Quick Facts

  • Formerly British Honduras
  • Gained independence from the United Kingdom on September 21, 1981
  • Location:  Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico
  • Area:  8,867 sq. miles, slightly smaller than the state of Massachusetts
  • Population:  327,719 (2012)
  • Capital and major city:  Belmopan – 20,000 +
  • Climate:  tropical, very hot and humid, rainy season (May-Nov.), dry season (Feb.-May)
  • Terrain:  flat, swampy coastal plain, low mountains in south
  • Nationality:  Belizeans
  • Ethnic groups:  Mestizo 48.7%, Creole 24.9%, Mayan 10.6%, other
  • Language:  Spanish 46%, Creole 32.9%, Mayan dialects 8.9%, English (official) 3.9%, other
  • Religions:  Roman Catholic 49.6%, Protestant 25.5%, other
  • Literacy:  76.9% age 15 and over can read and write
  • Economy:  Tourism is the number one foreign exchange earner in this small economy, followed by exports of marine products, citrus, cane sugar, bananas and garments.  Oil discovered in 2006 bolstered the growth of the economy but it continues to have weak economic growth and a large public debt burden.  Four out of ten people live in poverty.
  • Current weather conditions –  www.weather.com
  • Tips for Travel in country – www.travel.state.gov
  • Currency exchange rates –  www.xe.com

 

 

Government in Power

  • Belize has a parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
  • Chief of State:  Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor General Sir Colville Young Sr. – appointed by the Monarchy
  • Head of Government:  Prime Minister Dean Oliver Barrow – leader of the majority party or majority party coalition and appointed by the Governor General

Healthcare Statistics

  • Life expectancy:  68.28 years
  • Health expenditures:  3.3% of GDP
  • Physicians density:  0.828 physicians/1,000 population
  • Hospital bed density:  1.1 beds/1,000 population
  • HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 2.3%
  • Major infectious diseases – degree of risk – high
  • Food or waterborne diseases:  bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A and typhoid fever
  • Vectorborne diseases:  dengue fever and malaria
  • Water contact diseases:  leptospirosis
  • Children under the age of 5 underweight:  4.9%
  • Infectious disease updates:  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm

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