Europe :: Guernsey (British crown dependency)

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Guernsey and the other Channel Islands represent the last remnants of the medieval Dukedom of Normandy, which held sway in both France and England. The islands were the only British soil occupied by German troops in World War II. Guernsey is a British crown dependency but is not part of the UK or of the European Union. However, the UK Government is constitutionally responsible for its defense and international representation.


Western Europe, islands in the English Channel, northwest of France

Geographic coordinates:
49 28 N, 2 35 W

Map references:

Total: 78 sq km
Country comparison to the world: 228
Land: 78 sq km
Water: 0 sq km
note: includes Alderney, Guernsey, Herm, Sark, and some other smaller islands

Area - comparative:
about one-half the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:
0 km

50 km

Maritime claims:
Territorial sea: 3 nm
Exclusive fishing zone: 12 nm

temperate with mild winters and cool summers; about 50% of days are overcast

mostly level with low hills in southwest

Elevation extremes:
Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest point: unnamed elevation on Sark 114 m

Natural resources:

Land use:
Arable land: NA
Permanent crops: NA
Other: NA

Irrigated land:

Natural hazards:

Environment - current issues:

Geography - note:
large, deepwater harbor at Saint Peter Port

People and Society

Noun: Channel Islander(s)
Adjective: Channel Islander

Ethnic groups:
British and Norman-French descent with small percentages from other European countries

English, French, Norman-French dialect spoken in country districts

Protestant (Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, Congregational, Methodist), Roman Catholic

65,849 (July 2014 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 205

Age structure:
0-14 years: 14.6% (male 4,967/female 4,629)
15-24 years: 11.9% (male 3,993/female 3,854)
25-54 years: 42.2% (male 13,991/female 13,800)
55-64 years: 12.9% (male 4,229/female 4,249)
65 years and over: 17.9% (male 5,469/female 6,668) (2014 est.)
Population pyramid:

Dependency ratios:
Total dependency ratio: 46.4 %
Youth dependency ratio: 21.7 %
Elderly dependency ratio: 24.7 %
Potential support ratio: 4
note: data represents the Channel Islands (2014 est.)

Median age:
Total: 43.1 years
Male: 41.9 years
Female: 44.2 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.36% (2014 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 164

Birth rate:
9.89 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 196

Death rate:
8.69 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 73

Net migration rate:
2.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 41

Urban population: 31.2% of total population (2011)
Rate of urbanization: 0.63% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Sex ratio:
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
Total: 3.47 deaths/1,000 live births
Country comparison to the world: 208
Male: 3.77 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 3.15 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
Total population: 82.39 years
Country comparison to the world: 9
Male: 79.72 years
Female: 85.2 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.55 children born/woman (2014 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 186

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

HIV/AIDS - deaths:



Country name:
Conventional long form: Bailiwick of Guernsey
Conventional short form: Guernsey

Dependency status:
British crown dependency

Government type:
parliamentary democracy

Name: Saint Peter Port
Geographic coordinates: 49 27 N, 2 32 W
Time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions:
none (British crown dependency); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 10 parishes: Castel, Forest, Saint Andrew, Saint Martin, Saint Peter Port, Saint Pierre du Bois, Saint Sampson, Saint Saviour, Torteval, Vale

none (British crown dependency)

National holiday:
Liberation Day, 9 May (1945)

unwritten; includes royal charters, statutes, and common law and practice

Legal system:
customary legal system based on Norman customary law, and includes elements of the French Civil Code and English common law

16 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
Chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Lieutenant Governor Air Marshall Peter WALKER (since 15 April 2011)
Head of government: Chief Minister Jonathan LE TOCQ (since 12 March 2014); Bailiff Richard COLLAS (since 23 March 2012) note - Chief Minister Peter HARWOOD resigned 25 February 2014
Cabinet: Policy Council elected by the States of Deliberation
Elections: the monarchy is hereditary; lieutenant governor and bailiff appointed by the monarch; chief minister elected by States of Deliberation
Election results: Peter HARWOOD elected chief minister, percent of vote NA

Legislative branch:
unicameral States of Deliberation (45 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms; note - there are also 10 Douzaine representatives - one from each parish, 2 representatives from Alderney and the appointed attorney general and soliciter general); note - Alderney and Sark have parliaments
Elections: last held on 18 April 2012 (next to be held in 2016)
Election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - all independents

