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Australia - Oceania :: Nauru Print
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NAURU
  • Introduction :: Nauru
  • Background field listing
    The exact origins of the Nauruans are unclear since their language does not resemble any other in the Pacific region. Germany annexed the island in 1888. A German-British consortium began mining the island's phosphate deposits early in the 20th century. Australian forces occupied Nauru in World War I; it subsequently became a League of Nations mandate. After the Second World War - and a brutal occupation by Japan - Nauru became a UN trust territory. It achieved independence in 1968 and joined the UN in 1999 as the world's smallest independent republic.
  • Geography :: Nauru
  • Location field listing
    Oceania, island in the South Pacific Ocean, south of the Marshall Islands
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    0 32 S, 166 55 E
    Map references field listing
    Oceania
    Area field listing
    total: 21 sq km
    land: 21 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 240
    Area - comparative field listing
    about 0.1 times the size of Washington, DC
    Land boundaries field listing
    0 km
    Coastline field listing
    30 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    Climate field listing
    tropical with a monsoonal pattern; rainy season (November to February)
    Terrain field listing
    sandy beach rises to fertile ring around raised coral reefs with phosphate plateau in center
    Elevation field listing
    0 m lowest point: Pacific Ocean
    70 highest point: Command Ridge
    Natural resources field listing
    phosphates, fish
    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 20% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 20% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 0% (2011 est.)
    forest: 0% (2011 est.)
    other: 80% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land field listing
    0 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution field listing
    extensive phosphate mining made approximately 90% of the island unsuitable for farming; most people live in the fertile coastal areas, especially along the southwest coast
    Natural hazards field listing
    periodic droughts
    Environment - current issues field listing
    limited natural freshwater resources, roof storage tanks that collect rainwater and desalination plants provide water; a century of intensive phosphate mining beginning in 1906 left the central 90% of Nauru a wasteland; cadmium residue, phosphate dust, and other contaminants have caused air and water pollution with negative impacts on health; climate change has brought on rising sea levels and inland water shortages
    Environment - international agreements field listing
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    Geography - note field listing
    world's smallest island country; situated just 53 km south of the Equator; 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
  • People and Society :: Nauru
  • Population field listing
    9,692 (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 223
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Nauruan(s)
    adjective: Nauruan
    Ethnic groups field listing
    Nauruan 88.9%, part Nauruan 6.6%, I-Kiribati 2%, other 2.5% (2007 est.)
    Languages field listing
    Nauruan 93% (official, a distinct Pacific Island language), English 2% (widely understood, spoken, and used for most government and commercial purposes), other 5% (includes I-Kiribati 2% and Chinese 2%) (2011 est.)

    note: percentages represent main language spoken at home; Nauruan is spoken by 95% of the population, English by 66%, and other languages by 12%

