Belize Central America Country Facts
Belize until 1973 was known as British Honduras, became an independent Nation in the Commonwealth in 1981 is also a member of the Caribbean Community “CARICOM” and the Sistema de Intergracion Centro Americana “SICA”, has over 8,867 square miles of national territory with under 300,000 people and has one of the lowest population densities in the world with a growth rate of almost 4%.
Although English is the official language spoken in Belize, most of the population also speaks Spanish.
Religion is divided from Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 27%, with Pentecostal, Anglican, Seventh-Day Adventist, Mennonite, Methodist, and Jehovah's Witnesses, with others totaling 15%.
Turtle at the Belize Barrier Reef
Belize is considered a parliamentary democracy and has a tropical climate that is very hot and humid with a rainy season that lasts 6 months per year and is located in a hurricane zone that produces frequent coastal flooding.
Belize has one of the highest unemployment rates throughout Central America that is just under 10% with 33% of its population living at poverty level.
Although only a small fraction of the land is cultivated, agriculture provides about 75% of Belize's exports, the chief of which are fish products, citrus, sugar, and bananas. Clothing and timber are also important products and export items, and there is some petroleum, which began being exported in 2006. Tourism is the main source of foreign exchange. Machinery, manufactured goods, fuel, chemicals, and food are imported. The United States, Great Britain, and Mexico are the main trading partners. 20% of its territory is under current use with over 60% containing forested land while almost 37% of its land is under protective status.
With a literacy rate of over 80%, the population of Belize consists of 84% Christian that are primarily of Mayan descent and has a wide ethnic range consisting of Mestizo, Creole, East Indian, Mennonite, Garifuna and Chinese.
Belize has many Mayan Temples and is better known for having the longest living Barrier Reef in the Western hemisphere which is only second throughout the world next to Australia.
Belize has a relatively young and growing population, with one of the highest birth rates in the world that is around 3.5%.
With 8,867 square miles or 2,960 km² of territory and only 297,651 people, the population density is the lowest in the Central American region and one of the lowest in the world.
Agriculture provides about 75% of Belize’s exports, in which the main products are fish products, citrus, sugar, and bananas. Clothing and timber are also exported with long with Tourism being the main source of foreign exchange. Machinery, manufactured goods, fuel, chemicals, and food are imported with the United States, Great Britain, and Mexico being their main trading partners.
Bordered by Mexico's Yucatan to the North, Guatemala and the Caribbean Sea, Belize is the only Central American country the doesn’t have a Pacific coast. Belize offers low cost-of-living, good health care which is about 33% the cost of similar care in the United States, a stable economy, democratic government, friendly people and strong tax incentives. On the downside, Belize along with frequent weather disasters from mainly tropical depressions and Hurricanes and because much of its land in low lying areas, flooding is common during their rainy season which lasts 6 months per year.
Belize is also a major point for the drop shipment of cocaine and is a small producer of Marijuana for international distribution along with money laundering activities.
Environmental issues include deforestation with water pollution due to sewage, agricultural and industrial concerns are causing environmental damage.
Climate in Belize
The climate of Belize is tropical which is generally very hot and humid with a rainy season that runs from May to November and a dry season that generally runs from February to May. Frequent and devastating Hurricanes from June through November produce coastal flooding, especially in the South.