Palau Population: 21,347

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 History
After three decades as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific under US administration, this westernmost cluster of the Caroline Islands opted for independence in 1978 rather than join the Federated States of Micronesia. A Compact of Free Association with the US was approved in 1986 but not ratified until 1993. It entered into force the following year when the islands gained independence.

 Geography
Westernmost archipelago in the 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
Location: Oceania, group of islands in the North Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Philippines
Geographic coordinates: 7 30 N, 134 30 E
Area: total: 459 sq km
land: 459 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Size comparison: slightly more than 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land Boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 1,519 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 3 nm exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November
Terrain: varying topography from the high, mountainous main island of Babelthuap to low, coral islands usually fringed by large barrier reefs
Elevation extremes:
Natural resources: forests, minerals (especially gold), marine products, deep-seabed minerals
Land use: agricultural land: 10.8% arable land 2.2%; permanent crops 4.3%; permanent pasture 4.3% forest: 87.6%
other: 1.6% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 0 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: typhoons (June to December)
Current Environment Issues: inadequate facilities for disposal of solid waste; threats to the marine ecosystem from sand and coral dredging, illegal fishing practices, and overfishing
International Environment Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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 People
Nationality: noun: Palauan(s)
adjective: Palauan
Ethnic groups: Palauan (Micronesian with Malayan and Melanesian admixtures) 72.5%, Carolinian 1%, other Micronesian 2.4%, Filipino 16.3%, Chinese 1.6%, Vietnamese 1.6%, other Asian 3.4%, white 0.9%, other 0.3% (2005 est.)
Languages: Palauan (official on most islands) 66.6%, Carolinian 0.7%, other Micronesian 0.7%, English (official) 15.5%, Filipino 10.8%, Chinese 1.8%, other Asian 2.6%, other 1.3% note: Sonsoral (Sonsoralese and English are official), Tobi (Tobi and English are official), and Angaur (Angaur, Japanese, and English are official) (2005 est.)
Religions: Roman Catholic 49.4%, Protestant 30.9% (includes Protestant (general) 23.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 5.3%, and other Protestant 2.5%), Modekngei 8.7% (indigenous to Palau), Jehovah's Witnesses 1.1%, other 8.8%, none or unspecified 1.1% (2005 est.)
Population: 21,347 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 19.93% (male 2,196/female 2,059)
15-24 years: 17.02% (male 1,814/female 1,819)
25-54 years: 46.03% (male 5,997/female 3,829)
55-64 years: 9.35% (male 697/female 1,299)
65 years and over: 7.67% (male 429/female 1,208) (2016 est.)
Median age: total: 33.3 years
male: 32.7 years
female: 34.7 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.39% (2016 est.)
Birth rate: 11.2 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate: 8 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 87.1% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.66% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: MELEKEOK (capital) 299 (2012)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.57 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.54 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.37 male(s)/female
total population: 1.09 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 10.9 deaths/1,000 live births male: 12.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 9.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 73.1 years male: 69.9 years
female: 76.5 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.71 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Health expenditures: 9% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density: 1.38 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
Hospital bed density: 4.8 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 97% of population
rural: 86% of population
total: 95.3% of population

unimproved:
urban: 3% of population
rural: 14% of population
total: 4.7% of population (2011 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population

unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 47.1% (2014)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.5%
male: 99.5%
female: 99.6% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 17 years male: 16 years
female: 18 years (2013)
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 Government
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Palau
conventional short form: Palau
local long form: Beluu er a Belau
local short form: Belau
former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Palau District
etymology: from the Palauan name for the islands, Belau, which likely derives from the Palauan word "beluu" meaning "village"
Government type: presidential republic in free association with the US
Capital: name: Ngerulmud
geographic coordinates: 7 30 N, 134 37 E
time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 16 states; Aimeliik, Airai, Angaur, Hatohobei, Kayangel, Koror, Melekeok, Ngaraard, Ngarchelong, Ngardmau, Ngatpang, Ngchesar, Ngeremlengui, Ngiwal, Peleliu, Sonsorol
Independence: 1 October 1994 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday: Constitution Day, 9 July (1981), day of a national referendum to pass the new constitution; Independence Day, 1 October (1994)
Constitution: ratified 9 July 1980, effective 1 January 1981; amended 1992, 2004, 2008 (2016)
Legal system: mixed legal system of civil, common, and customary law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Tommy REMENGESAU (since 17 January 2013); Vice President Antonio BELLS (since 17 January 2013); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Tommy REMENGESAU (since 17 January 2013); Vice President Antonio BELLS (since 17 January 2013)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate; also includes the vice president; the Council of Chiefs consists of chiefs from each of the states who advise the president on issues concerning traditional laws, customs, and their relationship to the constitution and laws of Palau elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on separate ballots by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 1 November 2016 (next to be held in November 2020)

