Caribbean Countries

Caribbean countries map.
  • The Caribbean is composed of 13 independent countries and 15 dependencies.
  • The population of the Caribbean includes people of indigenous, African, and European descent.
  • The population of the Caribbean is close to 44 million.
  • Languages spoken in the Caribbean include English, French, Dutch, Spanish, and dialects of Creole, which blends elements of European and African languages.

The Caribbean is more than just a popular tourist destination. It is a region rich in culture and history. Many different peoples, including indigenous groups, Europeans, and Africans have helped to shape the cultural mosaic that is the Caribbean. 

Contents:

The 13 Caribbean Countries

The Caribbean contains 13 independent countries and several territories/dependencies that are part of other countries. Almost 44 million people live in the region, known for its crystal blue waters, sandy beaches, and warm, tropical climate, all of which attract throngs of tourists each year.

Antigua And Barbuda

National flag of Antigua and Barbuda
National flag of Antigua and Barbuda.
  • Area: 4432
  • Population: 97,120
  • Capital: St. John's

Antigua (pronounced An-tee’ga) and Barbuda is a country in the middle of the Leeward Islands, which is part of the Caribbean island group known as the Lesser Antilles, located in the eastern Caribbean. As its name implies, Antigua and Barbuda is composed mainly of two islands bearing the same names. Antigua is the largest of the islands, comprising 108 sq. miles, while Barbuda is approximately 68 sq. miles. The population of Antigua and Barbuda is about 98,000. English is the official language of the country. Agriculture was once the main economic activity in Antigua and Barbuda, especially the cultivation of sugarcane. Today, however, tourism is the mainstay of the economy. 

The Bahamas

National flag of The Bahamas
National flag of The Bahamas
  • Area: 13,880 km2
  • Population: 389,480
  • Capital: Nassau

In 1492, Christopher Columbus made his first landfall in the so-called New World on an island he called San Salvador, which is now one of the many islands of the Bahamas. The Bahamas is technically not a Caribbean country as it is located in the Lucayan Archipelago, which is in the Atlantic Ocean, though it is still generally considered to be part of the Caribbean community. The country consists of more than 700 tropical islands and 2,400 mostly uninhabited cays. The land area of the Bahamas comprises a total of 13,943 sq. km. The Bahamas is home to about 393 thousand inhabitants. The Bahamians are mostly of African descent. English is the country’s official language. The country’s economy is now largely powered by the tourism and financial services.

Barbados

National flag of Barbados
National flag of Barbados
  • Area: 430 km2
  • Population: 287,020
  • Capital: Bridgetown

The island country of Barbados is located in the eastern Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles. The island is just 431 sq. km in area. The population of Barbados is approximately 287 thousand. About 90% of the people on the island are of Afro-Caribbean descent or mixed descent. English is the official language of Barbados, though many people on the island speak a local variant called Bajan in informal settings. Tourism and offshore banking are the main economic activities in Barbados. 

Cuba

National flag of Cuba
National flag of Cuba
  • Area: 110,860 km2
  • Population: 11,333,480
  • Capital: Havana

Cuba is the largest country in the Caribbean, with a land area encompassing 106,440 sq. km. It is one of the islands of the Greater Antilles, located in the northern Caribbean. The U.S. state of Florida is just 103 miles away from Cuba. The population of Cuba is approximately 11.3 million, making it the second-most populous country in the Caribbean, after Haiti. The Cuban people are very multiethnic, though there is disagreement on where much of the population is descended from. In 2014, an autosomal study of the Cuban people was done, and found that 72% of the population was of European descent, 20% of African descent, and 8% of indigenous descent. Spanish is Cuba’s official language. Cuba is one of the last countries in the world that is still ruled by a communist regime.

Dominica

National flag of Dominca
National flag of Dominca
  • Area: 751 km2
  • Population: 71,810
  • Area: Roseau

Not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, Dominica is an English-speaking island country in the Lesser Antilles. The island is just 750 sq. km in land area. Unlike other Caribbean countries, Dominica has not built major airports or cruise terminals to attract tourists, leaving the country’s natural landscape mostly untouched. The country is home to about 72 thousand people, most of whom are of African descent. Dominica is also the only island in the eastern Caribbean that has a significant population of pre-Columbian indigenous inhabitants. 

