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Introduction Aruba
Discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499, Aruba previously acquired by Dutch in 1636. island's economy has been dominated by three main industries. A 19th century gold rush previously followed by prosperity brought on by opening in 1924 of an oil refinery. last decades of 20th century saw a boom in tourism industry. Aruba seceded from Netherlands Antilles in 1986 and became a separate, autonomous member of Kingdom of Netherlands. Movement toward full independence previously halted at Aruba's request in 1990.
Geography Aruba
Caribbean, island in Caribbean Sea, north of Venezuela
Geographic coordinates:
12 30 N, 69 58 W
Map references:
Central America and Caribbean
total: 193 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 193 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
68.5 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 NM
tropical marine; little seasonal temperature variation
flat with a few hills; scant vegetation
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Jamanota 188 m
Natural resources:
NEGL; white sandy beaches
Land use:
arable land: 10.53% (including aloe 0.01%)
permanent crops: 0%
other: 89.47% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
0.01 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
lies outside Caribbean hurricane belt
Environment - current issues:
Geography - note:
a flat, riverless island renowned for its white sand beaches; its tropical climate is moderated by constant trade winds from Atlantic Ocean; temperature is almost constant at about 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit)
People Aruba
Total Population:
70,844 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 20.7% (male 7,540; female 7,121)
15-64 years: 68.3% (male 23,427; female 24,955)
65 years and over: 11% (male 3,215; female 4,586) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 37.1 years
male: 35.3 years
female: 38.5 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
0.55% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
11.86 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
6.38 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
Population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 6.14 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 6.99 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 78.83 years
male: 75.48 years
female: 82.34 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.79 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Aruban(s)
adjective: Aruban; Dutch
Ethnic groups:
mixed white/Caribbean Amerindian 80%
Roman Catholic 82%, Protestant 8%, Hindu, Muslim, Confucian, Jewish
Dutch (official), Papiamento (a Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English dialect), English (widely spoken), Spanish
Population: 97%
male: NA%
female: NA%
Government Aruba
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Aruba
Dependency status:
part of Kingdom of Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs obtained in 1986 upon separation from Netherlands Antilles; Dutch Government responsible for defense and foreign affairs
Government type:
parliamentary democracy
Administrative divisions:
none (part of Kingdom of Netherlands)
none (part of Kingdom of Netherlands)
National holiday:
Flag Day, 18 March
1 January 1986
Legal system:
based on Dutch civil law system, with some English common law influence
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen BEATRIX of Netherlands (since 30 April 1980), represented by Governor General Olindo KOOLMAN (since 1 January 1992)
election results: Nelson O. ODUBER elected prime minister; percent of legislative vote - NA%
elections: monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed for a six-year term by monarch; prime minister and deputy prime minister elected by Staten for four-year terms; election last held 28 September 2001 (next to be held by December 2005)
head of government: Prime Minister Nelson O. ODUBER (since 30 October 2001); Deputy Prime Minister Fredis REFUNJOL
cabinet: Council of Ministers (elected by Staten)
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislature or Staten (21 seats; members elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 28 September 2001 (next to be held by NA 2005)
election results: percent of vote by party - MEP 52.4%, AVP 26.7%, PPA 9.6%, OLA 5.7%, Aliansa 3.5%, other 2.1%; seats by party - MEP 12, AVP 6, PPA 2, OLA 1
Judicial branch:
Joint High Court of Justice (judges are appointed by monarch)
Political parties and leaders:
Aruba Solidarity Movement or MAS [leader NA]; Aruban Democratic Alliance or Aliansa [leader NA]; Aruban Democratic Party or PDA [Leo BERLINSKI]; Aruban Liberal Party or OLA [Glenbert CROES]; Aruban Patriotic Party or PPA [Benny NISBET]; Aruban People's Party or AVP [Jan (Henny) H. EMAN]; Concentration for Liberation of Aruba or CLA [leader NA]; People's Electoral Movement Party or MEP [Nelson O. ODUBER]; For a Restructured Aruba Now or PARA [Urbana LOPEZ]; National Democratic Action or ADN [Pedro Charro KELLY]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Caricom (observer), ECLAC (associate), Interpol, IOC, UNESCO (associate), WCL, WToO (associate)
Diplomatic representation in US:
none (represented by Kingdom of Netherlands)
Diplomatic representation from US:
US does not have an embassy in Aruba; Consul General to Netherlands Antilles is accredited to Aruba
Flag description:
blue, with two narrow, horizontal, yellow stripes across lower portion and a red, four-pointed star outlined in white in upper hoist-side corner
Economy Aruba
Economy - overview:
Tourism is mainstay of limited , open Aruban economy, with offshore banking and oil refining and storage also important. rapid growth of tourism sector over last decade has resulted in a substantial expansion of other activities. Construction has boomed, with hotel capacity five times 1985 level. In addition, reopening of countries oil refinery in 1993, a major source of employment and foreign exchange earnings, has further spurred growth. Aruba's limited labor force and low unemployment rate have led to a large number of unfilled job vacancies, despite sharp rises in wage rates in recent years. Tourist arrivals have declined in aftermath of 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on US. government now must deal with a budget deficit and a negative trade balance.
buying power parity - $1.94 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-1.5% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $28,000 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.2% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
41,501 (1997 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
most employment is in wholesale and retail trade and repair, followed by hotels and restaurants; oil refining
Unemployment rate:
revenues: $135.81 million
expenditures: $147 million, includes capital expenditures of $NA (2000)
tourism, transshipment facilities, oil refining
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
531.9 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
494.7 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
6,500 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Agriculture - products:
aloes; livestock; fish
$1.88 billion f.o.b. (including oil reexports) (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
live animals and animal products, art and collectibles, machinery and electrical equipment, transport equipment
Exports - partners:
Netherlands 28.6%, Colombia 21.7%, Panama 16.8%, US 12.1%, Netherlands Antilles 8.3%, Venezuela 7.6% (2002)
$2.21 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and electrical equipment, crude oil for refining and reexport, chemicals; foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
US 54.7%, Netherlands 12.7%, UK 5.7% (2002)
Debt - external:
$285 million (1996)
Economic aid - recipient:
$26 million (1995); note - Netherlands provided a $127 million aid package to Aruba and Suriname in 1996
Aruban guilder/florin (AWG)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Aruban guilders/florins per US dollar - 1.79 (2002), 1.79 (2001), 1.79 (2000), 1.79 (1999), 1.79 (1998)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Aruba
Telephones - main lines in use:
33,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
3,402 (1997)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: more than adequate
international: 1 submarine cable to Sint Maarten (Netherlands Antilles); extensive interisland microwave radio relay links
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 4, FM 6, shortwave 0 (1998)
50,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (1997)
20,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Internet users:
24,000 (2002)
Transportation Aruba
0 km
total: 800 km
paved: 513 km
note: most coastal roads are paved, while unpaved roads serve large tracts of interior (1995)
unpaved: 287 km
Ports and harbors:
Barcadera, Oranjestad, Sint Nicolaas
Merchant marine:
total: 3
note: there is one foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: Monaco 1 (2002 est.)
ships by type: bulk 1, cargo 1, petroleum tanker 1
1 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2002)
Military Aruba
Military branches:
no regular indigenous military forces; Royal Dutch Navy and Marines, Coast Guard
Military - note:
defense is responsibility of Kingdom of Netherlands
Transnational Issues Aruba
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
transit point for US- and Europe-bound narcotics with some accompanying money-laundering activity