election results: Tommy REMENGESAU elected president; percent of vote - Tommy REMENGESAU 51.3%, Surangel WHIPPS, Jr. 48.7%; Antonio BELLS elected vice president
Legislative branch: description: bicameral National Congress or Olbiil Era Kelulau consists of the Senate (9 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by majority vote to serve 4-year terms) and the House of Delegates (16 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held on 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2016); House of Delegates - last held on 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2016)

election results: Senate - percent of vote - NA; seats - independent 9; House of Delegates - percent of vote - NA; seats - independent 16
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 3 associate justices organized into appellate trial divisions; also within the Supreme Court organization are the Common Pleas and Land Courts) judge selection and term of office: justices nominated by a 7-member independent body consisting of judges, presidential appointees, and lawyers, and appointed by the president; judges appointed until mandatory retirement at age 65

subordinate courts: National Court and other 'inferior' courts
Political parties and leaders: none
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: ACP, ADB, AOSIS, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, IOC, IPU, MIGA, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WHO
National symbol(s): bai (native meeting house); national colors: blue, yellow
National anthem: name: "Belau rekid" (Our Palau)
lyrics/music: multiple/Ymesei O. EZEKIEL

note: adopted 1980
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Hersey KYOTA (since 12 November 1997)
chancery: 1701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 452-6814
FAX: [1] (202) 452-6281 consulate(s): Tamuning (Guam)
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Helen P. REED-ROWE (since 27 September 2013)
embassy: Koror (no street address)
mailing address: P. O. Box 6028, Koror, Republic of Palau 96940
telephone: [680] 587-2920
FAX: [680] 587-2911
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 Economy
The economy consists of tourism and other services such as trade, subsistence agriculture, and fishing. Government is a major employer of the work force relying on financial assistance from the US under the Compact of Free Association (Compact) with the US that took effect after the end of the UN trusteeship on 1 October 1994. The US provided Palau with roughly $700 million in aid for the first 15 years following commencement of the Compact in 1994 in return for unrestricted access to its land and waterways for strategic purposes. The population enjoys a per capita income roughly double that of the Philippines and much of Micronesia. Business and leisure tourist arrivals numbered over 125,000 in fiscal year 2014, a 13.4% increase over the previous year. Long-run prospects for tourism have been bolstered by the expansion of air travel in the Pacific, the rising prosperity of industrial East Asia, and the willingness of foreigners to finance infrastructure development. Proximity to Guam, the region's major destination for tourists from East Asia, and a regionally competitive tourist infrastructure enhance Palau's advantage as a destination.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $276 million (2016 est.) $276 million (2015 est.) $252.3 million (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $296 million (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 0% (2016 est.) 9.4% (2015 est.) 4.2% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $15,300 (2016 est.) $15,300 (2015 est.) $14,000 (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
Agriculture - products: coconuts, copra, cassava (manioc, tapioca), sweet potatoes; fish
Industries: tourism, craft items (from shell, wood, pearls), construction, garment making
Industrial production growth rate: NA%
Labor force: 10,470 (2014)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 20%
industry: NA%
services: NA% (1990)
Unemployment rate: 4.2% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budget: revenues: $123.6 million
expenditures: $97.53 million (2012 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 41.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2% (2016 est.) 2.2% (2015 est.)
Current account balance: -$16 million (2016 est.) -$1 million (2015 est.)
Exports: $19.1 million (2014 est.) $14.4 million (2013 est.)
Exports - commodities: shellfish, tuna, copra, garments
Imports: $177.7 million (2014 est.) $146.5 million (2013 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, fuels, metals; foodstuffs
Debt - external: $18.38 billion (31 December 2014 est.) $16.47 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Exchange rates: the US dollar is used
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 Energy
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 Communications
Cellular Phones in use: total: 24,000 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 112 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone system:

domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular services available with a combined subscribership of over 140 per 100 persons

international: country code - 680; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2015)
Broadcast media: no TV stations; a cable TV network covers the major islands and provides access to rebroadcasts, on a delayed basis, of a number of US stations, as well as access to a number of real-time satellite TV channels; about a half dozen radio stations (1 governm (2009)
Internet country code: .pw
Internet users: total: 7,650 percent of population: 36.0% (July 2015 est.)
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 Transportation
Airports: 3 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2013)
Roadways:
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Koror
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 Military
Defense is the responsibility of the US; under a Compact of Free Association between Palau and the US, the US military is granted access to the islands for 50 years, but it has not stationed any military forces there (2008)
Military branches: no regular military forces; Palau National Police (2009)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: maritime delineation negotiations continue with Philippines, Indonesia
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   Source: CIA - The World Factbook

 

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