Judicial branch:
Highest court(s): Guernsey Court of Appeal (consists of the Bailiff of Guernsey, who is the ex-officio president of the Guernsey Court of Appeal, and at least 12 judges); Royal Court (organized into 3 divisions - Full Court sits with 1 judge and 7 to 12 jurats acting as judges of fact, Ordinary Court sits with 1 judge and normally 3 jurats, and Matrimonial Causes Division sits with a 1 judge and 4 jurats); note - appeals beyond Guernsey courts are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
Judge selection and term of office: Royal Court Balliff, Deputy Balliff and Court of Appeal justices appointed by the British Crown and hold office at Her Majesty's pleasure; jurats elected by the States of Election, a body chaired by the Balliff and a number of jurats
Subordinate courts: Court of Alderney; Court of the Seneschal of Sark; Magistrate's Court (includes Juvenile Court); Contracts Court; Ecclesiastical Court; Court of Chief Pleas

Political parties and leaders:
none; all independents

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Stop Traffic Endangering Pedestrian Safety or STEPS
No More Masts [Colin FALLAIZE]

International organization participation:

Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (British crown dependency)

Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (British crown dependency)

National symbol(s):
Guernsey cow; donkey

National anthem:
Name: "Sarnia Cherie" (Guernsey Dear)
Lyrics/music: George DEIGHTON/Domencio SANTANGELO
note: adopted 1911; serves as a local anthem; as a British crown dependency, "God Save the Queen" remains official (see United Kingdom)


Economy - overview:
Financial services - banking, fund management, insurance - account for about 23% of employment and about 55% of total income in this tiny, prosperous Channel Island economy. Tourism, manufacturing, and horticulture, mainly tomatoes and cut flowers, have been declining. Financial services, construction, retail, and the public sector have been growing. Light tax and death duties make Guernsey a popular tax haven. In January 2013, Guernsey signed a tax agreement with Jersey and the Isle of Man, in order to enable the islands' authorities to end tax avoidance and evasion. The evolving economic integration of the EU nations is changing the environment under which Guernsey operates.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$2.742 billion (2005 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 185

GDP (official exchange rate):
$2.742 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
3% (2005 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 117

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$44,600 (2005)
Country comparison to the world: 16

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
Agriculture: 3%
Industry: 10%
Services: 87% (2000)

Agriculture - products:
tomatoes, greenhouse flowers, sweet peppers, eggplant, fruit; Guernsey cattle

tourism, banking

Industrial production growth rate:

Labor force:
31,470 (March 2006)
Country comparison to the world: 204

Unemployment rate:
0.9% (March 2006 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 4

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Lowest 10%: NA%
Highest 10%: NA%

Revenues: $563.6 million
Expenditures: $530.9 million (2005)

Taxes and other revenues:
20.6% of GDP (2005)
Country comparison to the world: 158

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
1.2% of GDP (2005)
Country comparison to the world: 25

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.4% (June 2006)
Country comparison to the world: 123


Exports - commodities:
tomatoes, flowers and ferns, sweet peppers, eggplant, other vegetables


Imports - commodities:
coal, gasoline, oil, machinery and equipment

Debt - external:

Exchange rates:
Guernsey pound per US dollar
0.6307 (2014)
0.6391 (2013)
0.6472 (2010)
0.6175 (2009)
0.5302 (2008)


Telephones - main lines in use:
45,100 (2010)
Country comparison to the world: 165

Telephones - mobile cellular:
43,800 (2004)
Country comparison to the world: 203

Telephone system:
Domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular services widely available; combined fixed and mobile-cellular teledensity exceeds 100 per 100 persons
International: country code - 44; 1 submarine cable (2011)

Broadcast media:
multiple UK terrestrial TV broadcasts are received via a transmitter in Jersey with relays in Jersey, Guernsey, and Alderney; satellite packages are available; BBC Radio Guernsey and 1 other radio station operating (2009)

Internet country code:

Internet hosts:
239 (2012)
Country comparison to the world: 196

Internet users:
48,300 (2009)
Country comparison to the world: 175


2 (2013)
Country comparison to the world: 200

Airports - with paved runways:
Total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
Under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Ports and terminals:
Major seaport(s): Braye Bay, Saint Peter Port


Manpower fit for military service:
Males age 16-49: 12,493
Females age 16-49: 12,272 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
Male: 354
Female: 342 (2010 est.)

Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the UK

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:

Flag of Guernsey

Descriptive text is not available for this image

Flag description:
white with the red cross of Saint George (patron saint of England) extending to the edges of the flag and a yellow equal-armed cross of William the Conqueror superimposed on the Saint George cross; the red cross represents the old ties with England and the fact that Guernsey is a British Crown dependency; the gold cross is a replica of the one used by Duke William of Normandy at the Battle of Hastings