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This week, I’m revisiting my articles on Jamaica from August 10 on ‘Jamaica’s achievements … a mirage?’ and August 17, which posed the questions ‘60 years on: what actual progress has Jamaica made? How far are we from 1962?’.

Since then, I’ve undertaken further analysis utilizing United Nations human improvement indicators, in an extra bid to reply my very own questions. What I discovered is that whereas there was progress, principally in social indicators, corresponding to well being, schooling, and housing, Jamaica’s improvement has not progressed so far as anticipated.

In 2021/22, the Jamaican inhabitants is 59 per cent (1,200,000 folks) greater than it was in 1962. The Statistical Institute’s census will verify the present inhabitants measurement. Life expectancy is now 75 years, 10 years greater than in 1962, and little one mortality is 11/1,000 as in opposition to 48/1,000 in 1962. These are optimistic developments, though our primary healthcare amenities had been constructed within the colonial interval.

In 1962, it was recognised that schooling performed a essential position in improvement, however entry to elementary and secondary faculties was insufficient. Tertiary schooling was restricted. The literacy fee was then about 60 per cent. In 2021, it improved to 88 per cent, with larger attendance and rather more secondary and tertiary establishments. But, many kids are leaving secondary faculties with out required (STATIN information and Patterson Report).

The housing inventory was rising within the 1960s and continued, however there stays the necessity for inexpensive housing.

The unemployment fee in 1962 was 14 per cent and, for 2021, about 10 per cent. Emigration, the supply of remittances, has been important with 28,000 folks going primarily to Britain in 1962 and 18, 000 in 2021, most going to the USA.

Relating to gender, in 1962, fewer ladies had been within the formal workforce. Within the civil service, ladies weren’t lengthy admitted to administrative grades and the barrier to employment of married ladies was being lifted. In 2021, tables have turned and the civil service was dominated by ladies, over 65 per cent, and Jamaica has one of many world’s highest ranges of girls in managerial positions. Gender stability now a difficulty.

Safety is a serious drawback. In 1962, the murder fee was Four-7/100,000, whereas in 2021, it is likely one of the highest on this planet at 50/100,000. Whereas there was concern concerning the crime fee in 1962, right now it’s a disaster which contributes to stymieing improvement.

After all, the 21st century is the digital age, solely imagined in 1962.


Jamaica’s foreign money in 1962 was the British pound – pound, shillings, and pence (£ s. d.). The foreign money went to decimal in 1969 (Jamaican and cents). The Jamaican greenback was then sturdy, J$1 = US$zero.77. The Jamaican foreign money is now drastically devalued (£1 = J$178 & US$ 1 = J$150).

Figures used listed below are in US and are obtained from the World Financial institution web site and different sources. It’s evident to me from my calculations of estimated adjusted gross home product (GDP), wages, and costs that the 1962 working inhabitants had stronger buying energy than many employed right now.

The GDP, in 1962, was US$778 million, which adjusted for inflation is an estimated US$7 billion, with the per capita earnings being US$464, adjusted for inflation is US$Four,176. A shock is that in 2021, Jamaica’s GDP is given as US$13.64 billion and the per capita is US$Four,587, which is simply above the 1962 worth. From 1950-1970, Jamaica’s development fee averaged seven per cent.

In 1962, it was truly 2.Four per cent. From 1972 to 2021, Jamaica’s development fee averaged nearly one per cent with development stagnating. In 2021, it was Four.6 per cent as Jamaica recovered from a 10 per cent decline in 2020 because of the COVID pandemic. The exterior, inside and pure shocks (oil crises, recessions, hurricanes, floods, droughts, and monetary collapse) are taken into consideration.

In spending energy, in 1962, £1, adjusted for inflation, can be J$three, 204. A patty, then price about 9 pence on the larger worth. £1 might then purchase two dozen patties with change. In 2021, a patty price J$220 and the Jamaican equal of a pound (J$three,202) would have purchased about one dozen patties.

I’m knowledgeable that an appointed junior stenographer/typist within the civil service in 1962 was incomes £336 every year, £28 per thirty days, which adjusted for inflation is J$90,000 p.m. in 2021. A junior secretary (SS2) in 2021, on the high of the size (J$781,231-J$928,638 p.a.), is incomes J$77,387 per thirty days. A skilled instructor’s fundamental entry pay in 1962 was £420 p.a., adjusted can be J$112,140 p.m. In 2021, a skilled instructor was incomes J$108,000 p.m.


In worldwide commerce, in 1962, Jamaica was exporting bauxite as a serious world producer, conventional agricultural commodities, and increasing the vacationer business. Exports of products and providers had been 33 per cent of GDP and imports 35 per cent of GDP. In 2021, the combo of Jamaica’s exports has modified, bauxite/alumina and conventional agricultural commodities are much less necessary, and non-traditional exports have elevated. Providers exports, tourism and enterprise course of outsourcing (BPOs), are contributing extra to exports.

In 2021, exports of products and providers had been 28 per cent of GDP and imports escalated to 47 per cent of GDP. The international change credit score from exports is much less and the debit from imports is rising.

By way of exterior debt, in 1962, it was probably lower than 70 per cent of GDP. In 2021, it was about 92 per cent of GDP. Jamaica’s debilitating debt drawback began within the 1970s rising to 136 per cent of GDP in 2010. Financing gaps are coated by loans. The federal government now goals to cut back the debt to GDP to 60 per cent by 2027/28.

So, in actual phrases, Jamaica has not progressed removed from 1962 in its improvement targets and improvement is a mirage. With the Planning Institute of Jamaica indicating that many targets of Imaginative and prescient 2030 are excellent, this must be a grave concern for all of us in these occasions.

Elizabeth Morgan is a specialist in worldwide commerce coverage and worldwide politics. E-mail suggestions to columns@gleanerjm.com

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