About 24% of the island is built-up. 52% of the land area is dedicated to cultivation and around 18% is the natural environment.
Jersey has a coastline that is 70 km long and a total area of 119 square kilometers. It measures roughly 9 miles from west to east and 5 miles north to south, which gives it the affectionate name among locals of “nine-by-five”.
The island is divided into twelve parishes, the largest of which is St Ouen and the smallest of which is St Clement. The island is characterized by a number of valleys which generally run north-to-south, such as Waterworks Valley, Grands Vaux, Mont les Vaux, although a few run in other directions, such as Le Mourier Valley. The highest point on the island is Les Platons at 136 m.
There are several smaller island groups that are part of the Bailiwick of Jersey, such as Les Minquiers and Les Écrehous, however unlike the smaller islands of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, none of these are permanently inhabited.
Jersey’s economy is highly developed and services-focused, with a GDP per capita of £45,320 in 2019. It is a mixed market economy, with free market principles and an advanced social security infrastructure. It is based on financial services (40% of GVA in 2012), tourism and hospitality (hotels, restaurants, bars, transport and communications totaling 8.4% of GVA in 2012), retail and wholesale (7% of GVA in 2012), construction (6.2% of GVA in 2012) and agriculture (1.3% of GVA in 2012). 53,460 people were employed in Jersey as of December 2010: 24% in financial and legal services; 16% in wholesale and retail trades; 16% in the public sector; 10% in education, health and other private sector services; 10% in construction and quarrying; 9% in hotels, restaurants and bars.
Thanks to specialization in a few high-return sectors, at purchasing power parity Jersey has high economic output per capita, substantially ahead of all of the world’s large developed economies. Gross national income in 2009 was £3.7 billion (approximately £40,000 per head of population). However, this is not indicative of each individual resident’s purchasing power and the actual standard of living in Jersey is comparable to that in the UK outside central London.
Jersey is most notable for being one of the world’s largest offshore finance centers. The UK acts as a conduit for financial services between European countries and the island. The growth of this sector however has not been without its controversies as Jersey has been characterized by critics and detractors as a place in which the “leadership has essentially been captured by global finance, and whose members will threaten and intimidate anyone who dissents.” In June 2005 the States introduced the Competition (Jersey) Law 2005, a competition law based on those of other jurisdictions, to regulate competition and stimulate economic growth.
Tourism is an important economic sector for the island. Hospitality (hotels, restaurants and bars) made up 4.2% of Jersey’s GVA in 2019. It is estimated that the wider contribution of tourism in particular is 8.3% (2017). Travel to Jersey is very seasonal. Accommodation occupancy is much higher in the summer months, especially August, than in the winter months (with a low in November). The majority of visitors to the island arrive by air from the UK.