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Guernsey and the other Channel Islands represent the last remnants of the medieval Duchy 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. The Bailiwick of Guernsey is a self-governing British crown dependency that is not part of the United Kingdom. However, the UK Government is constitutionally responsible for its defense and international representation. The Bailiwick of Guernsey consists of the main island of Guernsey and a number of smaller islands including Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou, Brecqhou, and Lihou.



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

Geographic coordinates

49 28 N, 2 35 W

Map references



total: 78 sq km
land: 78 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Alderney, Guernsey, Herm, Sark, and some other smaller islands
country comparison to the world: 228

Area - comparative

about one-half the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km


50 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 3nm
exclusive fishing zone: 12nm


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


mostly flat with low hills in southwest


lowest point: English Channel 0 m
highest point: Le Moulin on Sark 114 m

Natural resources


Irrigated land


Natural hazards

very large tidal variation and fast currents can make local waters dangerous

Environment - current issues

coastal erosion, coastal flooding; declining biodiversity due to land abandonment and succession to scrub or woodland

Geography - note

large, deepwater harbor at Saint Peter Port

People and Society


66,697 (July 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 204


noun: Channel Islander(s)
adjective: Channel Islander

Ethnic groups

Guernsey 52%, UK and Ireland 23.7%, Portugal 2.1%, Latvia 1.5%, other 6.7%, unspecified 14.1%
note: data represent population by country of birth; the native population is of British and Norman-French descent


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


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

Age structure

0-14 years: 14.51%(male 4,994 /female 4,686)
15-24 years: 10.89%(male 3,711 /female 3,553)
25-54 years: 41.41%(male 13,958 /female 13,658)
55-64 years: 13.38%(male 4,425 /female 4,496)
65 years and over: 19.81%(male 6,038 /female 7,178) (2018 est.)
population pyramid:

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Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 47.1 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 21.6 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 25.4 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 3.9 (2015 est.)
note: data represent the Guernsey and Jersey

Median age

total: 44 years (2018 est.)
male: 42.7 years
female: 45.3 years
country comparison to the world: 14

Population growth rate

0.28% (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174

Birth rate

9.8 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194

Death rate

9 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61

Net migration rate

2.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49


urban population: 30.9% of total population(2019)
rate of urbanization: 0.46% annual rate of change(2015-20 est.)
note: data represent Guernsey and Jersey

Major urban areas - population

16,000 SAINT PETER PORT (capital) (2018)

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: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2018 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
male: 3.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.1 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 203

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 82.7 years (2018 est.)
male: 80 years
female: 85.5 years
country comparison to the world: 9

Total fertility rate

1.57 children born/woman (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Education expenditures



Country name

conventional long form: Bailiwick of Guernsey
conventional short form: Guernsey
former: Norman Isles
etymology: the name is of Old Norse origin, but the meaning of the root "Guern(s)" is uncertain; the "-ey" ending means "island"

Dependency status

British crown dependency

Government type

parliamentary democracy (States of Deliberation)


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
etymology: Saint Peter Port is the name of the town and its surrounding parish; the "port" distinguishes this parish from that of Saint Peter on the other side of the island

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
note: two additional parishes for Guernsey are sometimes listed - the parish of Saint Anne on the island of Alderney and the parish of Saint Peter on the island of Sark - but they are generally not included in the enumeration of parishes


none (British crown dependency)

National holiday

Liberation Day, 9 May (1945)


history: unwritten; includes royal charters, statutes, and common law and practice
amendments: new laws or changes to existing laws are initiated by the States of Deliberation; passage requires majority vote (2018)

Legal system

customary legal system based on Norman customary law; includes elements of the French civil code and English common law


see United Kingdom


16 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Lieutenant-Governor Vice Admiral Ian CORDER (since 14 March 2016)
head of government: Chief Minister Gavin ST PIER (since 6 May 2016); Bailiff Sir Richard COLLAS (since 23 March 2012); note - the chief minister is the president of the Policy and Resources Committee and is the de facto head of government; the Policy and Resources Committee, elected by the States of Deliberation, functions as the executive; the 5 members all have equal voting rights
cabinet: none
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; lieutenant governor and bailiff appointed by the monarch; chief minister, who is the president of the Policy and Resources Committee indirectly elected by the States of Deliberation for a 4-year term; last held on 6 May 2016 (next to be held in 2020)
election results: Gavin ST PIER (independent) elected president of the Policy and Resources Committee and chief minister

Legislative branch

description: unicameral States of Deliberation (40 seats; 38 People's Deputies and 2 representatives of the States of Alderney; members directly elected by majority vote to serve 4-year terms); note - non-voting members include the bailiff (presiding officer), attorney-general, and solicitor-general
elections: last held on 27 April 2016 (next to be held in 2020)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independent 38; composition - men 27, women 13, percent of women 32.5%

Judicial branch

highest courts: 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 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 Bailiff, Deputy Bailiff, 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 Bailiff and a number of jurats
subordinate courts: Court of Alderney; Court of the Seneschal of Sark; Magistrates' Court (includes Juvenile Court); Contracts Court; Ecclesiastical Court; Court of Chief Pleas

Political parties and leaders

none; all independents

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

none (British crown dependency)

Diplomatic representation from the US

none (British crown dependency)

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 in 1066

National symbol(s)

Guernsey cow, donkey; national colors: red, white, yellow

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" is official (see United Kingdom)


Economy - overview

Financial services accounted for about 21% of employment and about 32% of total income in 2016 in this tiny, prosperous Channel Island economy. Construction, manufacturing, and horticulture, mainly tomatoes and cut flowers, have been declining. Financial services, professional services, tourism, retail, and the public sector have been growing. Light tax and death duties make Guernsey a popular offshore financial center.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$3.465 billion (2015 est.)
$3.451 billion (2014 est.)
$3.42 billion (2013 est.)
note: data are in 2015 dollars
country comparison to the world: 184

GDP (official exchange rate)

$2.742 billion(2005 est.) (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

0.4% (2015 est.)
1.2% (2014 est.)
4.2% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 193

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$52,500 (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 3% (2000)
industry: 10% (2000)
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: 203

Unemployment rate

1.2% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA


revenues: 563.6 million (2005)
expenditures: 530.9 million (2005 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

20.6% (of GDP) (2005)
country comparison to the world: 146

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

1.2% (of GDP) (2005)
country comparison to the world: 29

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

3.4% (June 2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141



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
0.7836 (2017 est.)
0.738 (2016 est.)
0.738 (2015)
0.6542 (2014)
0.607 (2013)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2016)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 36,547
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 60 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 71,249
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 113 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197

Telephone system

general assessment: high performance global connections with quality service; connections to major cities around the world to rival and attract future investment and future needs of islanders and businesses (2018)
domestic: fixed-line 60 per 100 and mobile-cellular 113 per 100 persons (2018)
international: country code - 44; landing points for Guernsey-Jersey, HUGO, INGRID, Channel Islands -9 Liberty and UK-Channel Islands-7 submarine cable to UK and France (2019)

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

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 55,050
percent of population: 83.3% (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190

Military and Security

Military - note

defense is the responsibility of the UK


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2(registered in UK) (2015)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 11(registered in UK) (2015)


2 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 200

Airports - with paved runways

total: 2 (2019)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 1


total: 260 km (2017)
country comparison to the world: 198

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Braye Bay, Saint Peter Port

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Flag of Guernsey

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