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CIA - The World Factbook -- Nauru
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Flag of Nauru
Map of Nauru
Introduction Nauru
Nauru's phosphate deposits began to be mined early in the 20th century by a German-British consortium; the island was occupied by Australian forces in World War I. Nauru achieved independence in 1968 and joined the UN in 1999. Nauru is the world's smallest independent republic.
Geography Nauru
Oceania, island in the South Pacific Ocean, south of the Marshall Islands
Geographic coordinates:
0 32 S, 166 55 E
Map references:
total: 21 sq km
land: 21 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
about 0.1 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
30 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
tropical with a monsoonal pattern; rainy season (November to February)
sandy beach rises to fertile ring around raised coral reefs with phosphate plateau in center
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location along plateau rim 61 m
Natural resources:
phosphates, fish
Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Natural hazards:
periodic droughts
Environment - current issues:
limited natural fresh water resources, roof storage tanks collect rainwater, but mostly dependent on a single, aging desalination plant; intensive phosphate mining during the past 90 years - mainly by a UK, Australia, and NZ consortium - has left the central 90% of Nauru a wasteland and threatens limited remaining land resources
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Nauru is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia; only 53 km south of Equator
People Nauru
13,048 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 37.5% (male 2,511/female 2,379)
15-64 years: 60.6% (male 3,895/female 4,012)
65 years and over: 1.9% (male 132/female 119) (2005 est.)
Median age:
total: 20.24 years
male: 19.76 years
female: 20.78 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.83% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
25.14 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
6.82 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.11 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 9.95 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 12.51 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.26 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 62.73 years
male: 59.16 years
female: 66.48 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.19 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Nauruan(s)
adjective: Nauruan
Ethnic groups:
Nauruan 58%, other Pacific Islander 26%, Chinese 8%, European 8%
Christian (two-thirds Protestant, one-third Roman Catholic)
Nauruan (official, a distinct Pacific Island language), English widely understood, spoken, and used for most government and commercial purposes
definition: NA
total population: NA%
male: NA%
female: NA%
Government Nauru
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Nauru
conventional short form: Nauru
former: Pleasant Island
Government type:
no official capital; government offices in Yaren District
Administrative divisions:
14 districts; Aiwo, Anabar, Anetan, Anibare, Baiti, Boe, Buada, Denigomodu, Ewa, Ijuw, Meneng, Nibok, Uaboe, Yaren
31 January 1968 (from the Australia-, NZ-, and UK-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 31 January (1968)
29 January 1968; amended 17 May 1968 (Constitution Day)
Legal system:
acts of the Nauru Parliament and British common law
20 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Ludwig SCOTTY (since 26 October 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Ludwig SCOTTY (since 26 October 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among the members of Parliament
elections: president elected by Parliament for a three-year term; election last held 23 October 2004 (next to be held NA 2007)
election results: Ludwig SCOTTY was unopposed in the parliamentary elections for president
Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament (18 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms)
elections: last held 3 May 2003 (next to be held not later than May 2006)
election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - Nauru First Party 3, independents 15
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court
Political parties and leaders:
loose multiparty system; Democratic Party [Kennan ADEANG]; Nauru Party (informal) [leader NA]; Naoero Amo (Nauru First) Party [leader NA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Nauru does not have an embassy in the US, but does have a UN office at 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400 D, New York, New York 10017; telephone: (212) 937-0074
consulate(s): Agana (Guam)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in Nauru; the US Ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Nauru
Flag description:
blue with a narrow, horizontal, yellow stripe across the center and a large white 12-pointed star below the stripe on the hoist side; the star indicates the country's location in relation to the Equator (the yellow stripe) and the 12 points symbolize the 12 original tribes of Nauru
Economy Nauru
Economy - overview:
Revenues of this tiny island have traditionally come from exports of phosphates, but reserves are now depleted. Few other resources exist with most necessities being imported, mainly from Australia, its former occupier and later major source of support. The rehabilitation of mined land and the replacement of income from phosphates are serious long-term problems. In anticipation of the exhaustion of Nauru's phosphate deposits, substantial amounts of phosphate income have been invested in trust funds to help cushion the transition and provide for Nauru's economic future. As a result of heavy spending from the trust funds, the government faces virtual bankruptcy. To cut costs the government has called for a freeze on wages, a reduction of over-staffed public service departments, privatization of numerous government agencies, and closure of some overseas consulates. In recent years Nauru has encouraged the registration of offshore banks and corporations. In 2004 the deterioration in housing, hospitals, and other capital plant continued, and the cost to Australia of keeping the government and economy afloat has substantially mounted. Few comprehensive statistics on the Nauru economy exist, with estimates of Nauru's GDP varying widely.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$60 million (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $5,000 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: NA
industry: NA
services: NA
Labor force - by occupation:
employed in mining phosphates, public administration, education, and transportation
Unemployment rate:
90% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
-3.6% (1993)
revenues: $23.4 million
expenditures: $64.8 million, including capital expenditures of NA (FY95/96)
Agriculture - products:
phosphate mining, offshore banking, coconut products
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
30 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
27.9 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
1,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Oil - imports:
$640,000 f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Exports - partners:
South Africa 43.4%, Germany 20.7%, India 11.8%, Japan 7.2%, Poland 4% (2004)
$19.8 million c.i.f. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
food, fuel, manufactures, building materials, machinery
Imports - partners:
Australia 65.6%, Indonesia 5.4%, Germany 5.3%, UK 4.4% (2004)
Debt - external:
$33.3 million (2002)
Economic aid - recipient:
$2.25 million from Australia (FY96/97 est.)
Currency (code):
Australian dollar (AUD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Australian dollars per US dollar - 1.3598 (2004), 1.5419 (2003), 1.8406 (2002), 1.9334 (2001), 1.7248 (2000)
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June
Communications Nauru
Telephones - main lines in use:
1,900 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1,500 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: adequate local and international radiotelephone communication provided via Australian facilities
domestic: NA
international: country code - 674; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0 (1998)
7,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (1997)
500 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
300 (2002)
Transportation Nauru
total: 30 km
paved: 24 km
unpaved: 6 km (1999 est.)
Ports and harbors:
1 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2004 est.)
Military Nauru
Military branches:
no regular military forces; Nauru Police Force
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 2,874 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 1,963 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Military - note:
Nauru maintains no defense forces; under an informal agreement, defense is the responsibility of Australia
Transnational Issues Nauru
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
offshore banking recently stopped, remains on Financial Action Task Force Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories List for continued failure to address deficiencies in money-laundering control regime

This page was last updated on 20 October, 2005


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