The State Of Jamaican Children: Facts From The 2014 ESSJ


On the eve of Universal Children’s Day, here are some facts on the state of Jamaican children. According to the Economic and Social Survey of Jamaica, in 2014:

  • There are 811,200 children (398,900 girls, 412,300 boys, ) in Jamaica, approximately 29.8% of the total population
  • A total of 4,384 children (51.0% girls, 49% boys) are in state care.

Major Issues (Ages 0-9)

  • 2014’s main issues were immunization, nutrition, safety and Chik V
  • The Infant Mortality Rate is 16.7 per 100,000 live births, and has been at this rate since 2010
  • Though showing some fluctuation over the years, immunization rates for DPT, OPV, BCG (0–11 months) and MMR (12–23 months) in 2014 are down in comparison to their 2010 figures.

Major Issues (Ages 10-18)

  • 2014’s main issues were falls, motor vehicle accidents, violence, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, and Chik V
  • This group accounted for 1 in every 3 reported cases of attempted suicide, with a higher proportion among females


  • The number of children enrolled in both primary and secondary institutions has declined over the past 4 years (population of this age also declining)
  • Gross Enrolment Rates (GER) for the cohorts were 99.8% at pre–primary, 99.4% at primary, and 97.3% at secondary
  • The early childhood level (ages 0-8) had average pupil to teacher ratio of 12:1
  • For primary schools, the average pupil to teacher ratio at this level was 24:1
  • At a secondary level, the average pupil to teacher ratio was 19:1


  • Crimes against those 0-17 accounted for 7.9% of Category 1* crimes committed
  • Of 2,729 cases, 72.8% of those reported missing were children, of which 78.9% were girls

Child Abuse

  • CISOCA received 1,018 reports of child abuse
  • 97.3% were reports concerning girls, and 85.8% involved girls aged 11-17 
  • The most commonly reported offences were sexual intercourse with a person under 16 years (726), rape (220), and Cruelty to Child (57)
  • OCA received a total of 615 reports
  • Girls made up a disproportionate 83.6% of the cases of sexual abuse reported to OCA
  • Boys were over-represented in cases of physical abuse at 63.3%
  • There were 142 cases of neglect 


*Category 1 crimes include murder, shooting, robbery, break-ins, larceny, rape and aggravated assault