    Religions field listing
    Protestant 60.4% (includes Nauru Congregational 35.7%, Assembly of God 13%, Nauru Independent Church 9.5%, Baptist 1.5%, and Seventh Day Adventist 0.7%), Roman Catholic 33%, other 3.7%, none 1.8%, unspecified 1.1% (2011 est.)
    Age structure field listing
    0-14 years: 31.18% (male 1,323 /female 1,699)
    15-24 years: 16.37% (male 764 /female 823)
    25-54 years: 43.08% (male 2,112 /female 2,063)
    55-64 years: 6.51% (male 249 /female 382)
    65 years and over: 2.86% (male 101 /female 176) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Median age field listing
    total: 26.7 years
    male: 27.4 years
    female: 25.8 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 149
    Population growth rate field listing
    0.51% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    Birth rate field listing
    23.2 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 62
    Death rate field listing
    5.9 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    Net migration rate field listing
    -12.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 214
    Population distribution field listing
    extensive phosphate mining made approximately 90% of the island unsuitable for farming; most people live in the fertile coastal areas, especially along the southwest coast
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 100% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: -0.06% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Sex ratio field listing
    at birth: 0.83 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    0-14 years: 0.77 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    55-64 years: 0.64 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    65 years and over: 0.63 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    total population: 0.89 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    Infant mortality rate field listing
    total: 7.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    male: 9.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    female: 5.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 156
    Life expectancy at birth field listing
    total population: 67.8 years (2018 est.)
    male: 63.6 years (2018 est.)
    female: 71.2 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 170
    Total fertility rate field listing
    2.76 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 62
    Health expenditures field listing
    3.3% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    Physicians density field listing
    1.39 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
    Hospital bed density field listing
    5 beds/1,000 population (2010)
    Drinking water source field listing
    improved: urban: 96.5% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 96.5% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 3.5% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 3.5% of population (2015 est.)
    Sanitation facility access field listing
    improved: urban: 65.6% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 65.6% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 34.4% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 34.4% of population (2015 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    NA
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate field listing
    61% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    Education expenditures field listing
    NA
    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) field listing
    total: 9 years (2008)
    male: 9 years (2008)
    female: 10 years (2008)
  • Government :: Nauru
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: Republic of Nauru
    conventional short form: Nauru
    local long form: Republic of Nauru
    local short form: Nauru
    former: Pleasant Island
    etymology: the island name may derive from the Nauruan word "anaoero" meaning "I go to the beach"
    Government type field listing
    parliamentary republic
    Capital field listing
    UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions field listing
    14 districts; Aiwo, Anabar, Anetan, Anibare, Baitsi, Boe, Buada, Denigomodu, Ewa, Ijuw, Meneng, Nibok, Uaboe, Yaren
    Independence field listing
    31 January 1968 (from the Australia-, NZ-, and UK-administered UN trusteeship)
    National holiday field listing
    Independence Day, 31 January (1968)
    Constitution field listing
    history: effective 29 January 1968 (2018)
    amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage requires two-thirds majority vote of the Parliament membership; amendments to constitutional articles such as the republican form of government, protection of fundamental rights and freedoms, the structure and authorities of the executive and legislative branches also requires two-thirds majority of votes in a referendum; amended 1968, 2009, 2014 (2018)
    International law organization participation field listing
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    Suffrage field listing
    20 years of age; universal and compulsory
    Executive branch field listing
    chief of state: President Baron WAQA (since 11 June 2013); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Baron WAQA (since 11 June 2013)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among members of Parliament
    elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by Parliament (eligible for a second term); election last held on 11 June 2013 (next to be held in 2016)
    election results: Baron WAQA reelected president; Parliament vote - Baron WAQA (independent) 13, Roland KUN (Nauru First) 5
    Legislative branch field listing
    description: unicameral parliament (19 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by majority vote using the "Dowdall" counting system by which voters rank candidates on their ballots; members serve 3-year terms)
    elections: last held on 9 July 2016 (next to be held in 2019)
    election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independent 19
    Judicial branch field listing
    highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and several justices); note - in late 2017 the Nauruan Government revoked the 1976 High Court Appeals Act which had allowed appeals beyond the Nauruan Supreme Court, and in early 2018, the government announced its intention to form its own appeals court
    judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the president to serve until age 65
    subordinate courts: District Court, Family Court
    Political parties and leaders field listing
    Democratic Party [Kennan ADEANG]
    Nauru First (Naoero Amo) Party
    Nauru Party (informal)

    note: loose multiparty system

    International organization participation field listing
    ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, FAO, G-77, ICAO, ICCt, IFAD, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador Marlene Inemwin MOSES (since 13 March 2006)
    chancery: 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400 D, New York, NY 10017
    telephone: [1] (212) 937-0074
    FAX: [1] (212) 937-0079
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    the US does not have an embassy in Nauru; the US Ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Nauru
    Flag description field listing
    blue with a narrow, horizontal, gold stripe across the center and a large white 12-pointed star below the stripe on the hoist side; blue stands for the Pacific Ocean, the star indicates the country's location in relation to the Equator (the gold stripe) and the 12 points symbolize the 12 original tribes of Nauru; the star's white color represents phosphate, the basis of the island's wealth
    National symbol(s) field listing
    frigatebird, calophyllum flower; national colors: blue, yellow, white
    National anthem field listing
    name: "Nauru Bwiema" (Song of Nauru)
    lyrics/music: Margaret HENDRIE/Laurence Henry HICKS

    note: adopted 1968

  • Economy :: Nauru
  • Economy - overview field listing

    Revenues of this tiny island - a coral atoll with a land area of 21 square kilometers - traditionally have come from exports of phosphates. Few other resources exist, with most necessities being imported, mainly from Australia, its former occupier and later major source of support. Primary reserves of phosphates were exhausted and mining ceased in 2006, but mining of a deeper layer of "secondary phosphate" in the interior of the island began the following year. The secondary phosphate deposits may last another 30 years. Earnings from Nauru’s export of phosphate remains an important source of income. Few comprehensive statistics on the Nauru economy exist; estimates of Nauru's GDP vary widely.

