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This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


Map of Marshall Islands



Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Marshall Islands Top of Page
Background:

After almost four decades under US administration as the easternmost part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Marshall Islands attained independence in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association. Compensation claims continue as a result of US nuclear testing on some of the atolls between 1947 and 1962. The Marshall Islands hosts the US Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) Reagan Missile Test Site, a key installation in the US missile defense network.

   Geography    Marshall Islands Top of Page
Location:

Oceania, two archipelagic island chains of 29 atolls, each made up of many small islets, and five single islands in the North Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to Australia
Geographic coordinates:

9 00 N, 168 00 E
Map references:

Oceania
Area:

total: 11,854.3 sq km
land: 181.3 sq km
water: 11,673 sq km (note - lagoon waters)
note: includes the atolls of Bikini, Enewetak, Kwajalein, Majuro, Rongelap, and Utirik
Area - comparative:

about the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:

0 km
Coastline:

370.4 km
Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:

tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November; islands border typhoon belt
Terrain:

low coral limestone and sand islands
Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Likiep 10 m
Natural resources:

coconut products, marine products, deep seabed minerals
Land use:

arable land: 11.11%
permanent crops: 44.44%
other: 44.45% (2005)
Irrigated land:

0 sq km
Natural hazards:

infrequent typhoons
Environment - current issues:

inadequate supplies of potable water; pollution of Majuro lagoon from household waste and discharges from fishing vessels
Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:

Bikini and Enewetak are former US nuclear test sites; Kwajalein, the famous World War II battleground, is used as a US missile test range; island city of Ebeye is the second largest settlement in the Marshall Islands, after the capital of Majuro, and one of the most densely populated locations in the Pacific
   People    Marshall Islands Top of Page
Population:

61,815 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:

0-14 years: 38.3% (male 12,061/female 11,622)
15-64 years: 58.9% (male 18,634/female 17,775)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 832/female 891) (2007 est.)
Median age:

total: 20.7 years
male: 20.7 years
female: 20.7 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:

2.207% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:

32.37 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:

4.66 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:

-5.65 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.038 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.048 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.934 male(s)/female
total population: 1.041 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:

total: 27.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 30.62 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 23.82 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 70.61 years
male: 68.61 years
female: 72.71 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:

3.76 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:

NA
Nationality:

noun: Marshallese (singular and plural)
adjective: Marshallese
Ethnic groups:

Micronesian
Religions:

Protestant 54.8%, Assembly of God 25.8%, Roman Catholic 8.4%, Bukot nan Jesus 2.8%, Mormon 2.1%, other Christian 3.6%, other 1%, none 1.5% (1999 census)
Languages:

Marshallese (official) 98.2%, other languages 1.8% (1999 census)
note: English (official), widely spoken as a second language
Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.7%
male: 93.6%
female: 93.7% (1999)
   Government    Marshall Islands Top of Page
Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of the Marshall Islands
conventional short form: Marshall Islands
local long form: Republic of the Marshall Islands
local short form: Marshall Islands
abbreviation: RMI
former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Marshall Islands District
Government type:

constitutional government in free association with the US; the Compact of Free Association entered into force 21 October 1986 and the Amended Compact entered into force in May 2004
Capital:

name: Majuro
geographic coordinates: 7 06 N, 171 23 E
time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:

33 municipalities; Ailinginae, Ailinglaplap, Ailuk, Arno, Aur, Bikar, Bikini, Bokak, Ebon, Enewetak, Erikub, Jabat, Jaluit, Jemo, Kili, Kwajalein, Lae, Lib, Likiep, Majuro, Maloelap, Mejit, Mili, Namorik, Namu, Rongelap, Rongrik, Toke, Ujae, Ujelang, Utirik, Wotho, Wotje
Independence:

21 October 1986 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday:

Constitution Day, 1 May (1979)
Constitution:

1 May 1979
Legal system:

based on adapted Trust Territory laws, acts of the legislature, municipal, common, and customary laws
Suffrage:

18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:

chief of state: President Kessai Hesa NOTE (since 5 January 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Kessai Hesa NOTE (since 5 January 2004)
cabinet: Cabinet selected by the president from among the members of the legislature
elections: president elected by Parliament from among its members for a four-year term; election last held 17 November 2003 (next to be held in November 2007)
election results: Kessai Hesa NOTE elected president; percent of Parliament vote - 100%
Legislative branch:

unicameral legislature or Nitijela (33 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 17 November 2003 (next to be held by November 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - independents 33
note: the Council of Chiefs or Ironij is a 12-member body comprised of tribal chiefs that advises on matters affecting customary law and practice
Judicial branch:

Supreme Court; High Court; Traditional Rights Court
Political parties and leaders:

traditionally there have been no formally organized political parties; what has existed more closely resembles factions or interest groups because they do not have party headquarters, formal platforms, or party structures; the following two "groupings" have competed in legislative balloting in recent years - Aelon Kein Ad Party [Michael KABUA] and United Democratic Party or UDP [Litokwa TOMEING]
Political pressure groups and leaders:

NA
International organization participation:

