OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of the Marshall Islands
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Unitary Republic
AREA: 181 Sq Km (70 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 65,300
LOCATION AND GEOGRAPHY: The Marshall Islands consists of two
archipelagos of 30 atolls and 1,152 islands in the North
Pacific Ocean. All the islands and islets are of coral formation
with some rising just a metre above the water. Major Cities
(pop. est.); Majuro 14,600, Ebeye 8,300 (1988). Land Use;
forested 23%, pastures 14%, agricultural-cultivated 33%,
other 30% (1989).
CLIMATE: The Marshall Islands has a tropical climate with a wet
season from May to November. The islands border the typhoon belt and the
average annual temperature is 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit)
PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are the Marshallese who
account for 97% of the population and are Micronesians.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 270 persons per sq km
(692 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 64.5% urban, 35.5% rural (1988).
Sex Distribution; 51.1% male, 48.9% female (1992). Life Expectancy at Birth;
61.0 years male, 64.0 years female (1991). Age Breakdown; 51% under 15,
25% 15 to 29, 14% 30 to 44, 6% 45 to 59, 3% 60 to 74, 1% 75 and over (1992).
Birth Rate; 47.0 per 1,000 (1991). Death Rate; 8.0 per 1,000 (1991). Increase
Rate; 39.0 per 1,000 (1991). Infant Mortality Rate; 53.0 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians, of which most are Protestant. Other
minorities include Roman Catholics, Mormons, Seven Day Adventists and Assembly
of God followers.
LANGUAGES: The official language is English with two major Marshallese
dialects spoken while some Japanese is also spoken.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: N/A. Literacy;
literate population aged 25 or over 86.3% (1980).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1947 after World War II the
Marshall Islands became part of the UN Trust Territory of Pacific Islands,
administered by the United States. In 1986 the United States granted the
Marshall Islands a form of self government called Free Association. Under
this system the people of the Marshall Islands controlled their internal
and foreign affairs, however, the US remain responsible for the islands'
defense. In Jan. 1991, the UN dissolved the Pacific Island Trust and the
islands became an independent republic and on Sept. 17, 1991 were admitted
to the UN as a full member. In Jan. 1992 Pres. Amata Kabua was re-elected
by the legislature (Nitijela). Also in Jan. 1992 the US made its first
compensation payments for nuclear tests carried out in 1954 with some 300
people receiving US $11 million while the government announced it would
be seeking a further US $74 million for nuclear test compensation and for
the completion of projects the US had abandoned after its independence.
Also in 1992 the government received its first loan of US $7 million from
the Asian Development Bank for the development of fisheries. In 1993 the
US continued its compensation payments for nuclear tests carried out in
the region and by the year's end had paid a total of US $101 million. The
government also secured further loans from the Asian Development Bank for
fishing, education and water-supply projects.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the US Dollar (USD) divided
into 100 Cents.
ECONOMY: Gross Domestic Product; USD $88,800,000 (1994). Public
Debt; USD $169,000,000 (1994). Imports; USD $71,433,000 (1994). Exports;
USD $22,170,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; USD $300,000,000 (1993). Balance
of Trade; USD -$49,300,000 (1994). Economically Active Population; 11,488
or 26.5% of total population (1988). Unemployed; 12.5% (1988).
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the USA,
Japan and Australia.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Clams, Copra, Fish, Livestock, Oysters.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Fishing, Handicrafts, Shell Processing, Tourism.
MAIN EXPORTS: Copra, Fish, Handicrafts.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; nil. Roads; N/A. Vehicles; cars 763 (1984),
trucks and buses 80 (1984). Merchant Marine; vessels 40 (1990), deadweight
tonnage 2,800,000 (1990). Air Transport; N/A.
COMMUNICATIONS: Weekly Newspapers; total of 2 with a total circulation
of around 10,000 (1993). Radio; N/A. Television; N/A. Telephones; 2,300
MILITARY: nil. (see Modern History)