    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 were invested in trust funds to help cushion the transition and provide for Nauru's economic future.

    Although revenue sources for government are limited, the opening of the Australian Regional Processing Center for asylum seekers since 2012 has sparked growth in the economy. Revenue derived from fishing licenses under the "vessel day scheme" has also boosted government income. Housing, hospitals, and other capital plant are deteriorating. The cost to Australia of keeping the Nauruan government and economy afloat continues to climb.

    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
    $160 million (2017 est.)
    $153.9 million (2016 est.)
    $139.4 million (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2015 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 224
    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
    $114 million (2017 est.) (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    4% (2017 est.)
    10.4% (2016 est.)
    2.8% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 80
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $12,300 (2017 est.)
    $11,800 (2016 est.)
    $11,600 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2015 US dollars

    country comparison to the world: 129
    GDP - composition, by end use field listing
    household consumption: 98% (2016 est.)
    government consumption: 37.6% (2016 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 42.2% (2016 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 11.2% (2016 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -89.1% (2016 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
    agriculture: 6.1% (2009 est.)
    industry: 33% (2009 est.)
    services: 60.8% (2009 est.)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    coconuts
    Industries field listing
    phosphate mining, offshore banking, coconut products
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    NA
    Labor force field listing
    NA
    Labor force - by occupation field listing

    note: most of the labor force is employed in phosphate mining, public administration, education, and transportation

    Unemployment rate field listing
    23% (2011 est.)
    90% (2004 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 193
    Population below poverty line field listing
    NA
    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: NA
    highest 10%: NA
    Budget field listing
    revenues: 103 million (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 113.4 million (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    90.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    -9.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 206
    Public debt field listing
    62% of GDP (2017 est.)
    65% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 71
    Fiscal year field listing
    1 July - 30 June
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    5.1% (2017 est.)
    8.2% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
    Current account balance field listing
    $5 million (2017 est.)
    $2 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    Exports field listing
    $125 million (2013 est.)
    $110.3 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 194
    Exports - partners field listing
    Nigeria 38.6%, Japan 16.6%, Australia 15.9%, South Korea 13.7%, NZ 5.7% (2017)
    Exports - commodities field listing
    phosphates
    Imports field listing
    $64.9 million (2016 est.)
    $143.1 million (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 218
    Imports - commodities field listing
    food, fuel, manufactures, building materials, machinery
    Imports - partners field listing
    Australia 67.5%, Fiji 9.2%, India 8.1%, Singapore 5.4% (2017)
    Debt - external field listing
    $33.3 million (2004 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 199
    Exchange rates field listing
    Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
    1.311 (2017 est.)
    1.3452 (2016 est.)
    1.3452 (2015 est.)
    1.3291 (2014 est.)
    1.1094 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Nauru
  • Electricity - production field listing
    24 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 212
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    22.32 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 212
    Electricity - exports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Electricity - imports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
    7,000 kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
    86% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 188
    Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing
    14% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    Crude oil - production field listing
    0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    Crude oil - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
    Crude oil - imports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 184
    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
    470 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
    449 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 206
    Natural gas - production field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    Natural gas - proved reserves field listing
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy field listing
    76,540 Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 208
  • Communications :: Nauru
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 1,900 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 14 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 215
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 9,900 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 87 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 212
    Telephone system field listing
    general assessment: adequate local and international radiotelephone communication provided via Australian facilities
    international: country code - 674; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
    Broadcast media field listing
    1 government-owned TV station broadcasting programs from New Zealand sent via satellite or on videotape; 1 government-owned radio station, broadcasting on AM and FM, utilizes Australian and British programs (2009)
    Internet country code field listing
    .nr
    Internet users field listing
    total: 5,100 (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 53.5% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 214
  • Transportation :: Nauru
  • National air transport system field listing
    number of registered air carriers: 1 (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 5 (2015)
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 38,858 (2015)
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 7,793,474 mt-km (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix field listing
    C2 (2016)
    Airports field listing
    1 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 230
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    total: 1 (2017)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2017)
    Roadways field listing
    total: 30 km (2002)
    paved: 24 km (2002)
    unpaved: 6 km (2002)
    country comparison to the world: 220
    Ports and terminals field listing
    major seaport(s): Nauru
  • Military and Security :: Nauru
  • Military branches field listing
    no regular military forces (2012)
    Military - note field listing
    Nauru maintains no defense forces; under an informal agreement, defense is the responsibility of Australia
  • Transnational Issues :: Nauru
  • Disputes - international field listing
    none