Dominican Republic

National flag of Domincan Republic
National flag of Domincan Republic
  • Area: 48,670 km2
  • Population: 10,738,960
  • Capital: Santo Domingo

The Dominican Republic is located on the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles. The country shares the island with its western neighbor, Haiti. The Dominican Republic is large compared to other Caribbean states, with a land area of 48,320 sq. km. The population of the Spanish-speaking country is about 10.8 million, most being of mixed descent. There are large numbers of immigrants from other Caribbean countries in the Dominican Republic, including about 700,000 Haitians. The economy of the Dominican Republic, formerly based on cash crops like sugarcane and tobacco, has been diversified to include significant tourism and service sectors. In fact, the Dominican Republic has been one of the most fastest-growing economies in Latin America following the 2008 financial crisis. 

Grenada

National flag of Grenada
National flag of Grenada
  • Area: 344 km2
  • Population: 112,000
  • Capital: St. George's

Grenada is composed of one large island of the same name, plus six smaller islands. It is located in the Lesser Antilles, on the south end of the Grenadines, northeast of the South American country of Venezuela. It is nicknamed the “Island of Spice”, because of it being a rich source of nutmeg and mace. The country has a land area of 344 sq. km, and boasts a population of roughly 112 thousand. About 82% of this population is of African descent. English is the country’s official language, but a number of people in the country also speak Grenadian Creole, French Patois, and Antillean Creole.

Haiti

National flag of Haiti
National flag of Haiti
  • Area: 27,750 km2
  • Population: 11,263,080
  • Capita: Port-au Prince

Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. It is the most populous country in the Caribbean, with a population of around 11.4 million. Haiti is also a very young country, as more than half of its population is under the age of 25. Most Haitians are of African or mixed descent. French is the country’s official language. Haiti has the unfortunate distinction of being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.  

Jamaica

National flag of Jamaica
National flag of Jamaica
  • Area: 10,991 km2
  • Population: 2,948,280
  • Capital: Kingston

Jamaica is an island country in the Greater Antilles. It is large compared to other Caribbean countries, having a land area of 10,991 sq. km. Most of Jamaica’s people, about 2.9 million, are of African descent. Many of them are thought to be descendants of the Igbo people of present-day Nigeria and the Akan of what is now Ghana. Jamaica’s economy is based largely on remittances from Jamaicans living abroad, tourism, and the mining of bauxite and alumina.

St. Kitts and Nevis

National flag of St. Lucia
National flag of St. Lucia
  • Area: 261 km2
  • Population: 52,830
  • Capital: Basseterre

As its name implies, this country is composed of two islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, which are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles. The country is the smallest and least populous in North America, with a land area of just 260 sq. km, and a population of around 53 thousand. Three quarters of people in St. Kitts and Nevis are the descendants of slaves brought by Europeans from West Africa. The unity of the country is tenuous as some seek to divide the federation of the two islands into two separate states.

St. Lucia

National flag of St. Lucia
National flag of St. Lucia
  • Area: 616 km2
  • Population: 182,790
  • Capital: Castries

St. Lucia is an island country in the Lesser Antilles formed by volcanic activity. The country has a land area of 610 sq. km. Its population is approximately 183 thousand. Most St. Lucians are of African or mixed Afro-European descent. English is the country’s official language, though French Creole is also widely spoken. Castries, one of the cities in St. Lucia, is a major tourist destination. St. Lucia also has the distinction of having the highest ratio of Nobel Laureates to its total population of any independent country.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

National flag of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
National flag of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Area: 389 km2
  • Population: 110,590
  • Capital: Kingstown

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is located in the Lesser Antilles, close to where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. The country consists of the largest island, St. Vincent, and the northern two-thirds of the Grenadines. The island’s population, approximately 111,000, consists mostly of descendants of African slaves, though there is also a sizeable portion of people who are of mixed descent. Some are the descendants of indigenous Caribbean people and African slaves who intermarried and became known as Black Caribs. 

