Barbuda is part of the nation of Antigua and Barbuda, being joined with Antigua when the islands were granted independence, but the islands have little in common. Internal affairs are largely governed by the elected Barbudan Council. Barbuda has a population of only 1500 or so, and few tourist facilities in spite of its miles of beautiful beaches. Nearly all the small stores, restaurants and guest houses are locally owned--what you spend here stays here. The economy is largely dependent on sand mining the sand is exported to Antigua for construction, and tourism. The Barbudan Council has started a truck farm on the site of the old plantation to provide employment and fresh produce. The official currency is the EC dollar, but US dollars are used for rooms, tours and car rentals.

Most of the residents are descended from slaves owned by the Codrington family, who raised food here for the slaves in the sugarcane fields of Antigua. When slavery was abolished, the land was given to the Barbudans, and continues to be held in common. No one can own land, but Barbudans may apply for sites upon which to build homes. Others, such as resorts, may lease land.