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Flag of Palau
Map of Palau
Introduction Palau
After three decades as part of UN Trust Territory of Pacific under US administration, this westernmost cluster of Caroline Islands opted for independence in 1978 rather than join Federated States of Micronesia. A Compact of Free Association with US previously approved in 1986, but not ratified until 1993. It entered into force following year, when islands gained independence.
Geography Palau
Oceania, group of islands in North Pacific Ocean, southeast of Philippines
Geographic coordinates:
7 30 N, 134 30 E
Map references:
total: 458 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 458 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly more than 2.5 times size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
1,519 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 12 NM
territorial sea: 3 NM
extended fishing zone: 200 NM
wet season May to November; hot and humid
varying geologically from high, mountainous main island of Babelthuap to low, coral islands usually fringed by large barrier reefs
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Ngerchelchuus 242 m
Natural resources:
forests, minerals (especially gold), marine products, deep-seabed minerals
Land use:
arable land: 21.74%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 78.26% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
typhoons (June to December)
Environment - current issues:
inadequate facilities for disposal of solid waste; threats to marine ecosystem from sand and coral dredging, illegal fishing practices, and overfishing
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of selected agreements
Geography - note:
westernmost archipelago in Caroline chain, consists of six island groups totaling more than 300 islands; includes World War II battleground of Beliliou (Peleliu) and world-famous rock islands
People Palau
Total Population:
19,717 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 26.7% (male 2,714; female 2,552)
15-64 years: 68.7% (male 7,352; female 6,197)
65 years and over: 4.6% (male 429; female 473) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 30.8 years
male: 31.8 years
female: 29.7 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
1.54% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
19.02 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
7 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
3.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.19 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female
Population: 1.14 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 15.76 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.86 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 17.55 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 69.5 years
male: 66.37 years
female: 72.82 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.47 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Palauan(s)
adjective: Palauan
Ethnic groups:
Palauan (Micronesian with Malayan and Melanesian admixtures) 70%, Asian (mainly Filipinos, followed by Chinese, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese) 28%, white 2% (2000 est.)
Christian (Roman Catholics 49%, Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Assembly of God, Liebenzell Mission, and Latter-Day Saints), Modekngei religion (one-third of population observes this religion, which is indigenous to Palau)
English and Palauan official in all states except Sonsoral (Sonsoralese and English are official), Tobi (Tobi and English are official), and Angaur (Angaur, Japanese, and English are official)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Population: 92%
male: 93%
female: 90% (1980 est.)
Government Palau
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Palau
conventional short form: Palau
local short form: Belau
former: Palau District (Trust Territory of Pacific Islands)
local long form: Beluu er a Belau
Government type:
constitutional government in free association with US; Compact of Free Association entered into force 1 October 1994
Koror; note - a new capital is being built about 20 km northeast of Koror
Administrative divisions:
16 states; Aimeliik, Airai, Angaur, Hatobohei, Kayangel, Koror, Melekeok, Ngaraard, Ngarchelong, Ngardmau, Ngatpang, Ngchesar, Ngeremlengui, Ngiwal, Peleliu, Sonsoral
1 October 1994 (from US-administered UN Trusteeship)
National holiday:
Constitution Day, 9 July (1979)
1 January 1981
Legal system:
based on Trust Territory laws, acts of legislature, municipal, common, and customary laws
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Tommy Esang REMENGESAU, Jr. (since 19 January 2001) and Vice President Sandra PIERANTOZZI (since 19 January 2001); note - president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Tommy Esang REMENGESAU, Jr. (since 19 January 2001) and Vice President Sandra PIERANTOZZI (since 19 January 2001); note - president is both chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet
elections: president and vice president elected on separate tickets by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held NA November 2004)
election results: Tommy Esang REMENGESAU, Jr. elected president; percent of vote - Tommy Esang REMENGESAU, Jr. 53%, Peter SUGIYAMA 46%; Sandra PIERANTOZZI elected vice president; percent of vote - Sandra PIERANTOZZI 52%, Alan SEID 45%
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament or Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK) consists of Senate (9 seats; members elected by popular vote on a population basis to serve four-year terms) and House of Delegates (16 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held NA November 2004); House of Delegates - last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held NA November 2004)
election results: Senate - percent of vote - NA%; seats - independents 9; House of Delegates - percent of vote - NA%; seats - independents 16
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; National Court; Court of Common Pleas
Political parties and leaders:
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Hersey KYOTA
consulate(s): Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands)
FAX: [1] (202) 452-6281
telephone: [1] (202) 452-6814
chancery: 1800 K Street NW, Suite 714, Washington, DC 20006
Diplomatic representation from US:
chief of mission: Ambassador to Philippines is accredited to Palau
embassy: address NA, Koror
mailing address: P. O. Box 6028, Republic of Palau 96940
telephone: [680] 488-2920, 2990
FAX: [680] 488-2911
Flag description:
light blue with a large yellow disk (representing moon) shifted slightly to hoist side
Economy Palau
Economy - overview:
economy consists primarily of tourism, subsistence agriculture and fishing. government is major employer of work force, relying heavily on financial assistance from US. Business and tourist arrivals numbered 50,000 in FY00/01. population enjoys a per capita income twice that of Philippines and much of Micronesia. Long-run prospects for key tourist sector have been greatly bolstered by expansion of air travel in Pacific, rising prosperity of leading East Asian countries, and willingness of foreigners to finance infrastructure development.
buying power parity - $174 million
note: $174 million $174 million GDP estimate includes US subsidy (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $9,000 (2001 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):
3.4% (2000 est.)
Labor force:
9,845 (2000)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 20%, industry NA%, services NA% (1990)
Unemployment rate:
2.3% (2000 est.)
revenues: $57.7 million
expenditures: $80.8 million, includes capital expenditures of $17.1 million (FY 98/99 est.)
tourism, craft items (from shell, wood, pearls), construction, garment making
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production by source:
Agriculture - products:
coconuts, copra, cassava (tapioca), sweet potatoes
$18 million f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
shellfish, tuna, copra, garments
Exports - partners:
US, Japan, Singapore (2000)
$99 million f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, fuels, metals; foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
US, Guam, Japan, Singapore, Korea (2000)
Debt - external:
$0 (FY 99/00)
Economic aid - recipient:
$155.8 million ; note - Compact of Free Association with US, entered into after end of UN trusteeship on 1 October 1994, provides Palau with up to $700 million in US aid over 15 years in return for furnishing military facilities
US dollar (USD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
US dollar is used
Fiscal year:
1 October - 30 September
Communications Palau
Telephones - main lines in use:
6,700 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1,000 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2002)
12,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (1997)
11,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2002)
Transportation Palau
0 km
total: 61 km
paved: 36 km
unpaved: 25 km
Ports and harbors:
Merchant marine:
none (2002 est.)
3 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2002)
Military Palau
Military branches:
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Military - note:
defense is responsibility of US; under a Compact of Free Association between Palau and US, US military is granted access to islands for 50 years
Transnational Issues Palau
Disputes - international: