Marshall Islands 1997Marshall%20Islands

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Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands 

The Fives Hotels

Marshall Islands - Introduction 1997
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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 islands between 1947 and 1962.

Marshall Islands - Geography 1997
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Location: Oceania, group of atolls and reefs in the North Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to Papua New Guinea

Geographic coordinates: 9 00 N, 168 00 E

Map referenceOceania

Total: 181.3 km²
Land: 181.3 km²
Water: 0 km²
Note: includes the atolls of Bikini, Enewetak, and Kwajalein
Comparative: about the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 370.4 km

Maritime claims
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: wet season from May to November; hot and humid; islands border typhoon belt

Terrain: low coral limestone and sand islands

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

Natural resources: phosphate deposits, marine products, deep seabed minerals
Land use

Land use
Arable land: NA%
Permanent crops: 60%
Permanent pastures: NA%
Forests and woodland: NA%
Other: 40%

Irrigated land: NA km²

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: occasional typhoons

Note: two archipelagic island chains of 30 atolls and 1,152 islands; Bikini and Enewetak are former US nuclear test sites; Kwajalein, the famous World War II battleground, is now used as a US missile test range

Marshall Islands - People 1997
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Population: 60,652 (July 1997 est.)
Growth rate: 3.85% (1997 est.)

Noun: Marshallese (singular and plural)
Adjective: Marshallese

Ethnic groups: Micronesian

Languages: English (universally spoken and is the official language), two major Marshallese dialects from the Malayo-Polynesian family, Japanese

Religions: Christian (mostly Protestant)

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 50% (male 15,550; female 14,926)
15-64 years: 48% (male 14,732; female 14,032)
65 years and over: 2% (male 662; female 750) (July 1997 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 3.85% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 45.54 births/1000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 7.07 deaths/1000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1000 population (1997 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: inadequate supplies of potable water

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 45.7 deaths/1000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 64.14 years
Male: 62.57 years
Female: 65.79 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 6.78 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 93%
Male: 100%
Female: 88% (1980 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Marshall Islands - Government 1997
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Country name
Conventional long form: Republic of the Marshall Islands
Conventional short form: Marshall Islands
Former: Marshall Islands District (Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands)

Government type: constitutional government in free association with the US; the Compact of Free Association entered into force 21 October 1986

Capital: Majuro

Administrative divisions: none

Dependent areas

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

National holiday: Proclamation of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, 1 May (1979)

Constitution: 1 May 1979

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

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Imata KABUA (since 14 January 1997); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Head of government: President Imata KABUA (since 14 January 1997); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Cabinet: Cabinet selected by the president from among the members of Parliament
Elections: president elected by Parliament from among its own members for a four-year term; election last held 14 January 1997 (next to be held NA January 2000); note - Imata KABUA elected to succeed and complete the term of the late President Amata KABUA
Election results: Imata KABUA elected president; percent of Parliament vote - 63%

Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament or Nitijela (33 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
Elections: last held 14 January 1997 (next to be held NA 2000; note - new elections will be held upon the completion of the term of the late President Amata KABUA)
Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA
Note: the Council of Chiefs is a 12-member body that advises on matters affecting customary law and practice

Judicial branch: Supreme Court; High Court

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: AsDB, ESCAP, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFC, IMF, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, ITU, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WHO

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Banny DE BRUM
In the us chancery: 2,433 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,008
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 234-5,414
In the us FAX: [1] (202) 232-3,236
In the us consulates general: Honolulu
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Joan M. PLAISTED
From the us embassy: Oceanside, Long Island, Majuro
From the us mailing address: P. O. Box 1379, Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands 96,960-1379; Majuro, 20,521-4,380 (pouch)
From the us telephone: [692] 247-4,011
From the us FAX: [692] 247-4,012

Flag descriptionflag of Marshall%20Islands: 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

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Marshall Islands - Economy 1997
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Economy overview: Agriculture and tourism are the mainstays of the economy. Agricultural production is concentrated on small farms, and the most important commercial crops are coconuts, tomatoes, melons, and breadfruit. Small-scale industry is limited to handicrafts, fish processing, and copra. The tourist industry is the primary source of foreign exchange, employs about 10% of the labor force, and remains the best hope for future added income. The islands have few natural resources, and imports far exceed exports. The government is drafting economic reforms designed to increase revenue and compensate for reductions in US Government grants - in 1994, the US Government provided grants of $50 million, equal to 55% of the Marshall Islands' GDP. About 25% of the government's FY95/96 budget was devoted to debt repayment. In 1996, efforts to stabilize the economy included a 27% reduction in the government's work force and a 10% cut in the budget.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 1.5% (1995 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 16%
Industry: 14%
Services: 70% (1994)

Agriculture products: coconuts, cacao, taro, breadfruit, fruits; pigs, chickens

Industries: copra, fish, tourism, craft items from shell, wood, and pearls, offshore banking (embryonic)

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Labor force
Total: 4,800 (1986)
By occupation: NA
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 16% (1991 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $67.2 million
Expenditures: $79.6 million, including capital expenditures of $21.6 million (FY94/95 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Total value: $21.3 million (f.o.b., 1995 est.)
Commodities: fish, coconut oil, live animals, trochus shells
Partners: US, Japan, Australia

Total value: $69.9 million (c.i.f., 1995 est.)
Commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels, beverages and tobacco
Partners: US, Japan, Australia

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $170 million (1994)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: US currency is used

Marshall Islands - Energy 1997
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 57 million kWh (1994)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: NA kWh

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Marshall Islands - Communication 1997
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: telex services
Domestic: islands interconnected by shortwave radiotelephone (used mostly for government purposes)
International: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean); US Government satellite communications system on Kwajalein

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Marshall Islands - Military 1997
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Military expenditures

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Marshall Islands - Transportation 1997
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 16 (1996 est.)
With paved runways total: 9
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 3
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 1
With paved runways under 914 m: 5 (1996 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 7
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 7 (1996 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 9
15-24 to 2437 m: 3
914 to 1523 m: 1
Under 914 m: 5 (1996 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 7
914 to 1523 m: 7 (1996 est.)



Railways: 0 km



Merchant marine
Total: 94 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 4,040,788 GRT/6,780,092 DWT
Ships by type: bulk carrier 44, cargo 5, combination ore/oil 1, container 21, oil tanker 21, refrigerated cargo 1, vehicle carrier 1 (1996 est.)

Ports and terminals

Marshall Islands - Transnational issues 1997
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Disputes international: claims US territory of Wake Island

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs

Qatar Airways

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