Trinidad and Tobago

National flag of Trinidad and Tobago
National flag of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Area: 5,128 km2
  • Population: 1,394,970
  • Capital: Port of Spain

Trinidad and Tobago is located off the coast of the South American country of Venezuela. It is composed mainly of two islands of the same name, with Trinidad being the larger and more populous of the two. In fact, 96% of the country’s estimated 1.4 million people live on the island of Trinidad. Most of these people are of either African or Indian descent, and tensions between these two groups are not uncommon. English is the official language.

Caribbean Territories

The other territories that are considered part of the Caribbean are all dependencies of certain countries. The largest dependency is Puerto Rico, which is a U.S. territory. The U.S. also has sovereignty over some of the Virgin Islands, as does the UK. The UK has several other dependencies in the Caribbean, including the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Anguilla, and the least populous territory in the Caribbean, Monserrat. France also has several territories in the Caribbean. These include its most populous, Martinique, as well as Guadeloupe, St. Bart’s, and Saint Martin. The Netherlands controls the remainder of the Caribbean’s dependencies, which include Curacao, Aruba, Sint Maarten, and the Caribbean Netherlands.

Caribbean Countries By Population

  1. Cuba - 11,333,480
  2. Haiti - 11,263,080
  3. Dominican Republic - 10,738,960
  4. Jamaica - 2,948,280
  5. Trinidad and Tobago - 1,394,970
  6. The Bahamas - 389,480
  7. Barbados - 287,020
  8. St. Lucia - 182,790
  9. Grenada - 112,000
  10. St. Vincent and the Grenadines - 110,590
  11. Antigua and Barbuda - 97,120
  12. Dominica - 71,810
  13. St. Kitts and Nevis - 52,830

With a population of 11,333,480, Cuba ranks number one in terms of population in the Caribbean. Haiti and the Dominican Republic follow with populations of 11,263,080 and 10,738,960 respectively. St. Kitts and Nevis has the lowest population in the region of 52,830.

The future population trends for the Caribbean points to the smallest population growth for a developing region by 2050, less than Asia and Africa. This estimate could be because the region as a whole has rapidly improved the average life expectancy at birth and the total fertility rate has gone down by more than half in the last sixty or so years. So while the total population is still expected to grow in the future, the growth rate will be relatively lower to the rising average age of the population and a decreased number of births in the future.

Caribbean Economy

Natural resources, tourism, and agriculture form the backbone of the Caribbean economy. The region has a rich mineral wealth and mining is a major economic activity. Trinidad is known for its vast reserves of oil and natural gas. Forestry, fisheries, and agriculture also contribute significantly to the GDP. The tropical island setting also attracts thousands of tourists to the Caribbean countries. When ranked by their GDP per capita, The Bahamas is the richest nation in the region with a GDP per capita of USD 34,863.7. St. Kitts and Nevis and Barbados rank 2nd and 3rd with GDP per capita's of USD 19,935.0 and USD 18,148.2, respectively. Haiti has the lowest GDP per capita of USD 1,272.5.

Caribbean Countries

RankCountryPopulationPopulation Density (/km2)GDP per capita
1Antigua And Barbuda97,120218.83 17,112.8
2The Bahamas389,48038.5334,863.7
3Barbados287,020666.6118,148.2
4Cuba11,333,480109.238,821.8
5Dominica71,81095.58,110.6
6Dominican Republic10,738,960219.988,282.1
7Grenada112,000327.8110,808.7
8Haiti11,263,080403.601,272.5
9Jamaica2,948,280270.995,582.3
10St. Kitts and Nevis52,830202.0019,935.0
11St. Lucia182,790298.1811,611.4
12St. Vincent and the Grenadines110,590282.597,457.5
13Trinidad and Tobago1,394,970270.9317,398.0
Share

More in World Facts