare system for
Already in 1938 the minimum wage was introduced and
in 1966 a social insurance system was established with
old-age pensions, accident insurance and other benefits.
The economic crisis in the 1990s eroded the system,
but later poverty decreased. Every tenth Jamaican was
considered poor in 2007, the lowest figure to date. The
international financial crisis that ensued subsequently
doubled the proportion of poor people in a few years and
it has remained high.
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in Jamaica, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Since 2002, a system of cash grants has been
co-financed by the World Bank. It is aimed at the poor
and includes, among others, schoolchildren (see
Education), elderly people without a pension, persons
with disabilities, pregnant and new mothers.
One of the biggest social problems is the great
crime, not least in the capital Kingston (see Current
policy). The link between crime and drugs is clear. Drug
smuggling is widespread and drug abuse is widespread.
Violence and discrimination against women and girls
is a serious problem. Laws against female violence are
not widely applied. Women are discriminated against in
working life and earn less than men. Only 11 out of 63
members of the lower house were women after the 2016
Prostitution is prohibited by law, but it is still
common among women and children, especially in tourist
resorts. Trafficking in women and children for sexual
exploitation also occurs. Sexual harassment is not
illegal, both women and girls are often exposed.
Children are subjected to both sexual and other physical
abuse, and the number of police reports has increased.
Sexual acts between men are explicitly prohibited by
a law of the 19th century and can give up to ten years
in prison. Homophobia is widespread in society and LGBTQ
people are subjected to extensive discrimination and
harassment. A milestone on the road to increased
acceptance was a pride parade held in Kingston 2015.
Abortion is only allowed if a woman's life is in
danger or if she risks health problems. Illegal
abortions are common and contribute to high maternal
The health care is mainly state. Since 2008, all
state care has been free of charge, except at a
university hospital. Medicines are subsidized by the
state, but there is a constant shortage of medicines and
healthcare is not always enough.
FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
12 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected
1.9 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.3 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men
0.5 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
92.9 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
87.3 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
5.9 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
US $ 296 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
18 percent (2018)