082409_USVIThe Caribbean island chain known as the Virgin Islands was divided into two parts in the 17th century, one English and the other Danish.  The Danish part had been in economic decline for quite some time, owing to losses in sugarcane production after slavery was abolished in 1848.  In 1917, the United States purchased the Danish part for $25 million, mainly for strategic reasons to assure tranquility in the Caribbean Ocean.  U.S. citizenship was conferred on U.S. Virgin Islanders in 1927.  Federal authority over the new U.S. territory was placed in the Department of the Interior in 1931, where it resides.  The Organic Act of 1936 laid the foundation for self-government and a more elaborate governmental structure emerged from the revised Organic Act of 1954.  The first elections for constitutional officers were held in 1970.

Governor: Kenneth E. Mapp
Lt. Governor: Gregory R. Francis
President of the Legislature: Usie R. Richards
Delegate to the House of Representatives:
Stacey Plaskett

New York City: 1,650 miles
Miami: 600 miles

Photos by Shanna-Gloriana O'Reilly, Office of U.S. Congresswoman Donna Christian-Christen

Total population: 106,405 (2010)
Black: 76.2% (2000 census)
White: 13.1%
Other: 6.1%
Mixed: 3.5%
Asian: 1.1%
Median age: 38.5 years
U.S. median age: 36.7 years


GDP: $4.243 billion (BEA 2009)
Per capita GDP: $39,876 (2009)
U.S. per capita GDP: $48,133

Total visitor count: 2.6 million (2010)
Cruise ship visitors: 2.0 million
Overnight visitors: 589,800
No. of cruise ships visiting: 680
Total visitor expenditures: $1.0 billion
Employment in tourism services: 8,316
Hotel room count: 5,008
Hotel room count, St. Thomas: 3,799
Hotel room count, St. Croix: 1,209

Oil Refining
St. Croix: hosts one of the world’s largest refineries
Value of refined petroleum a major part of GDP

Rum production
Rum import taxes turned over to USVI: $75-80 million

Wholesale and retail trade
Hotels and restaurants
Tourist and recreational services
Government services
Other services

Photos by:
Shanna-Gloriana O'Reilly,
Office of U.S. Congresswoman
Donna Christian-Christen

Non-agricultural wage & salary jobs: 44,106
Private sector jobs: 31,029
USVI government jobs: 12,116
Federal Government jobs: 962
Unemployment rate: 7.5%
Annual gross pay: $38,000

Photos by Shanna-Gloriana O'Reilly,
Office of U.S. Congresswoman
Donna Christian-Christen

Government Finances

Total revenues: $952.7 million (FY 09)
Total spending: $1,428.1 million (FY 09)
Total Federal grants: $227.5 million (FY 09)

Rebecca Zepeda
Desk Officer for the U.S. Virgin Islands
Office of Insular Affairs
Washington, DC 20240
(202) 208-2534