How Big Is the Caribbean Economy?

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - March 17, 2014

Above: Port of Spain, Trinidad (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

How big is the Caribbean economy?

Last month, we took a look at the population of the Caribbean, examining the region through several different geographic definitions.

Now that we’ve established the different ways the Caribbean is defined geographically, we thought we’d take a look at how big the region’s economy is, and how it compares to the world’s largest economies.

We collected Gross Domestic Product data (at current US exchange rates) for countries and territories across the region, from a variety of sources — government, UN, World Bank and CIA data, among others, from the years 2011, 2012 or 2013 when possible. Due to the inconsistencies of regional data reporting, these numbers are admittedly rough, but should provide a helpful ballpark range for GDP.

The economy of CARICOM member states totals about $77.4 billion, a number slightly bigger than that of Cuba, which would place the region 65th in the world if it were a single country.

Looking at the traditional Caribbean, meaning the definition including CARICOM Member States, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, the British Overseas Territories, the French and Dutch Caribbean and Cuba, the region’s economy swells to about $352 billion, which would put it in the top 33 countries in the world, or just below that of Colombia, according to UN data.

Adding countries with Caribbean coastlines like Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala would put the region’s total GDP at around $1.23 trillion, or an economy bigger than that of Mexico and just behind that of Spain — or 14th largest in the world, according to UN data.

It certainly puts a different spin on the need for regional integration.

See below for the full list of GDP estimates for the region (in billions).

Sources: government, CIA Factbook estimates, UN, World Bank.

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