2,825,928 inhabitants (July 2009) Density: 252 inhabitants per sq. km. According to the 2001 census, Jamaica's population mainly consists of people of African descent (referring to those who have origins mainly from Africa), comprising 91.2% of the demographics.
Multiracial Jamaicans make up 6.2% of the population, and "other or unknown" Jamaicans (including Indian, Chinese, Lebanese, Syrian, English, Scottish, Irish, and German Jamaicans) make up 2.6% of the population.
The Ministry of Health formulated, implemented, and administered the health policies of the government. The ministry was directly responsible for public hospitals, health centers, dispensaries, family planning, and public health services. In the early 1980s the Ministry of Health provided inpatient and outpatient services in 22 general hospitals, 7 specialized hospitals (1 each for maternity, pediatrics, tuberculosis and cardiothoracic surgery, physical rehabilitation, mental disorders, terminal care, and leprosy), a teaching hospital at the UWI, and more than 150 health centers, clinics, and dispensaries. It was difficult to estimate the exact number of health facilities during the mid-1980s, as the ministry was being reorganized.
Various professional and regulatory organizations on the island maintained standards, licensed physicians, and educated the public. These included the Medical Council of Jamaica, the Medical Association of Jamaica, the Dental Health Council, the Nursing Council, the Nurses Association of Jamaica, the Jamaican Association for Mental Health, the Jamaican Red Cross Society, and the Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica.
Since 1966, the government of Jamaica has offered a wideranging , contributory social security service at the national level called the National Insurance Scheme, operated by the Ministry of Social Security. Jamaica Blue Cross, an international, voluntary, nonprofit organization, offered a prepayment health plan and also served to set standards and control costs. Medical research was conducted at the central bacteriology laboratory in Kingston and at the UWI hospital. The Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute, at the UWI, also served regional research purposes. A national blood bank was located in Kingston.
Education in Jamaica is based primarily on the British model. Presently the following categories of schools exist:
- Early childhood – Basic, Infant and privately operated pre-school. Age cohort – 1 – 5 years.
- Primary – Publicly and privately owned (Privately owned being called Preparatory Schools). Ages 5 – 12 years.
- Secondary – Publicly and privately owned. Ages 12 – 18 years. The high schools in Jamaica may be either single-sex or co-educational institutions, and many schools follow the traditional English grammar school model used throughout the British West Indies.
- Tertiary - Community Colleges, Teachers’ Colleges with The Mico Teachers' College(now The MICO University College) being the oldest founded in 1836,The Shortwood Teachers' College (which was once an all female teacher training institution), Vocational Training Centres, Colleges and Universities - Publicly and privately owned.There are five local universities namely: The University of the West Indies (Mona Campus); the University of Technology, Jamaica formerly The College of Art Science and Technology (CAST); the Northern Caribbean University formerly West Indies College; the University College of The Caribbean and the International University of the Caribbean. Additionally, there are many community and teacher training colleges.
Education is free from the early childhood to secondary levels. There are also opportunities for those who cannot afford further education in the vocational arena through the Human Employment and Resource Training-National Training Agency (HEART Trust-NTA) programme and through an extensive scholarship network for the various universities.
According to the most recent census (2001), the population's religious affiliation consists of:
- Church of God, 24 percent;
- Seventh-day Adventist, 11 percent;
- Pentecostal, 10 percent;
- Baptist, 7 percent;
- Anglican, 4 percent;
- Roman Catholic, 2 percent;
- United Church, 2 percent;
- Methodist, 2 percent;
- Jehovah's Witnesses, 2 percent;
- Moravian, 1 percent;
- Brethren, 1 percent;
- unstated, 3 percent; and
- "other," 10 percent.
The category "other" includes 24,020 Rastafarians, an estimated 5,000 Muslims, 1,453 Hindus, approximately 350 Jews, and 279 Baha'is. The census reported that 21 percent claimed no religious affiliation.