Unemployment and poverty
The rate of unemployment in Jamaica is
17.5%. The Government does devote a
considerable part of its budget to education, and the literacy rate above the
age of 15 is 85%, however, there is little foreign investment into the economy
due to high crime rates, congested road system, and the shortage of a skilled
Within the labor force, where the total
is 1,062,100, 41% is involved in services, 22.5% is involved in agriculture and
19% is involved in industry.
Most of the unemployed population within
Kingston can be found in the squatter settlements and ghettos of the inner city.
Within these communities, organizations
such as KRC (Kingston Restoration Corporation), are involved in empowerment projects, which have goals of community
An individual may be classified as
living in poverty if he or she earns less than J$38,409.15 per year. Of the total percentage of people living in poverty, 50.7% are male and
49.3% are females. This almost fifty-fifty cut has been the result of women at
larger number completing higher levels of education whereas in most counties the
females are more disadvantaged than the males.
Only 47% of the total percentage of
people living below the poverty line is a part of the labor force (ages 15 –
64). In the Kingston Metropolitan area, 18.2% contribute to this percentage.
There is a high level of inequality in
where the wealthiest 20% of the population controls 46% of the national
consumption, while the poorest 20% controlled only 5.3% of the national
consumption. Thus the wealthiest
10% consumed more that 12.5 times of the poorest 10%.
With inequalities such as this, it is
not too hard to believe that Kingston’s reputation as a place of violence
ranks third in the world. Gang
violence and shootings occur regularly in inner-city areas of Kingston. Some
inner-city neighborhoods are occasionally subject to curfews and police
searches. Impromptu street protests sometimes occur, during which demonstrators
often construct roadblocks or otherwise block the streets.
The Prime Minister of the Island, The
Honorable Percival Patterson, aimed to curb violence with several crime fighting
plans. One of these plans include a
“Crime Stop” operation where the communication with the public and the
police is increased. This program
rewards persons who inform the police on criminal activity that leads to an
The need to decrease the number of guns
smuggled and circulated into the country is also another angle that the
authorities seek to deal with the issues of criminal activity in Jamaica. The heightened security with smuggling of weapons from the USA is one way
that the Government of Jamaica seeks to curb the influx of weapons, in return
for increased efforts to help with drug trafficking in the states. These are a
few of the ways that the Ministry of security seeks to end the violence in the
Overcrowding is one of the other
problems that the urban center of Jamaica faces. With the importation of a high level of Japanese used cars
(deportees) that are sold for relatively cheap, the number of cars on the roads
greatly contribute to the damage of roadways, and the congestion within the
city. The improvement of public
transportation is one means of decreasing the high volumes of traffic on the
Since a major natural disaster by means
of hurricane Gilbert in 1988, Kingston has had its share of flooding and such,
but nothing related to the massive earthquakes of the early 1900s.