ACP, AsDB, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, IDA, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WHO
Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Banny DE BRUM
chancery: 2433 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 234-5414
FAX: [1] (202) 232-3236
consulate(s) general: Honolulu
Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Greta N. MORRIS
embassy: Oceanside, Mejen Weto, Long Island, Majuro
mailing address: P. O. Box 1379, Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands 96960-1379
telephone: [692] 247-4011
FAX: [692] 247-4012
Flag description:

blue with two stripes radiating from the lower hoist-side corner - orange (top) and white; there is a white star with four large rays and 20 small rays on the hoist side above the two stripes
   Economy    Marshall Islands Top of Page
Economy - overview:

US Government assistance is the mainstay of this tiny island economy. Agricultural production, primarily subsistence, is concentrated on small farms; the most important commercial crops are coconuts and breadfruit. Small-scale industry is limited to handicrafts, tuna processing, and copra. The tourist industry, now a small source of foreign exchange employing less than 10% of the labor force, remains the best hope for future added income. The islands have few natural resources, and imports far exceed exports. Under the terms of the Amended Compact of Free Association, the US will provide millions of dollars per year to the Marshall Islands (RMI) through 2023, at which time a Trust Fund made up of US and RMI contributions will begin perpetual annual payouts. Government downsizing, drought, a drop in construction, the decline in tourism, and less income from the renewal of fishing vessel licenses have held GDP growth to an average of 1% over the past decade.
GDP (purchasing power parity):

$115 million (2001 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):

$144 million (2005)
GDP - real growth rate:

3.5% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):

$2,900 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 31.7%
industry: 14.9%
services: 53.4% (2004 est.)
Labor force:

14,680 (2000)
Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 21.4%
industry: 20.9%
services: 57.7%
Unemployment rate:

30.9% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:

NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):

3% (2005 est.)
Budget:

revenues: $42 million
expenditures: $40 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (1999)
Agriculture - products:

coconuts, tomatoes, melons, taro, breadfruit, fruits; pigs, chickens
Industries:

copra, tuna processing, tourism, craft items from seashells, wood, and pearls
Industrial production growth rate:

NA%
Exports:

$9.1 million f.o.b. (2000)
Exports - commodities:

copra cake, coconut oil, handicrafts, fish
Exports - partners:

US, Japan, Australia, China (2006)
Imports:

$54.7 million f.o.b. (2000)
Imports - commodities:

foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels, beverages and tobacco
Imports - partners:

US, Japan, Australia, NZ, Singapore, Fiji, China, Philippines (2006)
Economic aid - recipient:

$56.56 million more than $1 billion from the US, 1986-2002 (2005)
Debt - external:

$86.5 million (FY99/00 est.)
Currency (code):

US dollar (USD)
Exchange rates:

the US dollar is used
Fiscal year:

1 October - 30 September
   Communications    Marshall Islands Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:

4,500 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:

600 (2004)
Telephone system:

general assessment: digital switching equipment; modern services include telex, cellular, internet, international calling, caller ID, and leased data circuits
domestic: Majuro Atoll and Ebeye and Kwajalein islands have regular, seven-digit, direct-dial telephones; other islands interconnected by high frequency radiotelephone (used mostly for government purposes) and mini-satellite telephones
international: country code - 692; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean); US Government satellite communications system on Kwajalein (2001)
Radio broadcast stations:

AM 1, FM 3, shortwave 0 (additionally, the US Armed Forces Radio and Television Services (Central Pacific Network) operate one FM and one AM station on Kwajalein) (2005)
Television broadcast stations:

2 (both are US military stations; Marshalls Broadcasting Service, a cable company, operates on Majuro) (2005)
Internet country code:

.mh
Internet hosts:

3 (2007)
Internet users:

2,200 (2006)
   Transportation    Marshall Islands Top of Page
Airports:

15 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:

total: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 11
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 1 (2007)
Roadways:

total: 64.5 km
paved: 64.5 km
note: paved roads on major islands (Majuro, Kwajalein), otherwise stone-, coral-, or laterite-surfaced roads and tracks (2002)
Merchant marine:

total: 902 ships (1000 GRT or over) 33,260,440 GRT/55,644,008 DWT
by type: barge carrier 2, bulk carrier 215, cargo 61, carrier 1, chemical tanker 165, combination ore/oil 6, container 171, liquefied gas 28, passenger 6, petroleum tanker 228, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 10, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 5
foreign-owned: 857 (Australia 1, Belgium 1, Bermuda 5, Canada 4, Chile 4, China 3, Croatia 4, Cyprus 39, Denmark 9, Finland 2, Germany 214, Greece 226, Hong Kong 4, Italy 3, Japan 5, South Korea 3, Latvia 10, Malaysia 3, Monaco 7, Netherlands 5, Norway 62, Romania 1, Russia 4, Saudi Arabia 4, Singapore 12, Slovenia 3, Spain 3, Sweden 1, Switzerland 14, Turkey 41, UAE 14, UK 17, US 129) (2007)
Ports and terminals:

Majuro
   Military    Marshall Islands Top of Page
Military branches:

no regular military forces; under the 1983 Compact of Free Association, the US has full authority and responsibility for security and defense of the Marshall Islands; Marshall Islands Police (2006)
Manpower available for military service:

males age 18-49: 13,465 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:

males age 18-49: 10,792 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:

males age 18-49: 726 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:

NA
Military - note:

defense is the responsibility of the US
   Transnational Issues    Marshall Islands Top of Page
Disputes - international:

claims US territory of Wake Island

This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


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