U.S. Virgin Islands Economy and Culture

By | November 12, 2021


Located in Central America according to aceinland.com, the United States Virgin Islands is a relatively developed territory, with a per capita income of around $ 14,500. The economy of the islands is oriented, fundamentally, to the service sector, which contributes 80% of GDP, behind which is industry (19%) and little agriculture (1%).

Tourism is one of the basic activities that are developed; they normally receive two million visitors per year, many of them come on cruise ships.

The manufacturing sector consists of petroleum refining, textiles, electronics, rum distillation, pharmaceuticals, and watch assembly plants. The agriculture is reduced, this has led the food is imported. International business and financial services are small but it is becoming a growing component of the economy. One of the largest oil refineries in the world is located in Saint Croix.

The islands are subjected to tropical storms and hurricanes. They have significantly affected Hurricanes Hugo in 1989 and Marilyn in 1995 which caused economic damage.


60% of the population is of African origin, 35% are white Americans and Europeans, while 5% of the population is of Puerto Rican origin.

The population belonging to the Protestant cult is the majority, standing out in this category the Baptist Church (42%) and the Episcopal Church (17%). Among the religious minorities is the Roman Catholic Church, being the most important of the minority religions (34%).

The most widespread and developed official language is English, which comprises approximately 80% of the population. For its part, the Spanish language is spoken by around 15% of the population by immigrants from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. There are also immigrants from the islands of Dominica and Saint Lucia who speak Creole languages derived from French. Most of the population speaks a Creole language derived from English.


The culture of the Virgin Islands encompasses the cultural heritage of the various peoples who have inhabited the current United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands throughout history. Although the two territories are politically separated, they maintain close cultural ties. Like much of the Caribbean-speaking English, the culture of the Virgin Islands is syncretic, with influences derived primarily from West Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

Although the Danes controlled the present-day US Virgin Islands for many years, the dominant language since the 19th century has been a base of English with Creole, and the islands are still more receptive to the culture of the English language than to any other. The Dutch, the French, and the Danes also contributed elements to the culture of the islands, as did immigrants from the Arab world, India, and other Caribbean islands.

The only important influence on the culture of the Virgin Islands, comes from the enslaved Africans to work cane fields from the 17th to the 19th century. These African slaves brought with them traditions from an entire swath of Africa, including what is now Nigeria, Senegal, Congo, The Gambia, and Ghana. The culture of the Virgin Islands continues to experience a creolization, the result of Caribbean migration and cultural contact with other islands in the region, as well as with the United States.

Migration has altered the social landscape of both countries to the extent that in the British Virgin Islands, half of the population are foreigners (mostly Caribbean) and in the United States Virgin Islands, the majority of residents born in the country can trace their ancestry to other Caribbean islands.

National anthem

Virgin Islands March is a patriotic song that is considered the National Anthem of the United States Virgin Islands. The song was composed by the Naval Band and native Alton Adams in the 1920s. It served as the unofficial anthem of the islands until 1963 when it was officially recognized by the Legislative Body.

Lyrics in Spanish

Health to all of our Virgin Islands

Em’ralds of the sea,

In case of beaches with bright coral sand

Health to all of our Virgin Islands,

Bathed in blue waters,

We give our allegiance

Full of you,

And they swear allegiance forever true.

To you our Virgin Islands,

Love to raise voices

A song in praise of brotherhood

When the right makes it possible to fight for the good.

To you our Virgin Islands,

Heaven of the free,

We sing our love to you


Our own fair islands of freedom.

March in the Virgin Islands oh,

In the joyous crowd,

Defend the right and the right from wrong

When only peace and love belong.

March in the Virgin Islands oh,

democratic land.

Together hand in hand

Take us by your side,

Forever in the band of soldiers of freedom.

God bless our Virgin Islands,

We humbly beg you now,

When all of humanity can unite today

In the pleasant heat of work and play.

God bless our Virgin Islands,

Beauty and tall.

Under a sunny sky

High peaks

Please extend a welcome to everyone.


As in most Caribbean countries, Christianity is the dominant religion in the Virgin Islands. In a Danish territory reflection of colonial heritage, Protestantism is the most prevalent. There is also a strong Roman Catholic presence due to the large Hispanic population, as well as the Irish influence during the Danish colonial era.


The Virgin Islands Department of Education serves as the education agency for the territory, and has two districts: St. Thomas-St. Juan School District and San Croix School District. The University of the Virgin Islands offers higher education leading to associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, with campuses in St. Thomas and St. Croix.

U.S. Virgin Islands Economy